UPDATE: The “lovers’ spat” mentioned below is over. Bob Nightengale reports that the White Sox and Konerko have reached a three-year deal. The details: $37.5 million total, but a huge amount of the year-three money is deferred. It will go $12 million in 2011, $12 million in 2012, $6.5 million in 2013 and then $1 million a year between 2014 and 2020. Konerko made $12 million last year, so this is a slight raise in terms of overall value, but that deferral clearly makes this a different kind of deal. Almost certainly Konerko’s last.
10:30 A.M.: There was news yesterday that Paul Konerko and the White Sox were on the outs. And it was understandable, as Kenny Williams suggested they were moving on from their longtime first baseman amidst reports that they wouldn’t go to $15 million a year on him.
Thing is? No one believes that Konerko will go anywhere else. Bob Nightengale reports that other teams bidding don’t really believe they have a shot. I spoke with a team executive in the lobby this morning — from a team that is not bidding on Konerko — and he called this business with the White Sox “a lovers’ spat.”
I’m not sure that this guy would be in a position to know anything the rest of us don’t know about this, but he certainly knows how to make coffee spew out of my nose.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.