Quick Hits: Young, Hawkins, Braden, Girardi

The White Sox owe it to Paul Konerko to bring him back for a final season in 2014 if the long-time first baseman wishes to keep playing, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune opines.  The Sox would have to release or trade Adam Dunn to make room for Konerko with Jose Dariel Abreu now aboard, and while eating Dunn's contract would be expensive, Sullivan argues that Dunn is already a sunk cost and not worth keeping if it means cutting ties with a franchise icon.

Here are some more items from around baseball tonight…

  • Chris Young would like to play for the Astros but the free outfielder didn't say if he'd been contacted by the team, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets.  Young, a Houston native, has drawn some level of interest from the Red Sox and Mets this winter.
  • Also from McTaggart, LaTroy Hawkins said he hasn't been contacted by the Astros this offseason, though the veteran has other "irons in the fire."  The Astros are looking for bullpen help and Hawkins has a connection to Houston, having pitched for the club in 2008-09.  As many as seven teams, however, have already shown interest in Hawkins, including the Rockies and Mets.
  • Dallas Braden tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) that he intends to try out for teams when he increases his stamina.  After throwing a perfect game in 2010, Braden made just three starts in 2011 and hasn't pitched since due to a pair of shoulder surgeries.  The southpaw elected free agency from the A's following the 2012 season.
  • Brian Cashman tells reporters (including The Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer) that he always expected Joe Girardi to return to manage the Yankees, despite the rumors that Girardi would join the Cubs.  Wittenmyer believes the Cubs' reported "back-channel communication" to try and woo Girardi "underscored an ongoing disconnect between the Cubs’ baseball and business sides of the operation."
  • The qualifying offer may not be the hindrance to some free agents as it appears, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal argues.  Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse were last offseason's two infamous examples of how a draft pick compensation tag could hurt a player's market, but MacPherson opines that the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA system projected Bourn and Lohse as worth the contracts they eventually signed with the Indians and Brewers, respectively.
  • If the Rockies could somehow get Justin Morneau at a reasonable price, he would make an ideal platoon partner for Michael Cuddyer and Jordan Pacheco, Troy Renck of the Denver Post opines (Sulia link).
  • A member of the Yankees baseball operations staff predicts Phil Hughes will sign with an NL West team, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter).  The flyball-prone Hughes could be greatly helped by pitching at AT&T Park, Petco Park or Dodger Stadium, though Chase Field or Coors Field aren't good fits.  The source says Hughes is a "good fit in Minnesota," and the Twins and Royals are the only teams linked to Hughes so far this offseason.
  • Though Tim Hudson is 38 and coming off a nasty broken ankle, a National League talent evaluator still picked the veteran righty as the best risk amongst free agent pitchers who are at least 33 years old, SI.com's Tom Verducci reports.  Bartolo Colon, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren and Ryan Vogelsong round out the top five.


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