Remember this picture White Sox fans? It's the reason Paul Konerko is a White Sox legend. At the end of arguably his greatest professional season, Konerko is now a free agent.
The White Sox just also just met with Adam Dunn's agent. Is Dunn a potential replacement for Konerko in Chicago? If so, would it be a smart move for the White Sox?
Here are the pros and cons of the White Sox replacing Paul Konerko with Adam Dunn.
Paul Konerko will be 35 when the 2011 season starts, and Adam Dunn will be 31. We all know this isn't a pleasant age for veterans in baseball. And, Adam Dunn is still (barely) in the prime of his career. So signing Dunn to replace Konerko would give the White Sox consistency over the next few years.
Konerko is a White Sox legend, the face of the franchise, and filled the void when Frank Thomas split. Most of the White Sox players have said that Konerko is emotional and on-field leader of the team, and that's why he's the captain. This isn't to say Dunn could do the same thing, but it would be hard to fill Konerko's shoes.
There are talks of serious negotiations between Dunn and the Tigers. The Tigers have been a competitive division rival for years now. Imagine having to face Miguel Cabrera and Adam Dunn in a row, that would be a pitcher's nightmare. Signing Dunn would be beneficial as to ensure the Tigers don't get him.
Adam Dunn is already 28th all-time in strikeouts. He came in second in the National League in strikeouts last year, with 199. His strikeouts would be problematic for a team that already has tons of problems with runners in scoring position.
Let's be realistic fellow Sox fans: Konerko isn't going to hit 39 home runs again. He was in a contract year and he only hit 28 and 22 in the previous years. Dunn has been a consistent home run machine, hitting at least 38 a year since 2004. The White Sox offense is dependent on home runs. Dunn can only do more damage in US Cellular Field.
Yes, Paul Konerko will be costly to keep, but Adam Dunn will be even more expensive. Any amount of money the White Sox can save will be beneficial, especially given the needs for a closer and designated hitter. If the White Sox can keep Konerko at $12 million a year, that would still be cheaper than the "starting point" of $13.33 million a year for Dunn.
Last year was an anomaly for both Konerko and Dunn. Konerko had the highest OBP of his career (.393) and Dunn had the second lowest of his career (.356). Dunn has a career .381 OBP whereas Konerko's is .356. So it's really a tossup.
Neither Konerko nor Dunn is a great defender. Konerko is below average (yes, I do realize he occasionally makes great plays, but his range and quickness are both limited) as is Dunn. The preferable option would be to have one of them be a DH.
Konerko is the leader of the White Sox. Losing him would be devastating, and the addition of Adam Dunn wouldn't offset the loss. Dunn would be more expensive and likely strike out in clutch situations, where Konerko has come up huge.
In a fantasy world, the White Sox would sign both, putting Konerko at DH, where he gets extra rest and is an effective better. Too bad it's utopian.
The White Sox should try to keep Paul Konerko. Don't let him go to the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Rays, Rangers, or whoever is interested in him. He's a valuable asset.