Merkin @ CWS:
One of the offseason priorities for the White Sox soon could be fulfilled through the free-agent signing of Adam Dunn, who agreed to a four-year deal worth $56 million, pending a physical.
… Dunn had expressed a desire to do more than simply serve as designated hitter, but Dunn also could see time at first base for the White Sox, even if free agent Paul Konerko returns. Dunn, 31, reportedly was looking for a four-year, $60 million deal, and with the White Sox already committed to $81 million through 13 players — not to mention arbitration increases due to John Danks, Carlos Quentin and Tony Pena — bringing in Dunn seemed less likely at that asking price.
… If Konerko decides to return to the White Sox, the team would have a potent middle of the order somewhat akin to the Konerko/Jim Thome combination from 2006 to the end of ’09. Adding that sum total to the payroll could mean the subtraction of a player such as Quentin or even Mark Buehrle, as well as a young player such as Tyler Flowers taking over behind the plate. Buehrle would be a possible trade option, as he’s set to earn $14 million in the final year of his four-year, $56 million deal. But the left-hander has full no-trade protection, and if dealt, an extra contractual year kicks in for 2012 at $15 million.
Since Dunn is a Type-A free agent who declined arbitration, the Sox gave the 23rd pick in June’s draft to Washington.
Asked if the Sox had payroll room to sign both Dunn and Konerko, Williams said, “Not only do we have room, but it would be the ideal from our perspective.”
Garfein @ CSN:
J.J. Putz declined arbitration from the White Sox, making him a free agent.
The White Sox have expressed a desire to re-sign Putz, but they’ll have to wait in line.
“Eight or nine teams have shown preliminary interest,” Putz told Comcast SportsNet. “Some for closer roles, others to be a set-up man with a chance for closing.” …
A.J. Pierzynski is talking to multiple teams too. One of them is the Dodgers.
UPDATE: Merkin tweets:
Konerko declines salary arbitration, as expected
Merkin @ CWS:
Tuesday marks the deadline for first baseman Paul Konerko and right-handed reliever J.J. Putz to accept or decline the salary arbitration offered by the White Sox on Nov. 23. If either player accepts, he will be under team control for 2011 at an increase from last year’s respective salaries. Konerko earned $12 million in 2010 in the finale of a five-year, $60-million deal, and Putz earned $3 million.
Both are expected to turn down arbitration in pursuit of multiyear deals. Their decline would mean that the White Sox would receive two Draft picks for Konerko and one for Putz. It wouldn’t mean that the White Sox are done with an organization staple for the past 12 years, in Konerko, and a key cog to a talented bullpen, in Putz.
You can sign players that turned down arbitration this year.
Levine @ ESPN chat:
Q: Hey Bruce is it true that the White offered Victor Martinez a 3 year $48 million dollar contract, and he chose the 4 year $50 million dollar deal from Detroit instead?
A: Don’t know if the money is exactly what you say, but they were negotiating. At the same time, the Sox have talked to many agents, including Adam Dunn‘s, who is still their primary target.
Washington offered arbitration to Dunn, so if the Sox sign him you can wave goodbye to the 23rd draft pick.
Q: Assuming the Sox don’t get Adam Dunn, would [Hideki] Matsui be the left handed bat we go after next? And is [Miguel] Olivo the Sox starting catcher in 2011?
A: I can’t see how Olivo fits with the White Sox. The reason they got rid of him initially is he called a terrible game. Unless he’s gotten a lot smarter over the last five years, I don’t see it. Matsui is someone they are interested in. The agent and the Sox have had a solid history of communication.
Also, J.P. Morosi @ FS says:
After whiffing on [Victor] Martinez, the pressure is on the Chicago White Sox to come away with Dunn or their own free-agent slugger, Paul Konerko.
At this point, the White Sox will have a lot of splainin’ to do if they don’t re-sign their captain. Konerko hit .312 this year with 39 home runs and 111 RBI.
