Konerko to retuns to White Sox, Morneau to sign with Rockies
Six-time All-Star first baseman Paul Konerko has agreed to return for a 16th season with the Chicago White Sox in 2014, the team announced Wednesday.
Konerko will be in his 18th season and began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.
The deal is reportedly a one-year, $2.5 million contract.
Konerko, 37, hit .244 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs in 126 games last season, playing through thumb and wrist injuries.
The White Sox have a logjam with Adam Dunn and newcomer Jose Abreu limited to designated hitter and first base duty, as is Konerko. Dunn is due $15 million in 2014, the final season of his contract, and could be a trade candidate.
Konerko is the captain of the White Sox, championed as an invaluable leader by ownership and manager Robin Ventura. General manager Rick Hahn and Ventura traveled to visit Konerko in Phoenix before the GM meetings in Phoenix. Hahn said they had a long, honest conversation about where Konerko fit in the 2014 plans.
“All along we’ve wanted Paulie to get to the point where he was confident that he wanted to play next year and if it were with us, he was comfortable with what that role potentially would be,” Hahn said.
Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million contract and could be the primary designated hitter or share the first base/DH roles with Konerko.
n The Colorado Rockies are close to a two-year contract with free-agent first baseman Justin Morneau, MLB.com reported.
Multiple media outlets reported that the potential deal is worth $13 million.
The Rockies added some flexibility to their payroll when they traded outfielder Dexter Fowler and his $7.35 million salary to the Houston Astros earlier in the day.
Morneau, 32, is expected to take over as the Rockies’ starting first baseman with Todd Helton retiring.
For his career, Morneau is a .277 hitter with 221 home runs and 863 RBIs. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006.