Saturday, November 12, 2005

At the One Lane Bridge...

So today the papers say that Paul Konerko's agent didn't actually get an offer from the White Sox during their "exclusive negotiating window", and that they prefer to let him collect offers from other teams first. The 4/54 offer much bandied about was fiction. Konerko's agent says that's just the way the White Sox prefer to do it.

Yesterday the Orange County newspaper said that the Angels would offer Konerko "at least four seasons and something more than $40 million", but that the Angels tend "not to deviate much from [the] initial offer". Konerko's agent said publicly that it would be in the Angels' "best interest to make a serious offer right away".

What this looks like is that the market is starting to wake up and back away from Paul Konerko. While Paulie was undeniably a great contributor to the 2005 White Sox, his career numbers and reputation do not say "superstar":
  • He hits a lot of home runs, yes, but his lifetime road numbers (.266/.333/.448) suggest strongly that he is in great part a creature of The Cell. His 774 OPS in Anaheim has to be a real burr for Stoneman's saddle.
  • While he is an adequate defender, he's just that -- an adequate first baseman. Those aren't really in short supply.
  • He's only two seasons removed from a disastrous, multi-month slump.
  • Baseball is suffering from a huge epidemic of hangovers from ill-advised contracts to, well, first baseman/DH types.
Perhaps Kenny Williams is being more shrewd than any of us suspect. Let Konerko test the market. He may find it more tepid than he thinks -- or his agent or the press think, for that matter. He may find out that the White Sox at 4/45 are the class of the field. It be better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but in Chicago, Paul Konerko will be a hero. If the White Sox are the high bidders, he will be a happy, but wiser, one.

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