White Sox general manager Rick Hahn recently met with free agent Paul Konerko and made it clear that he’d welcome the 38-year-old first baseman back in a part-time role.
However, during an interview with WSCR-AM radio in Chicago team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf revealed that the White Sox still “have no idea” if Konerko even plans to continue playing:
I have no idea. It’s truly Paul’s option. He has earned the right to come back if he wants to come back. He’s been the most popular player over the last 15 years that we’ve had. … He’s basically a White Sox lifer. He’s a terrific teammate. He’s our captain and he just has to make a decision whether he wants to come back or not.
At some point the White Sox will presumably need an answer from Konerko so they can move on with their offseason one way or another, although if he’d truly be returning in a part-time bench role perhaps timing isn’t that important.
Konerko hit .244 with 12 homers and a .669 OPS in 126 games for the worst OPS of his career and the White Sox signed Cuban slugger Jose Abreu to play first base while also having Adam Dunn at designated hitter.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.