The Chicago White Sox, who nearly lost first baseman Paul Konerko to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday and had already plans to acquire another first baseman, reached a three-year, $37.5 million agreement with the slugger, USA TODAY reported Wednesday. The deal was later confirmed by the White Sox, and Konerko will receive $12 million in 2011 and 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013. The White Sox said the final year will be paid out at $6.5 million in 2013 and $1 million a year from 2014-2020.
Konerko chose to return to the White Sox over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who offered a three-year contract for $30 million, the Diamondbacks said. Konerko grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., but also has a close relationship with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and in the end chose to return to the club he’s played for since 1999.
UPDATE: Press release here.
“What we need to do next is figure out a way to pay for all of this. We’ve certainly ramped it up here recently and have been very aggressive, and I think that at this point — as I’ve stated before — I feel comfortable and confident in the everyday lineup and the defense that we’re going to put out there, as well as the starting rotation and the back four guys in the bullpen. But I think we’ve got to augment that just a bit to make ourselves as strong as possible and contend for the division. So we’ve got some work cut out for us and are at a point where we need to get a little creative, because we’re about tapped out right now. We need to either get creative or we need to get a flood at the ticket counter pretty quickly.”
“Paul Konerko has some good teammates, because one of the things that helped us to get this done was Adam Dunn coming in and caring more about winning than the last dollar — certainly dollars this year — because he was more than accommodating in [deferring] some of his money back to the latter part of his deal. A.J. Pierzynski did the same thing, and the rest came together through, literally, our marketing department and accounting people pulling together as many revenue sources as possible. This is something that you have to do when you’re in our situation, and we just thought that we had to capitalize on it. Fortunately we were dealing with a player who really wanted to be here in Chicago and finish his career here.”