I was floating around the Internet over the weekend, and I came across an interesting rumor. According to ESPNChicago.com’s Bruce Levine, the Arizona Diamondbacks will pursue free agent 1B Paul Konerko this offseason.

Now, of course this is what it is—a rumor. And rumors usually don’t lead to much, but if this is correct, and there is no reason to doubt Levine’s sources, I just have one question to the Diamondbacks.



Yes, I understand that Konerko is from Scottsdale, AZ. Yes, I understand Konerko still has a home in Scottsdale, AZ. And yes, I also understand that Konerko is coming off an MVP caliber season in which he hit .312/.393/.584 with 39 HR.

However, I don’t understand how Konerko would fit into the Diamondbacks immediate future. Konerko will be 35 in March, and the Diamondbacks don’t figure to challenge for a playoff spot for at least two or three years. The Diamondbacks have lost 189 games over the last two years, and things don’t figure to turn around quickly in the Valley of the Sun.

What’s the point of signing Konerko to a three or four-year deal when by the time the Diamondbacks turn into contenders, Konerko will be on his last legs. Plus, is Konerko that much of an improvement over current first baseman Adam LaRoche?

If both play to their 2010 stats, Konerko is about a two win improvement over LaRoche. Plus, I am 100 percent confident in saying Konerko won’t come anywhere close to repeating his 2010 season in 2011. I will venture to say he resembles more of his 2008 and 2009 seasons in which he averaged .260/.349/.466 with 25 HR.

Is that two win improvement worth not picking up the $7.5 million mutual option on LaRoche, investing $20–$30 million on a guy who is at the end of his career and retarding the progress of Brandon Allen? I don’t think it is.

The reason I say between $20–$30 million is because I can’t see Konerko signing anything less than a three-year deal. Maybe he signs a two-year deal with an option for a third, but three seems to be a likely scenario.

Also, do the Diamondbacks not believe Allen is the answer at first? Allen will be 25 at the start of spring training next year, and at some point the kids are going to need to be on their own.

The Diamondbacks are a young team, and they need to find out if Allen can play sooner rather than later. Another year at Triple A doesn’t help the Diamondbacks find that out.

So take this for what it’s worth, a rumor. But in my opinion, I think the Diamondbacks have two options: Either re-sign LaRoche, or let LaRoche go and see what Allen can do.

Option three doesn’t involve Konerko. They should let him re-sign with the Chicago White Sox, which is where I think he will be playing ball in 2011.

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