CHICAGO (WSCR) – FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports both the White Sox and Cubs could make plays to sign free agent first baseman Paul Konerko.
The White Sox want to bring back Konerko, 34, who is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, having hit .312 with 39 home runs and 111 RBI.
The Cubs could also make a pitch for Konerko, after trading Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves last season.
Rosenthal reports the Orioles, Rangers and Diamondbacks also could make big plays.
The Diamondbacks likely would be an attractive option for Konerko, who has a home in Scottsdale with his wife and two young children.
But he’d likely have to be willing to take a major paycut to play for Arizona. The Diamondbacks declined a $7.5 million option on 31-year-old Adam LaRoche, who had a 25-homer 100-RBI season for the Diamondbacks, viewing the price as too steep.
Meantime, the White Sox also are likely to make a push to resign catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who might be a bigger priority for the Sox, given the large number of first basemen on the market and the dearth of reliable catchers.
Pierzynski, 33, has been one of the league’s most durable catchers during his career and offers the Sox a much-needed left-handed bat. Third baseman Mark Teahan and left fielder Juan Pierre are the only other lefties on the Sox roster.
Backup Tyler Flowers, seen as Pierzynski’s likely replacement at some point, has struggled offensively while improving his defense, so it’s not clear if he’s ready to be an everyday catcher.
The free agent market for catchers consists mainly of former Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez and a bunch of journeymen.
The Sox could offer Pierzynski arbitration to keep him for another year, but teams like the Marlins, Rangers and Mariners could try to sign him to multi-year deals.
Rosenthal also reports that the Sox are looking at free-agent closer Rafael Soriano, which could mean they’re preparing to trade or release Bobby Jenks, who has struggled with injuries and reduced velocity the past couple seasons.