MLB Trade Rumors: Konerko to California Again?

Tab BamfordSenior Writer INovember 26, 2008

As the Hot Stove continues keeping fans interested and writers employed, the latest of the big name free agent rumors comes from Los Angeles. Or is it Anaheim.'s from the Angels.

Apparently the Angels have moved their attention to starting pitcher CC Sabathia, hoping to sign the hefty lefty to a multi-year deal while hedging the price for first baseman Mark Teixiera will fall between now and his Erin Andrews-broken Christmas Deadline.

With the crop of big bats in free agency being thin this year, and with those that are available being generally older and limited defensively, one would think the pricetag for Teixiera would potentially climb. He's young, plays very good defense, and can hit with anyone in baseball. His hometown team(s), the Orioles and Nationals, appear prepared to make him an offer to become the face of their franchises.

So, if the Angels plan backfires and they get Sabathia but no bat to play first, where does that leave the happy-to-spend leaders of the AL West?

Almost like clockwork, each of the past three or four years the Bulls and Blackhawks leave on their Circus Trip and the rumors of a Paul Konerko-to-Anaheim/Los Angeles trade arrive around Thanksgiving. This year's free agent class, coupled with Sox General Manager Kenny Williams' open desire for a faster, younger team, may provide the perfect storm for a deal to finally be consummated.

The player Williams has allegedly lusted for the past few years has been the versatile Chone Figgins. Looking at the Sox potential lineup, there are a number of places he could fit in right away. Third base is vacant, second base could use some help, and center field is a grab bag. While there are youngsters the Sox could potentially put into each of these slots, Figgins could lead off every day and play any of the three.

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The deal couldn't be a one-for-one straight up exchange. Konerko's contract is too expensive, especially if the Angels add $20 million for Sabathia. Paulie's also is a 10-5 player, meaning he can veto anything. What the Sox would receive back from Anaheim is what could become interesting about this rumor.

The Sox are openly trying to get rid of Javier Vazquez. If he goes, the Sox would need another starting pitcher. While kids like Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda might be ready, there's still the uncertainty surrounding the health and ability of Jose Contreras. A rotation with John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle has a solid foundation. But the key to a good five man rotation is, you guessed it, FIVE men.

The Angels would, in theory, have the opposite problem. Adding Sabathia to a stable that already includes John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver and others would give the Halos a formidable rotation. There would be potential for a younger pitcher, perhaps from the Angels' system, to be involved in a deal for Konerko. The other possibility would be Weaver, who has underachieved and has a nice salary from his rookie contract signing bonus, could be included in the deal to purge payroll to make room for Konerko.

Who knows what's going on in between the ears of Kenny Williams. Maybe this year there might be some substance to the rumors of Konerko heading west.