Franchise icon Paul Konerko will return to the White Sox for a 16th season. The White Sox have officially announced the signing of Konerko to a one-year contract. The LSW Baseball client will reportedly receive a $2.5MM guarantee, though $1MM of that amount will be deferred to 2021.
Recent reports indicated that Konerko, who will turn 38 in early March, would inform the White Sox whether or not he wished to return or retire prior to the start of the Winter Meetings. Konerko posted brilliant numbers with the White Sox even in his age-36 season in 2012, batting .298/.371/.486 with 26 homers, but his production fell off the table in 2013. Konerko mustered just a .244/.313/.355 batting line this past season and also missed nearly three weeks with back pain.
The White Sox signed Cuban sensation Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM contract, clearly indicating that they view him as their everyday first baseman. As such, Konerko figures to shift into more of a part-time role for the White Sox in 2014, unless they're able to move Adam Dunn in a trade. Konerko is said to be open to a reduced role with the Sox. Bruce Levine tweets that Konerko was told he will see some time at DH against left-handed pitchers and will spel Abreu at first base on occasion.
Originally selected with the No. 13 overall pick by the Dodgers in the 1994 draft, Konerko found himself traded to the Reds and then the White Sox in a span of six months. The move proved to be a good one for Chicago; in his 15 seasons with the White Sox, Konerko is a .283/.359/.495 batter with 427 home runs. Konerko's name appears frequently on the White Sox' franchise leaderboard, as he's in the Top 10 in games played (third), hits (third), doubles (third), home runs (second), RBIs (second) and total bases (second). It won't take Konerko long to become Chicago's all-time leader in total bases, as he trails Frank Thomas by just five bases. He's 21 homers shy of Thomas, making it possible (albeit unlikely) that he could claim the franchise lead in that department as well.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that Konerko would return to the White Sox (Twitter link), and MLB.com's Scott Merkin provided the $2.5MM value and deferred payment (via Twitter). Rosenthal added the specifics of the deferment (also on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
9:48am: The Mets are moving forward with Granderson, and their interest in Nelson Cruz has cooled, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
7:00am: Talks between the Mets and Curtis Granderson's agent intensified late Tuesday, a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Nothing is imminent, a second source told Rubin. The two sides are discussing a three-year deal, though the Mets could concede a fourth guaranteed year to get the deal done, Rubin hears.
Granderson met Sunday with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, which the player later described to reporters as "conversation, a Q-and-A kind of thing" during which he enjoyed some salmon. Granderson, 33 in March, hit .229/.317/.407 in 245 plate appearances for the Yankees in 2013, missing significant time due to being hit by two separate pitches. Since Granderson turned down a qualifying offer from the Yankees, the Mets would have to forfeit their second-round pick to sign him. Plus, four years would be a reach for a player his age unless agent Matt Brown compromises greatly on the average annual value. MLBTR's Steve Adams suggested a $15MM AAV on a three-year deal in his September profile.
WEDNESDAY: ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with three teams that inquired on Phillips, each of which got the sense that Reds ownership wants to trade Phillips more than the front office does (Twitter link).
TUESDAY: The Reds are now unlikely to trade Brandon Phillips, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The second baseman has been in trade whispers for quite some time, but it now appears that GM Walt Jocketty & Co. will hang on to him despite a lack of available quality options at the position.
Phillips, 32, batted .261/.310/.396 with 18 home runs this season but was involved in a pair of ugly PR incidents: one in which he publicly complained about how the Reds handled his contract negotiations and another in which went on a tirade against a Cincinnati reporter for pointing to his low on-base percentage. He is owed $50MM over the final four years of his six-year, $72.5MM contract.
The Yankees and Royals have both been linked to him this offseason, but it's not known how serious things got for either team. Phillips' 2013 batting line was down from his previous six seasons in Cincinnati where he hit .280/.329/.446.
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.
Tonight's look at the AL West..
- The Mariners have been among the most aggressive suitors for Matt Kemp, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but they are looking at free agents too.
- The Rangers met with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but the odds that Texas will land him are still long, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas News. One source says that the Rangers are one of four clubs actively engaged in talks with Choo.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, that he'll likely have "another deal or two" done with regards to pitching by this time next week.
- Luhnow also said that it would make sense to evaluate Dexter Fowler as a leadoff hitter, but it would be up to Bo Porter and the staff to decide that, tweets Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle.
Tonight, the Yankees agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153MM deal with an eighth-year option that could boost the total value of the pact to $169MM. The mark tops Carl Crawford's hefty deal signed prior to the 2011 season by a healthy $11MM. Here's a look at the latest reacions and fallout from the blockbuster signing..
- A source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that the Yankees not only believe they've got room for Ellsbury and Robinson Cano or Shin-Soo Choo, they still plan on signing at least one starting pitcher as well.
