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White Sox Thu Dec 05 2013

Konerko Returns to White Sox for One Last Season

Sox_200.pngHere in the days of Embracing Debate and Bleacher Report SEO tactics, it's important for every sports story to have a hot take reaction. Every trade has a winner and a loser, every draft pick is graded, every free agent signing is viewed in the scope of bargain or bad deal. There is rarely any in-between.

Except here. The White Sox resigned Paul Konerko to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, keeping him in Chicago for a 16th season. Konerko will turn 38 in March, and the 2014 season will be his last. Good deal? Bad deal? Nah. Neither.

Konerko was not good last year. He struggled with injuries, never found his power stroke and actually cost the team a win (-1.3 WAR). But this signing was the ultimate contract for past results and service. Konerko surely didn't want to go out on the low note that was the 2013 season, and the Sox would like a subdued farewell tour (and whatever buzz it brings to the team) for their franchise guy.

After the Sox signed Jose Abreu, and since the team has Adam Dunn in a contract year, it was clear that a Konerko return would be of limited impact to the on-field success of the team. This will be the case. He'll get some ABs here and there, and he'll fill in for stretches if/when Dunn or Abreu get hurt. You could do worse than having Paul Konerko as a backup first baseman, especially for a team with no young players yearning for playing time or other position players looking to switch to first base.

Konerko returns to the team for a modest sum of money on only a one-year deal. His decline will not hurt the Sox much because he won't play very often. Might as well keep a core guy around if it isn't cost prohibitive (It's also not as if $2.5 mil spent elsewhere would dramatically improve this team). It's good that he didn't end his Sox career with the disappointment that was last season.

The real value is getting one last Paulie season. It will be one of the few highlights for a Sox team that projects to be really bad next year, and it will be fun to see the crowd give him standing ovations and cheer him on when he does anything positive. Baseball-wise, though, the signing is a wash.

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