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  1. I’m not sure I follow this:

    “At $12.5 million per year, the White Sox are paying for about a +2.5 win player…if Konerko hits more like 2009 than 2010 going forward, this contract could be a real problem, real fast.”

    Given that he was worth exactly 2.5 WAR in 2009, I don’t think the contract would be a problem if he continued to hit at that level. Given the length of contracts and dollars being thrown around so far this season, this deal looks pretty good by comparison.

    Comment by Nadingo — December 8, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  2. “Given that he was worth exactly 2.5 WAR in 2009,”

    I think the idea is that, given his age, if he is a 2.5 WAR player in 2011, hes probably going to be terrible in 2013.

    Comment by Rich — December 8, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  3. For what it’s worth, his contract will pay out:

    2011: 12 mil
    2012: 12 mil
    2013: 6.5 mil
    2014 – 2020: 1 mil deferred each year

    Comment by rmlumley — December 8, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  4. isn’t there deferred money in the 2013 year? I read $6.5MM with the rest deferred in $1MM payments (so essentially 6.5MM, since those $1MM payments are nothing to a MLB team). He doesn’t even have to be all that good in the 2013 season to be worth it. Further, if he puts up anything better than 5 wins in the first 2 years, which would actually be a pretty big regression from his 2010 (which, I give in, is an outlier) the third year is essentially a freeroll.

    Comment by grady — December 8, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  5. In 2009, he reached 2.5 WAR partly because of a positive UZR, which is probably better than his true talent level.

    Comment by guest — December 8, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  6. A few points.

    Konerko took less money from the White Sox than the Angels offered after 2005. maybe this is a way of rewarding that a little.

    2008 he was hurt and played through it, but a thumb injury clearly affected his performance. he doesn’t really ahev an injury history, so maybe that subpar season can be considered a little of an outlier.

    The fact that he’s only making 6.5 million in 2013 with 1 million/year deferred from 2014 – 2020 makes this a contract that could be moved at the deadline to a team in contention and in need of a right handed power hitter for a few months. So one way of looking at it is about market rate for two years, then cheap in the third. Kind of ideal for a player at his age.

    As a White Sox fan, I’m happy he’s back but it might have been interesting to offer this kind of money to Beltre and then see if Viciedo could play first or if you could get LaRoche or Lee at a reasonable price for a year or two while Viciedo shows if he can play first at AAA. Although I’m not sure that kind of money was available for anyone other than Konerko in their eyes.

    Comment by MikeS — December 8, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  7. Even a fairly aggressive discount rate of 10% makes those future $1m payments worth $4.36m in the last year of his contract… It’s certainly isn’t “nothing”. Using 10%, he’s really getting paid about $10.86m in the last year.

    Comment by Dave — December 8, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  8. Last year’s was below his true talent level, by that logic.

    Comment by Daniel B — December 8, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  9. That being 2010. And I mean way below, almost as much as his offense was better than usual.

    Comment by Daniel B — December 8, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  10. Yes but if you believe those who think that hyper-inflation is just around the corner, this will look like even a better deal for the White Sox.

    Comment by Otter — December 8, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  11. Assuming Konerko is a 2.5 WAR player, with accelerating aging (-0.7 WAR per year), we’d have to factor in the 8% inflation ( whatever it is).

    TT and FG have been doing this with every contract that’s been made so far this year. Shouldn’t it be standard practice?

    2011: 2.5 WAR
    2012: 1.8 WAR
    2013: 1.1 WAR

    We’d need to look whether the aging curve is less due to 1B. But regardless, even with a 0.5 per year again curve, if Konerko is a 2.4 WAR player, the deal is an overpay.

    They key, then, is to prove he’s currently a 2.5 WAR player. Because looking at his history, and his history seems to follow the same pattern, assume he’s finished, assume he’s finished, big season, repeat.

    The team has seemingly been waiting for Paul to get to a point where they can part with him, but I guess after a 4-WAR season when the rest of the team, save Rios, was horrible at the plate, now wasn’t the time.

    IMO, this could’ve been the time. Too many DH/1B types of the team as it is.

    I don;t see many possibilities as to how KO can earn the money of the contract.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 8, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  12. konerko and dunn make for a pretty scary 1,2 punch!

