Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Updated: November 30, 12:42 PM ET
Report: Konerko rejects five-year, $65M deal
ESPN.com news services
The Baltimore Orioles may be out of the hunt for Paul Konerko.
According to a report on the Baltimore Sun's Web site on Tuesday, the Chicago White Sox's free-agent first baseman rejected the Orioles' latest offer, a five-year, $65 millon deal. A source familiar with the negotiations told the Sun that the team is waiting on agent Craig Landis' counterproposal, and the $65 million offer is no longer on the table.
According to the Sun, the Orioles' original offer to Konerko earlier this month was for four years, $50 million. A source told the Sun that the Orioles might be willing to go higher than the current $65 million offer, but they are hesitant to make another offer because they feel Konerko isn't interested in Baltimore even if the Orioles make the highest bid. It is believed Konerko would like to stay in Chicago or play on the West Coast, closer to his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan declined to discuss negotiations with the Sun.
The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly offered a five-year, $60 million contract. The Los Angeles Times reported that Konerko met with Angels officials, including manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Bill Stoneman, in Anaheim on Tuesday.
Chicago assistant GM Rick Hahn told The Associated Press that the White Sox have an ongoing dialogue with Landis and would like Konerko to make a decision before next week's winter meetings so they can map out the rest of their offseason plans and budget. They even got recent acquisition Jim Thome to lobby Konerko to return to Chicago.
A source told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the White Sox had jumped back into active negotiations with Konerko. And according to another source who has been in frequent contact with the White Sox, the team was simply laying back to let someone else establish Konerko's market value -- with the understanding that if Chicago matched the years and came reasonably close on the dollars, Konerko still preferred to sign with the White Sox.
Thome already has started to try actively recruiting Konerko to return to the White Sox.
"I put a call into him this weekend," Thome said Monday. "We have not talked. I've known Paulie for a long time. ... I just wanted him to know from my end. We'll connect I'm sure. He probably has a lot going on and vice versa."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.