Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

'The King' is back on the South Side - Konerko signs three-year deal

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t1_kon_si.jpgLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - On the beach in Mexico last week, looking out on the ocean, there was very little that could go wrong in Paul Konerko's world at that moment.
Until a "Big Donkey'' kick knocked the wind out of him in the form of a text.
"Someone sends me a text and says they just signed Adam Dunn [nicknamed Big Donkey] to the deal that he signed to, and my first thought was, 'OK, that was a fun 12 years,' '' Konerko explained on Wednesday. "That's it. It was an either him or me situation.' ''
Then Konerko recalled a conversation he and White Sox general manager Ken Williams had.
"I remembered Kenny telling me at the end of the year, 'Listen, if we go after this next year, we want to win it, I don't want you or Adam, I want both of you,' '' Konerko said.
And both they got.
The club announced that they agreed to terms with their team captain, keeping Konerko on the South Side for three years, $37.5 million. Under the terms of the deal the 34-year-old first baseman will earn $12 million in 2011 and '12, and $13.5 million in 2013. Of the $13.5 million due in that final year, he will receive $6.5 million that season, and then $1 million annually from 2014-2020.
"It was my goal at the end of the last contract [after the 2005 season] to come back when my last contract expired, that would give me 10 years-plus with one team and I thought that was really cool--not to mention a chance to win while you're doing it,'' Konerko explained. "Now to sit there and say it's going to be 15, that's a nice round number, that's intriguing as well. I was prepared, and had options to do other things. You've got to take all the steps necessary if it goes to the free agent process, and I think I did a pretty good job of that.''
As did the Sox.
In signing Dunn and then A.J. Pierzynski last week, they came into the Winter Meetings with one more big-ticket item on the agenda - the player nicknamed "The King.''
As of Tuesday afternoon, things looked bad when Williams declared an impasse and the fact that the Sox were moving on, but the Sun-Times reported late Tuesday night that board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf wanted it done, and what Jerry wants, Jerry gets.
It got done.
"We were very, very close to going a different direction,'' Williams said. "And I'm sure they were, as well.
So for it to come together at the end, which a lot of times this is how things get done, is a bit of good fortune on both parts I think, because I think he would have looked awfully funny in another uniform at this point.''
No one will have to worry about that for the time being.
It didn't hurt that both Dunn and Pierzynski deferred money to get Konerko back in the mix, as well as Konerko's relationship with Reinsdorf.
"As far as me coming back and playing for the team he runs, that affects it greatly because I respect the man and he's treated me nothing but good the whole way through,'' Konerko said of the chairman. "Jerry is a very loyal guy and honestly over the years there would be 20 guys he would keep if it all worked out right. I know it kills him when he has to let someone go that he likes because it's the right move, and I just didn't know ... it could have been one of these situations where it's just the end of the road, it could have been the end of the road. I was prepared for that, and I was fine with that. I said it during the season at the end, 12 years in one place, not many people get that, so if it all comes to an end I was OK with that. So I didn't put as much pressure on coming back as maybe I did the last time [2006] because I felt pretty good about what I accomplished there. It was one big package over the years and if I moved on it would have been fine. I would have felt emptier if I would have left after the last contract. But now that I get to come back I look at the positives of that - now 15 years and on a pretty good team by the way.''
So what is left for the Sox? Well, salary-wise they are all but tapped out. Williams acknowledged that. But the bullpen needs some help, so Williams will have to reach up the sleeve.
"Well, next on the agenda is figuring out a way to pay for all of this,'' Williams said with a chuckle. "We certainly ramped it up here recently and have been very aggressive. And I think at this point, I've stated before, I feel comfortable, confident in the every day lineup and the defense that we are going to put out there, as well as the starting rotation, and the back four guys in the bullpen. But I think we've got to augment that, just a bit to make ourselves as strong as possible and contend for the division.
"So we've got some work cut out for us and we certainly I think are at a point where we have got to get a little creative, because we are about tapped out right now. So we need to either get creative or we need to get a flood at the ticket counter pretty quickly.''

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2 Comments

Big Donkey & The King? That's either the name of a new funk band or a porno. Either way it's going to be fun at the Cell next year.

Dunn & AJ didn't defer money they backloaded their contracts.
BIG difference. PK deferred money.

Try and keep up, Cowley.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on December 8, 2010 1:14 PM.

The Chairman is now in on the Konerko talks in the 11th hour was the previous entry in this blog.

Jesse Crain talks Sox, Twins and 'Morpheus' Williams nabbing him is the next entry in this blog.

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