Podsednik reflects on Chicago departure
Veteran Veteran discusses 'misinformation' in free-agent talks
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There is not a hint of regret in Scott Podsednik's voice as he sits in the Royals' Spring Training clubhouse and talks about the end of his days as part of the White Sox.
He's happy to serve as the Kansas City leadoff man, having agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal with a $2 million option for 2011 during this past offseason. But he does wonder aloud about what he considers some erroneous information regarding his first significant foray into the free agent market and the contractual demands made from his side.
"There was misinformation, and I don't know where the miscommunication started," Podsednik told MLB.com prior to Monday's contest between the White Sox and Royals. "We never placed any demands on the White Sox whatsoever, be it years, money or anything. Our phone line was always open.
"We were always willing to communicate with any club. There has not been a lot of interest for me over the past three years, so we were always interested in talking. I was not saying no to anything, including a one-year deal. At some point, there was miscommunication. Our lines got crossed, but that's part of it."
Podsednik, who turned 34 on March 18, entered free agency off of arguably his best year as a Major League player. After starting the 2009 season sitting on his couch in Texas, contemplating opening up a speed-training school, the left-handed hitter was signed to a Minor League deal by the White Sox and joined the team in May.
For the next five months, there was no more consistent hitter in the White Sox lineup than Podsednik. He led the team with a .304 average, while scoring 75 runs, driving in 48 and picking up 30 stolen bases.
By the 2009 season's close, Podsednik already had decided to explore the free agent process and not jump at the first offer made to him. He also held out hope of returning to the White Sox. That hope was not fulfilled.
"Earlier, I wanted to go back and play in Chicago, but that's part of the game," Podsednik said. "With free agency these days, you never know what's going to happen. My agent said to be ready for a circus and a real roller-coaster ride. My emotions got involved at times, and it got crazy.
"At some point, I think the White Sox, they knew I really wanted to come back and the bottom line is we weren't able to reach a deal. It makes me really think how aggressive they wanted me back. I guess if you get down to it, they were interested in other players before me. That's what it boiled down to."
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Juan Pierre ultimately was that player spoken of by Podsednik, taking over at the top of the order and in left field. Pierre was acquired from the Dodgers in a Dec. 15 trade for young hurlers John Ely and Jon Link.
Kansas City showed the most aggressive pursuit of Podsednik from the start, and the veteran feels as if he ended up where he truly belonged. The White Sox, meanwhile, dispute the misinformation side of the negotiations.
"From our perspective, there weren't any communication issues between the club and Scott's agents," said White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn via e-mail. "We had multiple conversations and were simply never presented with a reason to believe that there was a workable deal within our time frame."
So, Podsednik moved on and now looks forward to playing against old Chicago friends. He also has nothing but positive memories of his days in Chicago, including that special season of 2005.
"I had four great years in Chicago and you've heard me say it before. You create a special bond with an organization when you win a World Series with them," Podsednik said. "All and all, the bottom line is I'm at a place where I'm wanted. I feel wanted and comfortable.
"Pierre played for [White Sox manager] Ozzie [Guillen] all those years in Florida. They had a history together. There were talks years ago about Pierre moving over to the White Sox. Hopefully, the move works out for them and hopefully I fit in here."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.