Now that Adam Dunn has signed with the White Sox, it seems likely that slugging first baseman Paul Konerko will not be heading back to the Southside.
Konerko, 34, is coming off arguably his best season in 2010, in which he hit .312 with 39 homers, 111 RBIs and a career-high .977 OPS.
With Adrian Beltre’s future in Boston uncertain, the Red Sox might be in serious need of a replacement at the hot corner. And while Konerko definitely cannot play third base, Kevin Youkilis can — which means Konerko would play first base if he were to sign in Beantown.
But Konerko is a Type-A free agent who made $12 million in 2010, and he declined arbitration from the White Sox. This means a few different things. For one, the Red Sox (or any team, for that matter) would have to give up their top draft pick to sign him. Secondly, Konerko turning down arbitration — after a career year — means he not only wants more than $12 million in 2011, he probably wants a multi-year deal, as well.
With aging slugger David Ortiz already under contract for $12.5 million next year, it would be problematic for Boston to sign another old, plodding power hitter who can't play much defense.
There's plenty of interest in the market for Konerko, and he will definitely sign somewhere. The Orioles, Cubs and even the White Sox have been linked to him, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
But it would be wiser for Boston to go after a younger option like Beltre, in addition to targeting a major free agent like Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth.