Free Agent Stock Watch: Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko's season has him all over the American League leaderboard and on the fringes of the MVP conversation. The 34-year-old has already homered 33 times and he ranks fourth in the league in slugging percentage (.582) and sixth in the league in on base average (.397). Jose Bautista is the only American Leaguer with more home runs than Konerko, who is setting himself up for his next contract.

The Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, White Sox and Nationals could all have some level of interest this winter, but those clubs will be able to turn to the likes of Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche and Adam Dunn if they don't like Konerko's asking price.

Dunn has similar numbers to Konerko and is reportedly seeking a three or four-year deal. Two winters ago, when Dunn was negotiating his current contract, he had to lower his demands. He eventually signed for $20MM over two years, though he was coming off a season in which he hit 40 homers and posted an .898 OPS. Dunn's reputation as a poor defender hurt him then and will likely limit his value again this winter. UZR has generally ranked Konerko as an average defender, though the metric suggests his fielding has been poor in 2010. 

Konerko's age (he turns 35 in Spring Training 2011) will likely make teams reluctant to commit to him for more than two seasons. Though Konerko has generally been healthy this season, he recently missed games with lower back stiffness. He can hit for power, but a number of similarly skilled DHs and first basemen will hit free agency along with Konerko this winter. If the first baseman is a Type A free agent after the season, as expected, and he turns down an offer of arbitration from the White Sox, teams would have to give up a draft pick to sign him, which could reduce interest.

Despite his age, Konerko is having his best season in years. Other players aren't as reliable as the 14-year veteran, who has hit fewer than 27 homers just two times in the last decade. That kind of consistency will allow Konerko to ask for a multi-year deal with a significant base salary. A two-year contract worth $20MM or so seems reasonable at this point.

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18 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Paul Konerko Leave a Reply

  1. He won’t be leaving the Sox.

  2. lawrence267 5 years ago

    if they offer him arbitration, I wouldn’t be surprised if he accepted.

  3. Maybe Ozzy Will Want A Rotating 1B Next Year

  4. bjsguess 5 years ago

    If all he gets is 2/$20 on the open market he would be much better off accepting arb. I could easily see a 1/$15m type deal for him.

  5. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    I just can’t even wrap my mind around Paul Kornerko being anywhere but the White Sox. He just seems to personify that team. I’d try to sign him for one plus an option, say around 10 million per year. If he didn’t want that, I’d take my chance with arbitration.

  6. jwsox 5 years ago

    Depending on what happenes with 2 other players, manny and dayan…there is a 99.99% chance that PK is on the chisox next season. He is the captain, dependable, good hitter for average and power, good clutch, decent glove, team leader and fan favorite….Ozzie and kenny love him the only way he goes is if there is someone like adam dunn, carlos pena, prince fielder on the team with Dayan and one of those “more elite” 1st basemen

  7. Id be shocked if PK left the Sox. Im sure if it gets to the point where it looks like he may walk, Reinsdorf will get involved and a deal will happen. The only way Konerko walks is if he just wants to move somewhere else for family reasons and Ive not heard anything like that

    My guess…2 years 25 million with a mutual option for a 3rd year for 12 million or so…and a 2 million buyout

  8. hawkny1 5 years ago

    Paul will be 34 before ST, 2011 starts. So, yer fooling yerself if you think the Red Sox want him. Why, they got the best 1B, all around, right now, with Youkilis…

  9. Paul Konerko signing for more money than Adam Dunn? Excuse me, but I need to go die of laughter now.

    • Antonio Nicarelli 5 years ago

      You are right, but mainly due to age. The donkey hits more home runs, but PK’s career BA is 25 points higher, and he has more avg RBI per season – not to mention defense. Combine that with the South Side fandom, and I expect PK to make more in the short term. He will probably end up accepting arbitration from the Sox and get about 13 or 14M, while Dunn will get 2 to 3 years at about 12M per.

  10. rpriske 5 years ago

    Not that I think this would happen, but I woudl like to see the Jays snag Konerko on a two year deal.

  11. Antonio Nicarelli 5 years ago

    With our starting pitching, and the continued maturing of our young players (Beckham, Alexei, Santos, Sale), we seem one good bat of being able to go deep in the playoffs next year. That becomes two bats if we lose PK. (I am counting on Manny being gone.) Either arbitration or 2 yrs at $20M is fine. Get it done, get that good lefty to DH, and pack for the ALCS.

  12. Maybe Ozzy Will Want A Rotating 1B Next Year

  13. Guest 5 years ago

    or perhaps Prince “The Bad” Fielder…
    hopefully Kotsay isn’t involved in any situation… unless it involves him having less than 250 ABs

  14. jwsox 5 years ago

    no mark kotsay needs to ride off into the sunset there is no way kenny resigns him no matter what ozzie wants

  15. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Was thinking the same thing.

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