Paul Konerko hoping for return to White Sox in 2014

Brian Kersey

The veteran believes he has another productive season in him. (Just not this one, I guess.)

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is telling friends that he wants to return to Chicago next season and believes that he can still be a productive player, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Konerko, 37, is coming to the end of his latest contract with the White Sox. The veteran slugger re-signed with the club the last two times he hit free agency -- in 2005 and 2010 -- but it's unclear whether Chicago is up for bringing him back a third time.

Konerko has been an outlier on the standard aging curve throughout his 30s -- batting .287/.369/.510 from 2006 to 2012 from ages 30 through 36 -- but the specter of career decline seems to have caught up with him all at once this year. Despite fairly good health, the veteran is hitting just .244/.314/.358 with 10 home runs in 105 games on the season.

Unless he goes on a tear in the final month of this campaign, Konerko will finish 2013 with his worst offensive output since 2003, when the then 27-year-old sandwiched a below-average season in between his normal productiveness. His slow-footedness on the bases and in the field limits his value to just what he does in the batter's box, so when his numbers at the plate dip there's nothing to fall back on.

Konerko has played parts of 17 years in the big leagues, and is a lifetime .281/.357/.492 hitter with 432 home runs and 2,279 hits. He had an outside shot of reaching the 500-homer milestone before he hung up his cleats, but his chances aren't looking so good now, unless that rebound year is truly in his future.

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