Chicago White Sox Wiretap
Paul Konerko says the White Sox were "just giving away games" last season because of tension between the front office and then-manager Ozzie Guillen.
Chicago finished 79-83 last season and in third place in the American League Central.
Guillen was granted a release from the White Sox with two games left in the season and took over as Marlins manager two days later.
"There were probably games and days given away because of people worrying about things that were not related to the game of baseball," Konerko said.
"Especially toward the end last year we were just giving away games, and you know big-league players should be mentally tougher than to have that stuff bother you ... but then it all came to a head, and I guess that's how things go. If it didn't go that way then no one would see the need to make a change."
The Cubs remain the front-runners to sign Jorge Soler, but the White Sox might be open to spending more to land the Cuban outfielder.
The White Sox are in position to spend having traded Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor while allowing Mark Buehrle and Juan Pierre to leave via free agency.
The White Sox have signed left-handed hitter Kosuke Fukudome to a low-risk contract.
Fukudome will make only $1 million guaranteed, half of that coming this season. If he proves himself productive, he could make $3.5 million for 2013.
He is coming off a four-year, $48 million deal with the Cubs.
Ozzie Guillen, then manager of White Sox, knew Adam Dunn was headed for a rough 2011 season last spring.
Sitting in his Arizona office on the first day of spring training last year, Guillen was approached by then-hitting coach Greg Walker, who had just watched a batting practice session with Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski.
"He says 'We have a problem,'" Guillen said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.
"I say 'What? Spring training is only a couple of days [old].' He says 'You've got to come out and see Adam Dunn's swing.' I said 'Don't worry about it. We've got a month and a half to get ready, go through spring training. Don't worry about it.'"
That early batting practice session turned out to be a precursor for one of the worst major league seasons of all time.
Signed to a four-year, $56 million deal in the offseason, Dunn batted .159 with 177 strikeouts in 415 at-bats.
"People in Chicago, believe me, he tried everything in his power to get better," Guillen said. "He just had a bad year. Hopefully he will bounce back."
The White Sox are closing in on a Minor League contract with former Arkansas and Southern California quarterback Mitch Mustain, according to a source.
Mustain had planned to play in the Arena Football League this year, but put that on hold.
A right-handed pitcher, Mustain hasn't played baseball since he was at Springdale (Ark.) High School.
White Sox Feb 2012 Archive