Baseball Winter Meetings: Cubs Sign Carlos Pena, White Sox Have Deal With Paul Konerko

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Baseball Winter Meetings: Cubs Rumored To Be After Matt Garza

Via Bruce Levine at ESPN Chicago, the Cubs have made inquiries about Tampa Bay Rays righthander Matt Garza, who is arbitration eligible.

Garza made $3.5 million last year and would likely be up for a raise to about double that amount in arbitration. Still, that would make him affordable to the Cubs if they could move some of Kosuke Fukudome’s salary. The Cubs, according to Levine, also discussed the possibility of dealing lefty Tom Gorzelanny to the Tigers, possibly for Armando Galarraga. If that deal didn’t happen, Gorzelanny could perhaps be included in a Garza deal along with other prospects.

Garza threw a no-hitter last year for the Rays and Galarraga, of course, had the famous “imperfect game” that was ruined by a bad call from umpire Jim Joyce.

If Garza is acquired he’d be reunited with his Tampa teammate Carlos Pena, who the Cubs just signed. According to a tweet from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer, some of Pena’s $10 million contract is being deferred.

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Baseball Winter Meetings: White Sox Ink Paul Konerko To Three-Year Deal

Via tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

#mlb #whitesox The Chicago White Sox have reached a preliminary agreement with 1B Paul Konerko on a 3-year contract. Details at USATODAY.comless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

 

No details are available yet, but it had been reported yesterday that Konerko was seeking $15 million per year. That’s pricey for the White Sox, who now may not be able to add any veteran bullpen help, but the cost of losing one of their biggest run producers, a great clubhouse guy and a fan favorite probably won over Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf.

Konerko had the best year of his career in 2010, hitting .312/.393/.584 with 39 HR and 111 RBI and finishing fifth in MVP voting. With the signing of Adam Dunn, the Sox could have a formidable offensive trio in Dunn, Konerko and Alex Rios.

It's been reported by Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio that the deal is for $37.5 million over the three years, less than the original $15 million per year reported demand. Also tweeted by SI.com's Jon Heyman:

 

Konerko get 3 years $37.5m from white soxless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

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Baseball Winter Meetings: Cubs Reported To Sign Carlos Pena

Late Tuesday night, multiple online reports stated that the Cubs would sign former Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-year contract. No official terms were mentioned, but some reports said it would be for $10 million.

Pena had very good years for the Rays in 2007, 2008 and 2009, hitting 46 HR in 2007 and leading the American League in 2009 with 39 homers. But in 2010 he suffered the effects of plantar fasciitis, a debilitating condition in the foot that can be very painful, and he hit only .196, though still hit 28 home runs and drove in 84 runs while drawing 87 walks. He’s been in the postseason twice with the Rays, in 2008 and 2010.

Pena also has a reputation as a good clubhouse leader, something the Cubs can definitely use, and also as a good defensive first baseman, important with a young shortstop in Starlin Castro.

The signing is not official at this time, but the online reports said “the deal is done” and would likely be announced later on Wednesday.

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Baseball Winter Meetings: Kerry Wood Will Not Be A White Sox

Via Joe Cowley, White Sox beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, we learn via tweet that Kerry Wood will not be going to the White Sox:

Sox-Woods rumors were just blown-up by a source. Sox feel Wood is too expensive even if they don’t get Konerko.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Hey, Joe? It’s “Wood”, not “Woods”. Anyway, that doesn’t leave too many options for the former Cub righthander. He can either stay in New York — a distinct possibility, given, as noted earlier, his good relationship with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, or, if the money is right, re-sign with the Cubs, who let him go two years ago.

Wood’s wife’s family is from the Chicago area and he still has quite a number of ties to the city. It would make sense for that reason, and also from a Cubs standpoint. The Cubs could use another solid setup reliever — if they signed Wood, they could then consider moving Andrew Cashner to the starting rotation and trading Tom Gorzelanny for help elsewhere.

Wood is also known as a team leader and great clubhouse presence, something the Cubs could sorely use.

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Baseball Winter Meetings: Could Kerry Wood Wind Up With The White Sox?

There are rumors around the Winter Meetings today that the White Sox have expressed some interest in free agent reliever Kerry Wood. Wood would actually be a good fit for the Sox as they could use some late inning setup help. It’s expected that Matt Thornton will likely be the Sox closer in 2011, replacing Bobby Jenks, but that leaves Thornton’s setup role unfilled.

Wood might be too expensive for the Sox, especially if they do retain Paul Konerko. Wood is said to be looking for a two-year deal in the $9 million range.

The former Cub would, of course, also be a good fit for the Cubs, who also could use some setup help. That amount of money wouldn’t seem to be too large for a Cubs budget to handle, especially if it were backloaded into 2012, when a lot of big Cub deals come off the books. Wood may also just stay in New York with the Yankees; he and Yankees manager Joe Girardi have a good relationship dating back to their days as Cub teammates.

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Baseball Winter Meetings: White Sox Zero In On Paul Konerko, Cubs May Trade Tom Gorzelanny

Reports from the MLB winter meetings say that the interest that the Diamondbacks had in Paul Konerko may be fading. In fact, Arizona may be targeting former Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee to fill the vacancy left when Adam LaRoche left for free agency. It would be ironic if the Cubs then signed LaRoche — nearly a trade of similar first basemen.

The Cubs, however, appear to now be targeting former Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena. Reports this morning that Cubs payroll may be cut 15-20% might make him unaffordable, though it’s not known how valid those numbers are.

Another report out this morning says the Cubs are “aggressively” shopping Tom Gorzelanny. The lefthanded had a decent year, though he missed time twice after being hit by batted balls. The Cubs would have to get a good return on such a deal to make it worthwhile, given the fact that Gorzelanny is lefthanded and relatively cost-controlled.

We’ll have updates in this StoryStream™ for both the Cubs and White Sox during this week if and when they make any actual moves.

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Baseball Winter Meetings: Cubs, White Sox Still Mulling Moves

On the first day of the MLB winter meetings, taking place in Orlando, Florida, there's been very little action from the Cubs and White Sox.

There are reports that the White Sox are continuing discussions with free agent first baseman Paul Konerko, who has become the face of the franchise in recent years. The Sox may not be able to afford to keep him after signing Adam Dunn, but if they can fit Konerko's salary requirements in after Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski backloaded their deals, the Sox would have a formidable lineup to go along with their excellent starting pitching.

Meanwhile, the Cubs still seek a starting first baseman. There were earlier reports that they had explored a possible trade with the Dodgers for James Loney, but other reports knocked that down, claiming the Dodgers felt it would cost them too much to replace Loney via free agency and they were inclined to keep him. The Cubs (and Nationals) were also connected with rumors surrounding free agent and former Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues in nearly two years with shoulder problems.

The Cubs made news today by announcing they were promoting minor league pitching coordinator Mark Riggins to major league pitching coach, replacing Larry Rothschild, who moved on to the Yankees. Riggins spent many years in the Cardinals organization in the same capacity and had one year as major league pitching coach in 1995.

Stay with this SB Nation Chicago StoryStream™; we'll update it with both White Sox and Cubs moves this week during the winter meetings.

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