- According to a major league source, the Red Sox’ offer to Ellsbury was ” a ways off” from the seven-year, $153MM deal that he inked with the Yankees, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. Another source suggested Scott Boras had set the bar at seven or eight years early on in the offseason, a level Boston was not comfortable going to for the 30-year-old.
- John Harper of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) spoke with one agent who likes what the Yankees are doing so far. "Yanks have played it smart with Cano. But $170MM doesn't sound like quite as much when you give Ellsbury $153MM.''
- One rival exec who spoke with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) isn't a big fan of the deal from the Yankees' perspective. "He’s a good player, but he gets hurt a lot. And not enough power for that kind of money, for me. And he's 30."
- In talking with evaluators, Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger (via Twitter) finds that the consensus is that seven years is a long time, but Ellsbury is one heck of a player when healthy.
- Passan (on Twitter) crunched the numbers to find that of the $524MM spent on free agents (as of Tuesday night), the Yankees account for $238MM of it, or 45.4%.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal looks at the departure of Ellsbury and what it means for the Red Sox both logically and emotionally.
- The Yankees, who watched their TV ratings and attendance plummet last year, are back in the business of star power, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
While we try and catch our breath from an insanely busy day here at MLBTradeRumors, let's take a glance at the latest out of the AL and NL Central..
- Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that Carlos Beltran still isn't close on a deal with anyone. Earlier today, we heard that Beltran had already received an offer of three years and $48MM from the Royals.
- Free agent Corey Hart has been cleared for baseball activities, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter). The first baseman/outfielder missed all of 2013 with the Brewers thanks to knee injuries.
- Paul Konerko will tell the White Sox if he intends to play in 2014 before the Winter Meetings begin December 9th, a source tells Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com (on Twitter).
- At today's introductory press conference for Ricky Nolasco, Twins GM Terry Ryan confirmed that the club isn't done free agent shopping, tweets Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
- The Pirates view Mike Napoli as the perfect fit at first base but it still doesn't appear they will lay out the cash needed to sign him, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Morneau hit .259/.323/.411 with 17 homers in 2013, a slash line that is a slight improvement over that of a league-average hitter, and his .152 isolated power mark is also slightly above the league average of .146. He had some well-documented power problems for much of the year but turned things around late in the summer, belting nine homers in the month of August before being traded to the Pirates on Aug. 31 in exchange for Alex Presely and a player to be named later (Kris Johnson).
Even with that promising flash, Morneau's power isn't what it was when he was a yearly 30-homer threat. His walk rate has also taken a dip - he walked in 11.3 percent of his plate appearances from 2007-10, but he walked in just 7.9 percent of his trips to the plate in 2013. In his peak, Morneau was a formidable foe for both right- and left-handed pitchers, but he's developed a significant platoon split since returning from a career-threatening concussion suffered midway through what was shaping up to be another MVP-caliber season in 2010. From 2011-13, Morneau has batted just .206/.246/.274. He's also had both neck and wrist surgery in that time. He was healthy in 2013, however, which likely contributed to him providing solid defense at first base again after a poor defensive showing in 2012. Defensive Runs Saved pegged Morneau at +5 runs in 2013, though Ultimate Zone Rating felt he was simply average.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Lincoln, 28, appeared in 22 games for Toronto in 2013 and posted a 3.98 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9. Over parts of four big league seasons, Lincoln owns a 4.66 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 for the Pirates and Blue Jays.
Rasmussen combined to post a 4.11 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 28 games (24 starts) for the Dodgers Triple-A and Double-A affiliates. The 5-9, 160-pound left-handed pitcher was traded from Los Angeles to the Phillies in exchange for Michael Young on August 31st. The 24-year-old is no stranger to being moved around, as he has now been involved in four career trades, including the aforementioned Young deal.
Kratz, 33, hit just .213/.280/.386 in 218 major league plate appearances last season. For his career, the backstop owns a slash line of .220/.281/.407 across four seasons with the Pirates and Phillies. Kratz is expected to compete with Josh Thole for the backup job behind Dioner Navarro.
The Rockies are closing in on a two-year pact with Justin Morneau, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out between the two sides, but discussions are in the final stages.
Morneau hit .259/.323/.411 with 17 homers in 2013, a slash line is a slight improvement over that of a league-average hitter, and his .152 isolated power mark is also slightly above the league average of .146. He had some well-documented power problems for much of the year but turned things around late in the summer, belting nine homers in the month of August before being traded to the Pirates on Aug. 31.
Even with that promising flash, Morneau's power isn't what it was when he was a yearly 30-homer threat. His walk rate has also taken a dip - he walked in 11.3 percent of his plate appearances from 2007-10, but he walked in just 7.9 percent of his trips to the plate in 2013.
Morneau is represented by Mark Pieper of SFX, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.