Paul Konerko and the White Sox agree to a three-year deal

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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.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.