    Comment by phoenix2042 — December 8, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  13. On that note… the Sox spent $26 million (in 2011) on Dunn and Konerko. Would they have been better off spending that on Crawford and D-Lee? What they lose in power they probably gain in D and runs scored.

    Comment by Otter — December 8, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  14. Saying that the rest of the 2010 White Sox were ‘horrible’ at the plate save for Rios is incorrect. Ramirez split the difference between his ’08 and ’09 output, Pierre was average (which no one really expected amoung White Sox fans) and Quentin, though really ugly to watch, was passable. The black holes were at third and DH, one of which they got a massive upgrade for in ’11 and the other of which will be…well, who knows. Morel is there for his glove, not bat. Beckham can’t be any worse than he was (and he was improving before he his hand). ‘Horrible’ isn’t fair.

    Comment by 2nd Half Adjustments — December 8, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  15. Dunn and Konerko got a lot fewer years on their deals than Crawford. That can’t be ignored. That being said, as a fan I would have preferred it.

    Comment by Greg — December 8, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  16. Not to be pedantic, but I have to disagree with the serverity of the statement “If Konerko hits more like 2009 than 2010 going forward, this contract could be a real problem, real fast.”

    He was still a 2.5 WAR player in 2009 and the deal is only $12/year. Even if he only averages 2 WAR/year, they are only overpaying by about $3/year. That is hardly a real problem. It’s the equivalent of signing a middle reliever then losing him for the season.

    Comment by Greg — December 8, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  17. I agree with the prognosis, but as a fan rather than as an analyst I like the contract. I don’t think I can say that he is to the ChiSox what Jeter is to the Yanks, but there’s some of that value there. When all is said and done it’ll be great to see him hang it up on the south side.

    Comment by Baltimore Joe — December 8, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  18. Or not as bad as carrying a healthy Scott Linebrink on the roster.

    Comment by MikeS — December 8, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  19. In other news, teams often “overpay” veteran players that have been a part of the organization for a long time. Its just a reality in baseball…one that will likely never change. They also underpay them when they’re young and under team control.

    Comment by NEPP — December 8, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  20. Those same people have been projecting hyperinflation since QE1. I wouldn’t expect anything but a modest rate of inflation for the foreseeable future, even in 2013.

    Comment by Chris K — December 8, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  21. if you believe those who think that hyper-inflation is just around the corner

    You shouldn’t believe them, though. We’re a lot closer to deflation in the general economy.

    Comment by matt w — December 8, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  22. Agreed, the tone of this article is a overly pessimistic. While I really hate to sound like the subject of an FJM article, there is something “intangible” about Paulie being in Chicago the way that Mauer is a Twinkie, Jeter is a Yankee, &c. Given that every game isn’t a sellout in Comiskey, I have to imagine they’d’ve lost some money in ticket sales had they not done this deal. Sox fans love them some Paulie.

    Also, his glove was substantially worse than his career average this past year, to an extent that can’t be attributed solely to aging. Sure his BABIP was over his head, but his glove should bounce back to (maybe a little less than) league average. It was noted above that Paulie’s had some unexpected “bounce back” seasons, and I don’t see why we should expect him to repeat the worst fielding season of his career the very next year.

    The dumb move was failing to move Quentin to DH and going after Dunn instead of a 3B/OF pair. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll love seeing Dunn with the Sox, but Kenny has had a habit of fixing problems to which we already have the answer. At least this K at least has the potential to pay dividends if Konerko splits the difference between his ’09 and ’10 seasons, unlike the Teahen/Linebrink/Kotsay boondoggles.

    Comment by Chris K — December 8, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  23. Not fair, but chalk it up to the “you know what I mean” thing. So many positions underperformed while KO was okay and Rios was really good.

    In regards to Aramis, we’re all probably too high on his “true talent”. We look at what he “could do” instead of what he most realistically “will do” … and by we, I generally mean ChiSox fans”.

    To me, if defensive metrics are remotely accurate, TCQ in RF is not passable, he’s a detriment, and a poor allocation of money. As a DH, he’s pretty good.

    Simply put, the Sox keep looking for reasons to part with KO (or should be) but then he’ll be one of the more productive hitters on a weak offensive team, and they keep him. That’s the overlying point, without going through the lineup player by player and assessing their contributions.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 8, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  24. Oh, it’s certainly a different story if Paulie isn’t a key member of the 05 Team.

