Paul Konerko and the White Sox agree to a three-year deal

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UPDATE: The “lovers’ spat” mentioned below is over. Bob Nightengale reports that the White Sox and Konerko have reached a three-year deal.  The details: $37.5 million total, but a huge amount of the year-three money is deferred. It will go $12 million in 2011, $12 million in 2012, $6.5 million in 2013 and then $1 million a year between 2014 and 2020.  Konerko made $12 million last year, so this is a slight raise in terms of overall value, but that deferral clearly makes this a different kind of deal.  Almost certainly Konerko’s last.

10:30 A.M.: There was news yesterday that Paul Konerko and the White Sox were on the outs. And it was understandable, as Kenny Williams suggested they were moving on from their longtime first baseman amidst reports that they wouldn’t go to $15 million a year on him.

Thing is? No one believes that Konerko will go anywhere else.  Bob Nightengale reports that other teams bidding don’t really believe they have a shot.  I spoke with a team executive in the lobby this morning — from a team that is not bidding on Konerko — and he called this business with the White Sox “a lovers’ spat.”

I’m not sure that this guy would be in a position to know anything the rest of us don’t know about this, but he certainly knows how to make coffee spew out of my nose.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.