White Sox open to re-signing Paul Konerko, but lack at-bats

8 Comments

They signed Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68 million contract and Adam Dunn is still around as a should-be designated hitter, but the White Sox haven’t closed the door on re-signing free agent Paul Konerko.

Konerko is pondering retirement following a horrible age-37 season in which he hit just .244 with 12 homers and a .669 OPS in 126 games, but general manager Rick Hahn told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago that he’s slated to meet with Konerko next month and indicated that he’d welcome him back in a part-time role assuming the price tag was low enough.

Perhaps a Dunn-Konerko platoon at designated hitter, where Konerko starts versus most left-handed pitchers would work, but realistically that might only lead to 200 at-bats and do the White Sox really want to devote a roster spot to a part-time DH?

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.