    I think you can say the same thing about Howard and the 2 WS teams in Philly.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 8, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  25. I don’t understand this contract at all.

    KW overpaid in years and money.

    It’s not like Konerko is a UZR wizard at 1st, either.

    At what point are the WhiteSox going to rebuild and go with youth?

    Comment by DIVISION — December 8, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  26. As a Sox fan, I am happy that Paulie is back for 2011. I fully understand that there is a huge amount of risk with this contract. A player having a career year at the age of 34, one who is a power hitting corner-infielder raises a redflag(if we’re talking baseball not during 1998-2005). I certainly think in 2011 Konerko is capable of having a solid season, certainly not to the level of 2010. Starting in 2012 it definitely could get ugly. Did they overpay…yes. I said half way through the season and seeing how Paulie was mashing they were going to overpay based on the solid season despite the risky variables listed above. With all that said, 2011 all hands on deck, beat Minnesota and make a run to the World Series.

    With Konerko and Dunn in the middle of the order, Carlos Quentin is now more expendable than ever before. At this juncture, it is time to move him, Tyler Flowers (who they clearly don’t believe in anymore since A.J. is back), and maybe Viciedo (since he can’t play 3b and the 1b and DH slots are filled for the next 3 years). Find some GM out there who is willing to part with a defensive oriented RF or a CF then you can shift Rios back to RF. With Dunn and Quentin, you only have room for 1 defensive deficient player on the roster and the choice is clear (in the form of a 4 year $56 million contract).

    Comment by Sox2727 — December 8, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  27. Who the hell is Aramis?

    Comment by U-G — December 8, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  28. Let’s hope Paulie pulls a Crime Dog and is productive for another 3-4 years. I think he will.

    In fact, the fact that Paulie just had a “peak year” at 34 makes me much more comfortable with this contract. To me, it suggests that there is more to his performances than just physical tools and luck, such as “experience” and his ability to stay healthy. So, personally, I think Konerko’s performance hill may have a more gentile downward slope than other power hitters.

    And in general, I am skeptical of using generalized age curves to project performance. I think the studies that are done have caveats. These studies are very sensitive to the sample of players used to create the age curves, assumptions about how much variation there is any particular skill among players, and are limited by the ability to recognize the underlying skills that enable players to have above-average success. (Witness the crap shoot of even highly regarded prospects).

    Thus, projecting future stats of a particular player from these curves in a dubious exercise. Can this system tell me why Fred McGrif aged so well and Dick Allen didn’t? Nope. Likewise, can it tell me what Lance Berkman will do in the next 3 years? Nope.

    Comment by mike — December 8, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  29. …assumptions about how much variation there is with any particular skill among players…

    Comment by mike — December 8, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  30. As a Phillies fan, I really wish we were only overpaying him the small amount that Konerko is getting over his actual “value”.

    I dont think this Konerko deal is all that onerous to be honest…a minor overpayment but not crippling by any means.

    Comment by NEPP — December 8, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  31. I like the Dunn signing because he wont be “the guy” on the South Side. He’s never been a huge run producer (he’s always been just as happy to take the walk and keep the inning going) and he wont have to be in this lineup…Konerko can be the big bat while Dunn uses his great OBP to the team’s advantage.

    Granted, 1B defense will be an issue as a result. Fortunately, defense at 1B isn’t a major issue. Though, getting Quentin out of the OF would have helped as he’s not exactly a slick fielder either.

    Comment by NEPP — December 8, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  32. By that logic, couldn’t you say he’s being paid like $33m in 2011? I mean, just carrying your argument to the next step. Not looking to be a bother, but I think the original comment assumes management is matching the liability to the cash flow. JR doesn’t need to come up with $11m in 2013… he needs to pull $1m a year from ticket sales.

    Comment by Tim — December 8, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  33. If Konerko reverts back to the guy he was from 07-09, how bad a deal is it? That would be a guy who gives you 25-30 HRs, 80-90 RBI with a slash line of .260 AVG/.350 OBP/.824 OPS. I mean, yeah that’s not great for a 1B who is around solely for his bat but its not terrible considering the situation. $13 million isn’t gonna hamstring them too much. Its not a Howard type deal or a Mo Vaughn/Albert Belle situation.

