Konerko at center of Winter Meetings

A monster contract signed on the eve of the Winter Meetings might raise dollar figures, but it won't change the Sox's plans.

As if Kenny Williams couldn’t hate Mike Rizzo more, the Washington Nationals GM had to go and sign Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract.
The lede of Ken Rosenthal’s story said it best:

A rival general manager, upon hearing that the contract was for seven years, offered this reaction to Jayson Werth’s signing with the Nationals:
“Absolutely bat—- crazy.”
And that was before the GM even learned the contract was for $126 million, an average of $18 million per season.

And this is while Williams is trying to finalize the terms of Paul Konerko’s impending contract.
These earthshaking deals don’t always alter the market like simple logic would dictate. The “bat—- crazy” quote reminded me of when Williams signed Scott Linebrink to his ill-fated, four-year, $19 million contract in November 2007. Buster Olney wrote a story quoting one of them “rival execs” who said, “our industry has gone insane again.”
As it turned out, the industry didn’t lose its marbles, but judges probably would have granted Williams a temporary insanity plea.
That’s what this Werth deal reminds me of. It might have a direct effect on Carl Crawford’s negotiations, since they’re peers on the market. But I can’t see his deal lifting the negotiating floor for all of baseball, at least not anymore than the Victor Martinez or Adam Dunn signings did.
But add it in with Lance Berkman going to the Cardinals … to play the outfield … and this winter is definitely off to a strange start. And now that I mentioned Dunn, I’m certainly glad the Sox struck quickly. You know, just in case.
(By the way: Werth’s contract is why I still have a hunch Manny Ramirez is going to make more than most of you think. Maybe not $9.5 million like I said, but close. Boras can do these things.)
Heading into the winter meetings, Paul Konerko’s eventual return is very much a matter of “when,” and not “if.”
*Doug Padilla reports that, basically, Jerry Reinsdorf is Charles Comiskey, Paul Konerko is Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Kenny Williams is Harry Grabiner. Except Reinsdorf is in Orlando, too.
*Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Konerko and Craig Landis will meet with Rick Hahn today. When that happens, usually it’s contract time.
*The bullpen is probably the other area the Sox will target besides Konerko, but Ken Rosenthal throws a Cliff Lee suggestion into the mix for giggles.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Dave Van Dyck’s in a little bit of a slump with regard to contracts. Earlier in the week, he said Alexei Ramirez’s option is worth $2.5 million. Then he wrote that Edwin Jackson is owed $13.35 million over the next two seasons.
*Joe Cowley, of course, can’t talk about Williams’ recent moves without mentioning the supposed “500-pound gorilla” that is the relationship with Ozzie Guillen, complete with more stumping for an extension.
*Nice job by James Warren of the Chicago News Cooperative (hat tip to Larry) for identifying the guy who uncovered Dave Wilder’s allegedly illegal activities: Rafael Santana. Read the whole thing, but here’s an important excerpt:

Mr. Snyder called Mr. Reinsdorf. “He said I had to talk to our head guy in the Dominican, Rafael Santana, about something bad happening down there,” Mr. Reinsdorf said.
In late February 2008, they met in Tucson, then the Sox’s spring training site. “He told me that players told him they were forced to give Wilder some of their signing bonus,” Mr. Reinsdorf said.
He quickly called Robert DuPuy, then the president and chief operating officer of Major League Baseball, and Sheldon Zenner, a former federal prosecutor and partner at the team’s Chicago law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman L.L.P.
Parallel investigations by the league and the Sox ensued.

Due process has to run its course, but it’s remarkable how tidily the loose ends are being resolved on the White Sox’s end. Santana was only on the job for about five months before reporting the wrongdoings, and this account shows the White Sox as being proactive and responsible. It could have been so much worse that it almost seems too clean.
If the Sox escape this mess with only Wilder, Jorge Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo identified in the scam, the organization will have dodged a huge bullet.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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The Nats couldn’t resign Dunn but they gave Werth that much money? Does Congress run that team?


I went to bed about as happy as a kid on christmas eve, last night after laughing myself silly about the Werth contract.
In defense of WIlliams bad contract to linebrink, look at when the sox have been good, Cotts, Pollite, Jenks in 2005, Linebrink, Thornton, Jenks 2008, Putz, Thornton, Jenks 2010 (when they made their run).
Sox have had some of their best stretches when they get lights out setup and closing efforts from the pen. Sox 2007 bullpen was about as bad as we had ever seen and KW over reacted and spent huge on a middle releiver. However, they did win the division in 2008, to compare that signing to the Nationals massively overpaying a fringe all star who is going to play most of this year as a 32 year old, well thats just not fair the nats have Zero chance of contending, they are taking a hitter out of a good lineup and a good ballpark to hit in and giving him no protection and a worse environment to hit, GOOD LUCK!


