This offseason Paul Konerko seriously considered signing with the Diamondbacks, in large part to be closer to his family, but ultimately decided to re-sign with the White Sox for $37.5 million over three years.
With the White Sox heading to Arizona for an interleague series that begins tonight Konerko told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he doesn’t regret the decision:
When you make a decision like that you have to know you made the right decision at that moment, especially with all the information in front of you. If that means you had a bad year, the team didn’t do well, the team you were supposed to go to does great, you have to make a commitment to not judge a decision … comparing it to what you could have had.
If you’re going to do that, you have to do that as the whole body of that contract. It would have to be three years from now. And you can never play that game because you never know if it would have worked out had you gone to the other place. Who knows?
In other words, the Diamondbacks (38-32) actually have a better record than the White Sox (33-37), but we’re not even halfway through the first season of a three-year deal and Konerko is playing very well, hitting a career-high .321 with 16 homers and a .945 OPS through 67 games.
Meanwhile, instead of paying huge money to Konerko the Diamondbacks went with a cheap platoon of Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at first base and rank 11th among NL teams with a .741 OPS from the position.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.