Dunn, meanwhile, could be a fit on the North Side.
video: http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/video?PID=oLyVPFPlcp0UluuALyIjO3rtSGu__5Lh (9:04)
At the 7:00 mark Buehrle says his gut feeling is Konerko won’t be back while A.J. has a better chance and he will be back. Also, at the 3:00 mark Buehre says if the White Sox offer him a contract after 2011, he will stay with the White Sox (99% odds) even if he has an offer from St. Louis.
Gonzales @ CT:
In another development, Sox free agent Mark Kotsay said on Jim Bowden’s XM Radio show that the Sox are trying to acquire a left-handed hitter, such as free agents Adam Dunn or Aubrey Huff, or trade for Prince Fielder in addition to re-signing Konerko.
The Sox had discussions with Milwaukee involving Fielder, but those talks stopped prior to the July 31 trading deadline after the Brewers asked for Gordon Beckham.
Padilla @ ESPN says the Sox will likely get a chance to match any contract offer Konerko gets:
At the very least, the bond figures to afford the White Sox one last chance at matching any deal Konerko might have on the table from another team.
The situation is unique, although not unprecedented, because it will give the White Sox a bargaining chip that other clubs won’t have. Call them naive, but because Konerko and Reinsdorf are so close, the club expects that whatever dollar amount it could be asked to match will not be an artificially inflated one.
Garfien @ CSN:
Let’s start with the four World Series heroes, and their chances of coming back:
Paul Konerko: 50 percent
A.J. Pierzynski: 40 percent
Bobby Jenks: 1 percent
Freddy Garcia: 25 percent
I’d go with those numbers too. More predictions at the link.
Merkin @ CWS:
Williams will get a 2011 budget number in late October and then another projection in November, followed by one as the team goes to the Winter Meetings and then again at the first of the year.
Ultimately, the White Sox might make the best offer to Konerko and Pierzynski within their budgetary parameters, and the players could decide to go elsewhere. Williams already had gone on record to MLB.com concerning his desire to have Konerko retire as a member of the White Sox, and he reiterated that idea on Sunday.
“Let me be clear on something: I think Jerry Reinsdorf and myself and Ozzie Guillen, we’d like to have him back. Let’s be completely clear on that,” Williams said. “Now, whether we can do that or that happens or not with all the variables, I have no clue right now. We are clear with our desires as we sit here today.”
… “Well, as I just told him today, I said, under my tenure at least, he is the classiest player that has put on a uniform,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said of Konerko, who he spoke to for five minutes in the clubhouse on Sunday. “And I’m not just talking on the field and in this clubhouse. I’m talking outside of the game as well. You’ll never hear me say a disparaging word against Paul Konerko.
“We don’t know how it’s going to play out. There are variables at play we have to go through, to see where we are, project our revenues and how the team fits as a whole. He has some things he has to work through in his mind as well.
“If at the end of the day, even if we are the ones who choose him and he doesn’t choose us, you will never hear out of anyone in the White Sox halls a disrespectful word about Paul Konerko. He is that good of a player, but also that classy of a man.”
Maybe by the Winter Meetings?
“This is tough because most agents want to take their players to the Winter Meetings (Oct. December 6-9 at Orlando) and through the Winter Meetings,” Williams said. “You have a lot of playing to do. There is that tier underneath the top level guys who don’t necessarily have to go to the Winter Meetings. They will get an offer or a deal and they will sign. If you are waiting for that Grade A type guy to be available at the Meetings, you might miss out on other guys who can help you and end up with nothing.
“So, it’s a game of roulette to a certain extent. We’ve experienced it first-hand and it didn’t work out too well the last time we went down that road where we didn’t up with the top guy and a couple of other guys on our list, we lost out on. So, you’ve got to really play those cards well.
“The great thing about it is we have a tremendous relationship with Paul, and I know he’s going to be honest with us and not want to put us in that kind of situation.”