Tag: Paul Konerko

Grand Hyatt

What to watch for at the 2014 Winter Meetings


SAN DIEGO — Greetings from beautiful southern California. Where the weather is gorgeous and the speculation about free agents and trade possibilities is endless. It’s the Winter Meetings, baseball’s annual transaction frenzy, where owners, GMs, agents and everyone else in and around the game assemble and make the moves which set the groundwork for the coming year. This year the work is being done at the Manchester Grand Hyatt In San Diego, and it is from here I will be writing all week to keep you in the loop.

This year’s Winter Meetings are shaping up to be very different from last year’s when, it seemed anyway, all of the big deals happened before the Winter Meetings got underway. Robinson Cano signed with Seattle in the runup to it all. As did  Carlos Beltran, Joe Nathan, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Justin Morneau, Scott Kazmir and Ryan Vogelsong. Indeed, it seemed like most of the big names were off the board before everyone even made it to Orlando in 2013. But this year it is a different story indeed, with all manner of players still available.

On the market:


We still await Jon Lester’s decision. He, reportedly, has offers in hand from the Cubs and Red Sox and possibly the Dodgers and Giants. The deal he ultimately accepts could be around $150 million, but for now, he is leaving everyone guessing and the rest of the pitching market is likely waiting for him to make a choice before it all falls into line. Once he does, expect the market for Max Scherzer to heat up as well as the trade market for any number of other starting pitchers, any of whom could go to teams which fell short of Lester. Included in this group could be Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Jeff Samardzija and any of the Reds’ many pitchers reportedly on the market.


Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp are the big bats on the block. If the Dodgers can’t move Kemp they may try to trade Andre Ethier and/or Carl Crawford. Jay Bruce of the Reds and free agent Melky Cabrera each own some big bats which are also in demand, the former via trade and the latter via free agency.


David Robertson is the biggest name reliever left, though his market is hard to define. The Yankees may welcome him back, but probably not at the salary he’s expecting given that they signed Andrew Miller already. The Astros — who actually outbid the Yankees for Miller, only to see him choose New York — are a possibility. Other free agent relievers include Sergio Romo, Pat Neshek, Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Francisco Rodriguez. Jonathan Papelbon is being shopped by the Phillies and, given their rebuild, the Braves could dangle Craig Kimbrel as well.


Beyond the free agents, trade targets and rumor news, there is some other business to be attended to at the Winter Meetings. Most notably today, when the Veterans Committee announces which of the Golden Age candidates it has voted into the Hall of Fame. The candidates: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills. If I had to guess I’d say that Howsam — the executive who built the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s — Hodges and Oliva get voted in, but really it’s anyone’s guess. Dick Allen and Minnie Minoso are certainly deserving of a plaque in Cooperstown, but whether they get there or not is an open question.

But really, we can preview until the cows come home but every year there are some surprises at the Winter Meetings. Follow us at HardballTalk all week to keep abreast of what is going on at baseball’s biggest offseason event.

Paul Konerko, Jimmy Rollins named co-winners of the Roberto Clemente Award

Paul Konerko

Via the MLB Public Relations Twitter account, retiring White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins have been named the co-winners of the Roberto Clemente Award. The Clemente Award goes to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement. The nominees, one from each team, were announced back in September.

Konerko and Jim Thome founded the Bring Me Home Foundation eight years ago to raise awareness and support for foster children and families. Chicago White Sox Charities honored him earlier this year for his charitable work with a bobblehead. Per Chuck Garfien of CSN Chicago, Konerko is the first member of the White Sox to win the Roberto Clemente Award.

Rollins and his wife Johari created the The Johari & Jimmy Rollins Center for Animal Rehabilitation as well as The Rollins Family Foundation. Rollins also holds an annual BaseBOWL tournament to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. As Kevin Cooney of Calkins Media tweets, Rollins is the third Phillie to win the Roberto Clemente award, joining Greg Luzinski (1978) and Garry Maddox (1986).

This is the first time more than one player has won the Roberto Clemente Award in the same year. Kudos to Konerko and Rollins, two of the game’s most upstanding players, for their well-deserved accolades.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Tigers celebrate

source: AP

Tigers 3, Twins 0: Ian Kinsler drove in two, David Price turned in a fantastic performance and the bullpen didn’t betray the Tigers in their division-clinching win. It’s their fourth straight AL Central crown. While the story of this Tigers era will likely one day be told in such a way that had them owning the division, it’s worth noting that they’d gone down to the wire fending off pesky teams each year.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Best part of this no hitter: the catch that saved it, probably. But also underrated is that the game was so close and Jordan Zimmermann almost had to twirl it in order to win. If Steven Souza doesn’t make that grab there’s a runner in scoring position in a one run game. Anyway, given that the Nats-Marlins game I attended this past weekend was a 15-7 affair played by bench guys and scrubs, I think it’s safe to say I purchased tickets to the wrong contest.

