CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko’s primary reaction to the news that the White Sox claimed Many Ramirez off waivers from the Dodgers was simple.
“He can’t help us tonight, I know that,” Konerko said. “That’s all I’m thinking about.”
It’s not to say that Konerko, or anybody on the White Sox, doesn’t care that the club now has exclusive negotiating rights to bring Ramirez to Chicago. (The deadline to make a deal is Tuesday.) The consensus in the White Sox clubhouse, even from players whose playing time would be affected, seems to be unanimous: Bring him on.
“When he walks in the clubhouse that’s when it’s time to talk about it,” Konerko said. “As far as him being a teammate, Manny can hit, everybody knows that. The guy is a Hall of Famer. He’s going to help any team he’s on at any time. The guy can drive in a tough run. He’s one of the best right-handed hitters to play this game ever. He’s going to help any team but (the deal’s) still not done.”
Andruw Jones must feel like he’s being chased by Ramirez at this point. His injuries and struggles with the Dodgers in 2008 were a big reason general manager Ned Colletti went out and got Ramirez from the Red Sox at the July 31 trade deadline in the first place.
But even Jones can’t complain about Ramirez coming to the White Sox, even if it means less playing time for him.
“When he got to the Dodgers he helped them and they had a young ball team and everybody was kind of all tied up and stuff like that,” said Jones, who played just one game with Ramirez in L.A. before an injury ended his season. “He made everybody relaxed and loose and got them to the playoffs. They just fell short (In the NLCS) but whatever team he's on, he's going to help the team when he's there.”
Mark Teahen is another player that could lose playing time because of a potential deal for Ramirez, and he isn’t worried about more bench time either, as long as it adds up to success on the field.
“It’s nice that we’re still trying to add pieces to make us that much better and get us over the hump,” Teahen said. “We’ll see what happens.”
As for adding a dynamic, attention-getting personality to a tight-knit clubhouse, Konerko isn’t worried. It isn’t like Ramirez could top manager Ozzie Guillen for most animated member of the clubhouse.
“It’s already kind of a circus that’s the way it is,” Konerko said with a chuckle. “When you’re a White Sox player you know what you have to deal with. It’s not going to change much if you’re worried about bringing in another personality. We have enough to go around if you look at everybody around here. Manny can hit and if he comes here he’ll hit and wherever he is he’s going to hit. That’s just what he does. But I wouldn’t worry about the chemistry.”
Besides, Konerko has done his homework on Ramirez and the news has come back positive.
“Talking to Jim [Thome] a lot [Ramirez] is a lot different to teammates on the inside than what people get on the outside,” Konerko said about his former teammate who played with Ramirez in Cleveland and in Los Angeles. “ He’s a very hard worker and takes pride in his game more than people think, so I don’t think that will be a concern. Five months in, this team is pretty bonded together and nothing’s going to probably change that.”