CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham won't be making any player personnel decisions for the Chicago White Sox.
The talented second baseman also doesn't quite have enough big league seniority to be consulted by general manager Ken Williams on players who will help or hurt the future of the franchise. But Beckham doesn't need to be a 10-year veteran to know one particular fact to be true concerning the team.
Paul Konerko, a free-agent-to-be after the 2010 campaign, needs to return to the White Sox. Beckham made that point clear about the team captain in a chat with MLB.com prior to Wednesday's contest with the Twins.
"He's a guy we need to have back, for sure," said Beckham. "This team, he is our leader, he's had a great year. He deserves to be back here and paid the right way."
This current season marks the end of Konerko's five-year, $60 million deal, agreed upon with the White Sox after they won the 2005 World Series title. Back in 2005, Konerko finished with a .283 average, 40 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Apparently, the first baseman should teach seminars on how to properly handle potential walk-away years. He has a .323 average, marking his third season hitting over .300, 36 home runs and 104 RBIs. Konerko ranks second overall in the American League in home runs, fifth in RBIs and fifth in average. No White Sox has finished a season ranked in the Top 5 of all three Triple Crown categories since Albert Belle in 1998.
Belle finished second in homers and RBIs and third in average. But Beckham believe it's something more than the raw statistics making Konerko so valuable to the White Sox.
"If he leaves, then you have people that have to fill his spot," Beckham said. "I don't know if anyone here is ready for that. You have to think we need him back for the sole purpose of having a guy around who knows the game and is real cerebral about the game. He's that guy."