Nick Johnson's hot, Paul Konerko's not

Updated: April 30, 2003, 1:07 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Nick Johnson of the Yankees and Paul Konerko of the White Sox have something in common: They both came to their teams with a strong presence already established at their position (first base). In the case of Konerko, it was Frank Thomas, whom, many will recall, was often called the best hitter in baseball not too long ago. In the case of Johnson, it was Jason Giambi, signed as a free agent just in time to coincide with Johnson's rise to a full-time spot on the major league roster.

The solution for Konerko was an easy one since Thomas is such a brutal fielder: He was eventually made the everyday first baseman and Thomas was given the designated hitter role. He has been a solid performer in his major league career but has been having trouble of late, going back to the middle of last year. He had substandard months in July and September but seemed fine in August. So far in 2003, he has posted a .643 OPS, almost 200 points below his career average.

"Sometimes you just don't get the hits," he told Doug Padilla of the Chicago Sun-Times. "You go through a bad stretch at the middle of the season or the end of the season, but you have three or fourth months built up before that, there are no questions to answer. It's just one of those things."
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at