A few days ago, we looked at potential players to help the Pirates’ right field situation. Another area where they could upgrade would be first base, moving Garrett Jones to RF and keeping Gaby Sanchez as a bat off the bench.

Here’s a name to throw into the 1B discussion, via Jim Bowden:

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Konerko brings leadership and experience, which is good for any contending team. The White Sox could go into full fire sale mode, so Konerko may be available.

Yes, he’s a six-time All-Star, but it’s 2013 and he’s 37 years old. His offense has been on the decline over the past few years…

Batting average:

Paul Konerko Batting Average

On-base percentage:

Paul Konerko On Base Percentage

Slugging percentage:

Paul Konerko Slugging Percentage

Most concerning would be his slugging, which the Pirates’ lineup would likely be most interested in. He has just 7 homers, 9 doubles, and a weak .692 OPS this year.

Sabermetrically-speaking, Konerko hasn’t been valuable at all in 2013, posting a -0.9 WAR. He loses a lot of value on defense and sees time as the designated hitter for the White Sox. Although it may be an offensive upgrade, putting him at first and the not-so fleet of foot Garrett Jones in right would be a defensive downgrade.

Another concern as he (and any veteran) gets older would be his health. Konerko has suffered with two injuries in June: neck stiffness earlier in the month and back soreness a few days ago. He dealt with seven injuries during the 2012 campaign.

Finally, his contract status: $13.5 million this season, free agent in 2014 = rental player.

He’s a big name and has a solid track record, but he’s not the player he used to be. Unless Konerko really heats up at the plate over the next few weeks and shows he’s still a feared slugger, he wouldn’t be of much value to the Pirates.

UPDATE: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Paul Konerko is not available. The White Sox are “open for business,” but Chris Sale and Konerko are off limits.

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  1. wvkeeper on June 27, 2013

    When I first read this I thought it said Konerko was “87”. I just assumed that was correct. Didn’t this guy play on the 1919 Black Sox team?

  2. John Fedora on June 27, 2013

    I agree with you assessment, if they were to target anyone in Chicago it should be Alex Rios.

    • From Forbes to Federal on June 27, 2013

      Agree with that – wrote a little bit about Rios in the right field targets post. He’d be a nice addition, just wonder if the Pirates would take on his $12.5 million salary in 2014.

      • John Fedora on June 27, 2013

        It would probably cost more in prospects to get Chicago to eat some salary.

        • From Forbes to Federal on June 27, 2013

          Yep. Farm system is pretty deep now, would be interesting to see how big of a dent a trade like that would make.

          • John Fedora on June 27, 2013

            I would not be opposed to making a play for Giancarlo Stanton. But they would have to make an effort to sign him long term. A Marte, Mccutchen and Stanton outfield might be more valuable than a Taillon and Cole rotation in a few years.

          • Blake M on June 27, 2013

            You would have to give up some big names for Stanton… Taillon, polanco/hanson (or both), and then Watson or Wilson or Jones or Snider

          • John Fedora on June 27, 2013

            From what I have seen it would require Sanchez, Taillon and maybe two to three mid level prospects. But I think they could afford to deal pitching. And I do not think Snider would be needed with Stanton coming in and maybe some day Tabata will get healthy.

          • From Forbes to Federal on June 27, 2013

            Stanton would definitely cost a lot. A new report today suggests he’s unlikely to be traded: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/06/marlins-unlikely-to-trade-giancarlo-stanton.html But a lot could change in the next few weeks.

          • Blake M on June 27, 2013

            They will want two top prospects atleast.

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