CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko has been a fixture with the White Sox since 1999, serving as a leader both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Although Konerko is set to become a free agent after this current 2010 campaign, White Sox general manager Ken Williams made it clear via exclusive comments to MLB.com that Konerko is part of the franchise's future plans.
"I would love to have him retire as a White Sox," said Williams.
Williams did not stop at that blanket statement.
Konerko is and always will be a valued member of the organization and is playing through one of his best seasons with a .322 average, 36 home runs and 104 RBIs following his two-home run, five-RBI effort in Sunday's 12-6 victory over the Royals. But even with Konerko being a special case, factoring in his association as one of the faces of the franchise and team captain, the personnel decisions ultimately will come down to how the White Sox finish and the money available for 2011 and beyond.
"That's pretty much all I'm going to say on it, because I don't know what the future holds," added Williams. "I don't know how we are going to finish.
"We are driven by the revenue stream that comes in. People might not like it but it is what it is. We have to at least be able to be a break-even operation, and try to win at the same time."
Other tough decisions will need to be made by the White Sox, with Mark Buehrle possibly standing as the only member of the 2005 World Series team still with the White Sox next year. A.J. Pierzynski and Freddy Garcia join Konerko in free agency, while Bobby Jenks is arbitration-eligible.
But manager Ozzie Guillen won't think about losing his charges and friends until the season's end.
"Every year we're going to lose something," Guillen said. "And this year it might be more special because I don't know who we're going to lose and who we're going to keep. We'll have to wait and see.
"When we come back to Chicago [at the end of the month] to play, who do we play? Boston? Boston and Cleveland. I might think about it. Right now, I'm not even close, maybe the last couple series, maybe the last couple games, yes. I have to. They've been playing for me for a long time."