In addition to learning that Robin Ventura’s contract with the White Sox runs through 2014 another interesting tidbit from his introductory press conference as manager today is that general manager Ken Williams admitted he considered first baseman Paul Konerko for the job before settling on Ventura:
It was considered long enough for me to realize that Paul is a very cerebral person and he would probably drive himself nuts right now playing and managing at the same time. But that’s the kind of respect I have for him that, yeah, I did consider it. Then I thought I think I would rather him be focused more on hitting third or fourth in the lineup and driving in 100 runs rather than trying to worry about 25 other guys in addition to it. We are trying to win.
Suffice it to say Ventura’s lack of managerial experience didn’t really bother Williams if he was thinking about giving the job to someone who wasn’t even finished playing yet. Pete Rose was the last player/manager for the Reds in the mid-80s, and before that Frank Robinson and Joe Torre also filled the dual role.
Konerko is 35 years old and has two seasons and $25.5 million remaining on his contract, so if the Ventura gamble doesn’t pay off for the White Sox presumably Williams will consider him a whole lot more seriously come 2014 or so.
In a column published on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Padres are “aggressively shopping” third baseman Yangervis Solarte. The 29-year-old is entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $2.7 million next season.
This past season, Solarte hit a solid .286/.341/.467 with 15 home runs and 71 RBI in 443 plate appearances. It’s quite impressive factoring in that he plays in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Given that Solarte is team-controlled for three more years and he offers lots of versatility with previous experience playing first and second base as well as corner outfield, the Padres should receive a fair amount of interest.
Update (6:52 PM EST): The deal is expected to be one year for $13 million, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms the report.
The Yankees are close to signing veteran free agent Matt Holliday, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.
Holliday, who turns 37 years old next month, was limited to 110 games in 2016 with the Cardinals due to a fractured left thumb suffered in the second half. He finished the season hitting .246/.322/.461 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 426 plate appearances.
Holliday is likely looking at spending the majority of his time in the DH role. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann handled the DH role for a majority of the time last season but all three have moved on — Rodriguez was released in the second half, Beltran just signed with the Astros, and McCann was traded to the Astros last month.