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White Sox Wed Dec 08 2010

White Sox Re-Sign Konerko, Complete 1-2 Punch

Thumbnail image for white sox.gifOK, good. That's much better.

Last week the White Sox added slugger Adam Dunn to the middle of their lineup, but there wasn't much point analyzing the move until we saw whether he was replacing or supplementing Paul Konerko's production.

Today we saw it is, fortunately, the latter. Jerry Reinsdorf authorized Kenny Williams not only to spend $56 million on Dunn's four-year contract, but another $37.5 million to bring Konerko back for three more seasons.

Konerko was one of the best hitters in baseball last season and has become after 12 years here a beloved player for Reinsdorf and Sox fans, a true Face of the Franchise figure.

His return seems eminently worthy of celebration -- even if, as analyst Keith Law points out, it's unlikely he will continue to hit as well as he did last season:

Konerko had a huge contract year, posting career highs in OBP and slugging at age 34 after three years of productive decline. He's never been much of a defender and is the sort of slow, unathletic player who tends to fall off offensively in his mid-30s -- something Konerko has so far avoided -- but he can't escape Father Time forever.

Even in 2011 Konerko's line is much more likely resemble what he produced from 2007 to 2009, when he hit a composite .260/.350/.475. Those are solid numbers, but unspectacular for a first baseman who provides no defensive or baserunning value. If he hits like that for the next three years, the White Sox will be taking a loss in value on the deal (though they did load the contract with deferrals that will spread payments out until 2020), and that's assuming he doesn't actually decline, in which case they'll have an unmovable player in 2013 who's dragging the offense down.

Konerko and Dunn probably aren't a better 1-2 punch than Mauer/Morneau in Minnesota or Cabrera/Martinez in Detroit, but they're unquestionably a highly credible duo to run out there every day in the middle of your lineup. The Sox have a real DH again, not this NL-style rotation of league-average (at best) guys Ozzie Guillen ran out last season.

Now for a few relief pitchers ...

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