Opinions mixed on Diamondbacks’ interest in Paul Konerko

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Last week Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com wrote that Arizona has made signing free agent Paul Konerko “an offseason priority” and it sounds like the Diamondbacks won’t exercise a $7.5 million option on their own first baseman, Adam LaRoche.

However, Nick Piecero of the Arizona Republic is skeptical about the Diamondbacks actually making a heavy push to sign Konerko regardless of LaRoche’s status, writing: “The feeling I’m getting from club sources is that it probably won’t happen.”

Here’s more from Piecoro:

The biggest reason? Money. Konerko’s coming off a monster year and even if he were to take a hometown discount, Diamondbacks people still aren’t certain he would be affordable enough to fit into their budget. At least not with holes in the bullpen, rotation, bench and left field that will need to be addressed, as well.

Some wonder if he can play a full season at first base. He’ll be 35 next year and this season played 125 games at first and 23 games as the designated hitter. Plus, it sounds like the Diamondbacks will put a priority on defensive ability when it comes to first base, not a strong suit of Konerko’s. Anyway, I’m sure the Diamondbacks will talk with him, but unless he really wants to play here, I doubt it ends up happening.

It seems unlikely that the rebuilding, usually budget-conscious Diamondbacks would break the bank on a 35-year-old first baseman, and if signing Konerko won’t require breaking the bank then the White Sox will likely make a very strong effort to keep him.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.