White Sox keep Konerko
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 2:24 a.m.
Paul Konerko promised to be meticulous and explore all the options as a free agent. And he did, jumping into a stressful monthlong journey that landed him back right where he started.
Having received a $60 million, five-year offer from the Chicago White Sox, Konerko decided the proposal was fair and agreed Wednesday to return to the World Series champions.
''It's as simple as where your heart is,'' Konerko said. ''That's what brought me back.''
The first baseman led the White Sox with 40 homers and 100 RBIs last season, hitting .283. He was MVP of the AL championship series win over the Los Angeles Angels after hitting two homers and seven RBIs. He had a go-ahead grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series sweep over Houston, the first Series title for the White Sox since 1917.
''You have family, all things came into play,'' Konerko said. ''At the end of the day, 'OK, I'm a baseball player and where am I going to feel the best?' ''
Konerko's decision and last week's acquisition of Jim Thome from Philadelphia could mean the end of Frank Thomas' career with the White Sox. Thomas, a two-time AL MVP, became a free agent after Chicago declined a 2006 option.
''I tried to reach Frank by phone earlier today and I think it's disrespectful to inform the public of the organization's plans without having a conversation,'' Chicago general manager Ken Williams said. ''The right-handed bat of Paul Konerko and the left-handed bat of Jim Thome, we felt it necessary to balance us out. ... I know what he (Thomas) means to Chicago. I prefer to have conversations privately before announcing anything to the public.''
The 31-year-old right-hander, who got $800,000 in a deal that includes performance bonuses, was in 41 games last season for Milwaukee and went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. In 42 innings, Santana allowed 34 hits, walked 19, struck out 49, and opponents batted .221 against him.
''Santana did a solid job in Milwaukee's bullpen and he gives us some more options there,'' Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said.
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