I usually rail on bad gm’ing so now that I ranted on Werth I would like to point out an excellent move I saw yesterday.
The brewers used a top prospect who was blocked in their organization to go out and get an under the radar pitcher they can control for a while who has been pretty damn good in the AL East in Shawn Marcum. This is directly opposite of what they usually do to try and help their staff, overpaying for over the hill NL only pitchers like Suppan, Looper, Wolf. Instead they get a young guy who will actually benefit from the league change and who I think will immediately be an excellent national league 2 to slot in behind Gallardo. Well done Brewers.


A prospect traded for a 29 year-old starting pitcher with a track record of success (Career 3.85 ERA 1.24 WHIP .244 BAA) who pitched in the AL East.
Well done, Mauer.. make that Melvin.


Looks like the Brewers indeed are going for it all. They supposedly are willing to trade prospect Lorenzo Cain for a ML starting pitcher.
Who lit a fire under Melvin’s backside ?


You know, I’ve work with this woman who runs events. We will be in meetings and she’ll talk about how she wants to do this or that on a project that we maxed our budget on, and she’ll argue with these cliches like “You’ve got to spend money to make money” or “It’ll pay for itself” while the boss tries to explain to her the concept of a budget. It’s really annoying.
The point of that is to say that it seems to me that the 500 pound gorilla is can we really afford Konerko? I understand the points about going all in and the need to stay relevant – but isn’t that the same motivation behind Rizzo’s dumbass signing of Werth? It may feel nice hearing how financially committed management is in the next few seasons, but I’m just wondering what the impacts could be down the road…


absolutely not, an overpay is always an overpay and to do it as a perennial last place team is absolutely moronic
if the sox pay konerko 13 mil a season, thats basically a value deal, its about what he is worth, and it makes them a solid contender
if the sox go to the playoffs, and heck make another title run the money involved in that is enormous


I agree that all three of those points are true. But that is the spend money to make money/pay for itself point, the point I was trying to make with that anecdote. What I’m wondering is how much risk is involved – where is our break even point? Are we banking on playoff money? Playoff money for the next two years? Or could there be another White Flag Trade scenario if we’re a few games behind Minnesota?
If we’re already over budget and talking about adding another $13 million, the question for me isn’t whether it’s market value (I suppose Tulo in Colorado would have been a better comparison than the Werth deal). It’s how far we’re really stretching the budget and what the repercussions are.


I read the SSS article and I just dont agree with it, the sox have made it their “thing” to never rebuild and always extend windows that were suppose to come shut. Its been 10 years that Kenny has managed this wouldnt it have caught up to him by now?


Not sure about that its common practice for the sox like most teams to routinely make deals that increase in value as the contract goes on. Heck just think about last year, the teahen deal, taking on the rios money, the peavy money, the pierre money, and edwin jackson all guys who make more as their deals age.


And 4/5 of the originators of those contracts moved them to another team. Might be a clean sweep if Teahen’s wasn’t so bad.


I don’t see 13/year as a value deal. Given aging I would expect him to be closer to 2007/2009 Konerko than 2010/2006 Konerko… 30 HR/year and a .350 OBP. 13/year for that is not a bad overpay, but it is a bit of one, and if anyone is using 2010 as a baseline they should temper their expectations a bit.

As Cirensica

Great post thanks. Cowley’s article link is broken or it threw me to an error “page not Found” thingy. The link is down below if anyone wants to read the article or if Mr. Margalus fixes the link, which he probably will do being as kind and attentive as he ever.
In my opinion, no signing Konerko will be a mistake as signing only Dunn leaves us still with the disastrous rotation of weakling with DHs functions.
That contract to Werth is a complete crazy thing that the Nationals will regret when Werth will be making his fat dollars and he is a 36 yrs old inferior version of Jim Edmonds


Usually more of a reader than a commenter here but I have to chime in on that Werth contact, it really just can’t be torn apart enough.
Usually when you see some type of contract like this that undoubtedly ends in destroying your payroll a few years down the line your at least in contention for the few years you might get your moneysworth. But alas the Nationals still suck and their brilliant idea of improving their team is to massively overpay even though they’ll continue to finish in close to the bottom of the division for the next few years. By the time they might actually contend Werth is a couple years away from decline without even mentioning their taking him out of a bandbox playing in an incredibly talented lineup and placing him in a canyon for right hand handed power hitters.
Anyways it looks like Kenny Williams got his revenge on Rizzo and it came via his best friend Scott Boras negotiating a contract that will kill them for years to come.


wonder what the Plan B is? Could it be Loney? Probably a waste of time speculating, but if he were actually available, id much much rather take a shot at him than Pena or other random 1B.
He doesnt have much pop for 1B, but hes young and isnt eligible for FA for a few more years. Could be a pretty good stop gap should we decide we cant afford Paulie, or the Orioles offer him mega bucks… Which is apparently the thing non-contending teams do now?


“Dave Van Dyck’s in a little bit of a slump with regard to contracts”
He is not in a slump Jim. Having heard him on tv and the radio over the past year I can assuredly say he’s senile.


One of Chicago’s 3 Stooges (with Cowley and Rogers)
Maybe Kenny’s next trade will include a decent sportswriter.


The Boston Herald is reporting that both Chicago teams were “finalists” for Adrian Gonzalez and were offering at least one major league player in their trade packages.
Wow! I’m sure Teahen was the centerpiece.


Just wondering the sequence of events:
SD rejects the Sox, then the Sox sign Dunn and target Konerko or
The Sox sign Dunn, then target and lose Gonzalez, then try to re-sign Konerko.
Can’t have all three. Was Konerko always the last option ?


I imagine KW was just doing his due diligence. If he got SuperMex, awesome. If not who cares.


And this is completely ludicrous, but I got a kick out of it, so I thought I’d share my dream scenario: Trade Beckham and Quentin to SD for Gonzalez; put AGonz at 1B/DH platoon with Konerko, who the Sox re-sign. Stick Adam Dunn in leftfield, move Pierre to right. Morel moves to 2nd and we platoon Viciedo and Teahan at 3B. I mean, if the Sox were going to go all in, that’s a ridiculous offensive lineup to pencil in everyday, and a potential 250-error season (if 3B and LF even has the range to get to enough balls to contribute to making that many errors.).


Curious to see what people think of the Beckham + prospects for AGonz offer. How does it stack up to Boston’s trio of top prospects? Who do you think our offered prospects were? Viciedo?


And I just got fired up a moment ago thinking about how Kenny is working it this off-season. I love that he was seriously going after Adrian Gonzalez. I love that he signed Dunn. Let’s go after Carl Crawford, while we’re at it. I’ve had enough of Boston and NYY buying whomever they wish at whatever price. Enough of that. I’m not saying Chicago should empty their farm system year after year and overspend for talent, but if AGone is available and KW thinks he has the pieces, by all means, get it done. Let’s contend in a big way. Serve notice. Trot out Buerhle then Peavy then Danks then Floyd then Jackson day after day. Field a fearsome line up. Let Ozzie foam at the mouth. Strike fear into the hearts of Twins’ fans and while ESPN is fondling itself at the prospect of broadcasting all 19 of the most epic regular season battles of all time between Boston and the Yankees every freaking year,”Chicago can win 95 – 100 games and dominate in the post-season. Grrr…


Speaking of trades and the White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees, remember this one.
When the Red Sox decided to trade Babe Ruth, it came down to two offers :
Yankees – $125K in cash and a $300K loan
White Sox – Shoeless Joe Jackson and $60K
What might have been.


Putz 2yr/$10m. As Jim predicted, he got more than he deserved. I think that’s too much for a guy who the Sox babied in April/May, swung into form when the entire team got hot and then shit the house in a key series against Detroit when he finally got his shot to close. Good luck winning with the D-backs Putz! Now he can be called “Putz” again instead of “Poots”.
I hope Paulie stays but that they get him down to 2yrs with maybe a mutual option/buyout for a third. That would be a real sacrifice for Paulie, especially if a contender like the Rangers is offering three or four. But maybe Konerko’s long term prospects with the team weigh in here as ending his career in a White Sox uniform would officialy make him the sort of throwback ballplayer that everyone loves — and deservedly freakin’ so. Konerko can make his money one way or another as his relationship with Jerry has a value of its own. Konerko isn’t likely to put up the terrific numbers he did last year. Then again, backed up by a threat like Dunn should help him.