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:
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…
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.