Paul Konerko, White Sox agree to 1-year deal

Brian Kersey

Konerko will return to the White Sox for the 16th, and perhaps final, season.

Long-time Chicago White Sox first baseman is staying with the team a little longer after agreeing to a one-year deal Wednesday, reports Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

Konerko, 37, will earn $2.5 million for the year, though a portion of that will be deferred to a later time. Konerko is also receiving $1 million annually from 2014 through 2020 due to deferments in his previous contract.

The White Sox had been saying for most of the offseason that there was a spot on the team for Konerko if he chose to return. However, Konerko had said that he was "not sure how to feel" about coming back to the team after they signed Cuban slugger Jose Abreu to a $68 million deal to take over at first base.

With Abreu at first, Konerko's role on the team in 2014 is unclear. He could see some time at designated hitter, where he played 50 games in 2013. Adam Dunn figures to see most of the playing time at that position, however. Instead, Konerko figures to take on more of a bench role while mentoring Abreu and getting the occasional start. Konerko is also good to have on the roster in case Abreu struggles in his first taste of the MLB.

With three players on the roster who can only play at first base or designated hitter, the White Sox' roster flexibility is limited. Players who can play multiple positions will likely have a leg up on winning one of the other bench spots in Chicago this spring as the team looks for players who can backup several spots. The club could also choose to carry an extra bench bat as opposed to a relief pitcher.

Konerko has been a member of the White Sox since 1999, playing 15 of his 17 seasons in Chicago. He made the AL All Star team for three straight years from 2010-12, but showed his age in 2013 as he hit just .244/.313/.355 with 12 home runs. Over his career, he has an 847 OPS and has hit 434 homers.

Given the fact that Konerko considered retirement before signing this new deal, it could be assumed that 2014 may be his last season in the MLB. The White Sox are expected to officially announce the signing later Wednesday.

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