    Comment by NEPP — December 8, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  34. Will Konerko somehow reach 500 HR during this deal by any stretch of the imagination? If he did would he be the worst player to reach 500 HR? If it’s 12/12/6.5/1/1/1/1/1/1/1 with those seven one mil deals being team options. If Konerko gets to say, 440 by the end of the deal, do you think Chicago exercises the options until he reaches 500?

    Comment by Anthony — December 8, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  35. If he’s a butcher at 1B like he was last year and he hits like 2009, it will get ugly real fast. Looking at his career UZR numbers -5 seems like a reasonable projection, and he’s going to need to hit to provide any value

    Comment by Cheese Whiz — December 8, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  36. Alexei.

    Sorry, I have been absolutely terrible with names lately. Embarassingly terrible.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 8, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  37. and he’s going to need to hit to provide any value

    Doesn’t that go without saying, since we’re talking about 1st basemen. *grin*

    I can’t even imagine how bad a 1B has to be to rack up -20 fielding runs or some sort. In order to do that you’d have to be an absolute butcher AND have a really good 2B that basically catches all the foul pop ups and anything to the 1B’s right (killing the 1B’s UZR).

    Unlikely, IMO.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 8, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

  38. Those aren’t 7 one-million dollar contract options, my friend. The contract is for 3 years and that is all.

    $12 million in 2011.
    $12 million in 2012.
    $6.5 million in 2013.

    The rest of the money is paid out in $1 million installments through 2020, but he’s not under contract for those years.

    Comment by Dennis — December 8, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  39. Where are these teams finding this crazy money that they are throwing at free agents? The economy is down and attendance, for the most part, is down. Yes, the TV contracts and licensing deals are still strong, but I’m astonished by the fact that nearly every free agent is exceeding the deal that we thought he’d get.

    The Jayson Werth contract was the most astounding. That type of money for someone who, at the age of 32, has had basically like 1.5 really, really good seasons?


    I can’t believe that some of these teams are contemplating a 7 year deal for Cliff Lee, a guy who has had major back issues. No insurer will touch that deal, and if he can’t pitch, the team has to be willing and able to cover the entire loss itself. Only the Yankees can withstand the type of hit and still remain competitive.

    Comment by Yuni Betancourt — December 8, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  40. He’d have to play 5 more years averaging 27 homeruns. Doable but I think he plays 4 more and averages 23-25.

    Konerko is good, but he’s not the machine that Thomas, Thome, Delgado, or Bagwell were in their primes. I wouldn’t expect the same level of output as these guys had as they declined.

    Comment by mike — December 8, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

  41. I really don’t understand why Fangraphs authors continuously use a skewed graph when displaying stats especially wOBA. Is it really necessary to have the maximum of .550 and a minimum of .150? A .020 change in wOBA is a big deal, and it would be nice if we could actually see that in the graph. Unless we are dealing with one of the top ten baseball hitters of all time its really unecessary to go above .450. And if we are dealing with someone whose wOBA is below .200 its either an insane outlier, extremely small sample, or someone that should not have a fangraphs article written about them. Please at least make the parameters from .200-.500 so we can see some change.
    This bugs me immensely.

    Comment by Chris — December 9, 2010 @ 12:22 am

  42. I don’t understand how Paulie’s UZR was so low while Pierre and Quentin have higher than expected UZR ratings. Some one talked about Paulie being a butcher at first base which is completely untrue, his ability to dig balls out the dirt with a first time second baseman, a weak armed 3rd baseman, or with Alexi throwing shallow left is absolutely amazing. He’s one of the best I have ever seen and I know Hawk over does it a bit on Paulie’s defense, but any base hit to left was almost an automatic double with Pierre’s weak arm and Quentin is an absolutely butcher of an outfielder, taking improper angles and rarely making catches on routine foul balls to right. Comparatively speaking the 285 doubles given up compared to the 136 HRs given up while playing half their games in the Cell, the White Sox batted 263 Doubles with 177 HRs as one of the fastest and most aggressive base running teams in the Al.

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — December 9, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  43. Correction: JR overpaid. KW didn’t want to meet Paulie’s demands. Evidently.

    Comment by Newcomer — December 9, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  44. And it’s June 21 2011, Konerko has just homered in his fifth straight game, has 21 homeruns and is hitting .333. He’s been an absolute beast.

    Comment by briley — June 21, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

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