Athletics 4, Rangers 0: The A’s clinch the last AL playoff spot on the last day of the season which, given where they were in the middle of the season, is not exactly what they wanted. But now the slate is wiped clean and if they win one road game against the Royals it’s all reset, right? Sonny Gray with the six-hit shutout. Against a Texas team that, being charitable, was not exactly filled with top-flight talent yesterday. That probably angered the Mariners to some degree. But that’s often how it goes in September.

Royals 6, White Sox 4: Kansas City falls a game short of the AL Central title thanks to the Tigers’ win. Nice year for the Royals of course, but it is rather amazing how many times the Tigers more or less invited the Royals to take the division from them with the Royals basically declining the offer. The final game for Paul Konerko. He didn’t play the whole game and didn’t get a hit, but he made a nice gesture in writing his family’s name in the infield dirt at first base.

Indians 7, Rays 2  T.J. House beat Alex Cobb in what I assume was the first matchup in major league history between pitchers whose last names are also names of salads.Zach Walters and Carlos Santana each drove in two.  It was a coulda been season for Cleveland. Given the inconsistent play they had for so much of the year it’s amazing they even made it to the last week of the season with a shot at the playoffs, but ultimately it had to be considered a disappointment.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 3 with a homer. This will be an interesting offseason for the Cubs, who are likely to bid on a starter in free agency. And, if things go just right, could be an interesting and possibly competitive team next season.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: The end mercifully comes for both teams’ dismal 2014 seasons. The Braves got both of their runs in the first and then went into hibernation mode. Cole Hamels pitched well and had one of the more deceivingly good years from a starter you’re likely to see: 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA. Imagine what he would’ve done on a team with some offense.

Mets 8, Astros 3: Jose Altuve played after all — they were going to hold him out to protect his lead over Victor Martinez for the batting title before thinking better of it — and he rapped two hits to actually raise that average and clinch the crown. Lucas Duda homered and drove in four. It was Bobby Abreu’s last game. The Mets actually ended up tied with the Braves for second in the NL East.

Yankees 9, Red Sox 5: Jeter’s last game in Yankee Stadium was more memorable, but he ended his last game overall in style too, hitting an RBI single in his final plate appearance.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: Pittsburgh’s loss hands the Cardinals the division. Still a nice season for Pittsburgh. Johnny Cueto notched his 20th win and also singled in the go-ahead run.

Orioles 1, Blue Jays 0: Jonathan Schoop homered and six O’s pitchers combine to shut out Toronto. They now face the Tigers in the ALDS.

Cardinals 1, Diamondbacks 0: St. Louis tossed a bullpen committee at Arizona given that they clinched the division before the game started with the Pirates’ loss. Given the foregone conclusion of the season and what had to have been an insanely strong desire by the Dbacks players to get the heck home after a nightmare year, this was a game played at quarter speed. If that.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 5: If you believe in that whole “peak at the right time” thing (I don’t, but whatever) than the Dodgers are peaking at the right time. Sixteen hits for the boys in blue, led by Adrian Gonzalez’s three-run homer and Matt Kemp’s two-run blast.

Giants 9, Padres 3: Homers from Buster Posey and Adam Duvall. A post-game speech from Hunter Pence to the fans. This one had 100% fewer F-bombs in it, though, so that was good.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: The A’s win ended the M’s season just shy of the prize. On the one hand, congrats to them for such a surprisingly competitive year. On the other, man, they skidded late and had all kinds of chances to take control in the wild card race but just didn’t. That’s gotta be an especially weird king of stinging feeling.

Also an especially weird feeling: the last And That Happened of the year. For reasons I’ve said before and that I’ll likely put again in a post this week, the end of the regular season is always sad for me. The playoffs are what they are and they will consume all of the oxygen for the next month, but really, what I love about baseball is the day-to-day of the regular season and there’s something missing in October with that comforting, lower-level intensity absent. Having the space and time to chronicle the unimportant along with the moderately important things of the 162-game flow is why I like writing ATH, and that’s gone now. It always makes me feel a bit of a loss. Oh well.

Thanks for reading each morning, everyone. This feature will see you again in April.

Bobby Abreu singles in final at-bat, exits to a standing ovation

Bobby Abreu

Derek Jeter and Paul Konerko weren’t the only ones taking their final cuts in the batter’s box on Sunday afternoon. Mets reserve outfielder Bobby Abreu announced on Friday that he would be retiring at season’s end and ended his career on a high note.

Abreu was 0-for-1 with a walk when he stepped to the plate in the fifth inning. The 40-year-old then lined a 1-2 single to left field. Manager Terry Collins sent in Eric Young, Jr. to pinch-run, allowing Abreu to doff his helmet to the Citi Field crowd giving him a standing ovation. It was a pretty cool moment for a fantastic player.

Abreu is an interesting case when it comes to the Hall of Fame. He retires with 2,470 hits, including 574 doubles (most among currently-active players and tied for 21st-most all-time), along with a .291/.395/.475 slash line. He has 60 career WAR according to Baseball Reference and 58 per FanGraphs.

Video: Paul Konerko takes his final bow in Chicago

paul konerko white sox getty

Watch as Paul Konerko leaves the field for the final time Sunday afternoon in Chicago …

Konerko drew the names of his three kids in the dirt behind first base before he left. He’s ready …