Paul Konerko pondered retirement following the worst season of his career, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the 37-year-old will return to the White Sox for another go-around.
Konerko hit just .244 with 12 homers and a .669 OPS in 126 games this year and the White Sox signed Cuban slugger Jose Abreu to a $68 million deal to be their new first baseman, with Adam Dunn still around at designated hitter.
In other words it’s unclear how much playing time will be available for Konerko, although at the very least a platoon with Dunn in which he draws most of the starts versus left-handed pitching seems to make sense.
General manager Rick Hahn has made it clear all offseason that the White Sox wanted Konerko back in some capacity if he chose to continue playing, so they were simply waiting on him to make a decision.
UPDATE: Scott Merkin of MLB.com says it’s a one-year, $2.5 million deal with some of the money deferred. Konerko hasn’t been paid less than $12 million in a season since 2005 and last earned less than $2.5 million in 2001.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.