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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sox say interest in Konerko remains

By Doug Padilla

Paul Konerko
The addition of Jose Abreu doesn't mean the end for Paul Konerko with the Sox, GM Rick Hahn says.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox say they have not lost interest in bringing back the face of their franchise, but even if Paul Konerko does return next season, things don't figure to be the same.

The idea that Konerko, a free agent, would sign a new White Sox deal was put into question by the signing of Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal, which was made official Tuesday.

General manager Rick Hahn insisted the White Sox remain interested in talking to Konerko about a one-year deal. Konerko said before the season ended that if he does come back, it would be for only one more season, and then he would slip into retirement.

The biggest obstacle to bringing back Konerko wouldn't seem to be financial as much as it would seem to be too many versions of the same type of player. The White Sox already have two designated hitter/first base types under contract: Abreu and Adam Dunn. Konerko would give them a third.

Finding enough playing time for three players at two positions would seem to be an issue, but Hahn isn't concerning himself with that right now.

"I'm not going to make proclamations about playing time or the roster on Oct. 29," Hahn said. "We'll see how things unfold over the offseason, and come Opening Day we'll see who's here, who's not here, and how the [at-bats] need to be allocated."

Hahn said he is still on schedule to meet Konerko face-to-face next month. Since the White Sox aren't expected to turn down Konerko if he wants to play one last season, the decision on coming back would seem to be all his.

Whatever the White Sox would offer Konerko for one more season, it would figure to be well under the $13.5 million he made in 2013 ($7 million of which is being deferred in $1 million chunks for the next seven years).

Hahn said he told Konerko in September that the White Sox might try to sign Abreu, and then spoke to the veteran again this past week when a deal was reached with Abreu.

"I kept it very general," Hahn said about his most recent Konerko conversation. "I wanted him to have the information from me as opposed to from Twitter or a reporter calling. We confirmed that we'd get together next month."