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By giving White Sox the chance to match any offer is Paul Konerko limiting free agent interest?

Nov 10, 2010, 1:47 PM EST

konerko waves goodbye

Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com reported yesterday that Paul Konerko’s “tight bond” with team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf “figures to afford the White Sox one last chance at matching any deal Konerko might have on the table from another team.”

While that’s a unique situation in baseball it’s somewhat similar to “restricted” free agency in the NBA and NFL where teams can match any “offer sheet” signed by a player. Padilla notes that it could upset the White Sox’s fan base if they’re given the opportunity to match any offer and still decide to let Konerko leave, but a bigger question is whether the situation could limit Konerko’s market as a free agent.

Will teams be as enthusiastic about pursuing and courting Konerko if they know any offer they make will simply be taken back to the White Sox? And if Chicago’s offer-matching ability does depress Konerko’s market in any way, then wouldn’t it make sense that the White Sox were behind the information getting to Padilla in the first place?

In other words, is it in the White Sox’s best interests to let the other 29 teams know that they have the final say on any offer to Konerko? Not quite a stay-off-my-turf pronouncement, certainly, but assuming the White Sox are truly interested in re-signing Konerko–and they’ve given every indication that’s true–then it’s clearly better for them the fewer teams are seriously pursuing the 35-year-old first baseman.

Konerko giving the White Sox the chance to match all offers is a very nice gesture from a player who has spent a dozen years in Chicago, but when it comes time to actually negotiate those offers I just wonder if he should be happy the good will towards Reinsdorf and company is now public knowledge.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 10, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I don’t see why Konerko should even be bothered by this. He wants the Sox to match any offer, and if they do, great. If they don’t, fans will be bothered but life will go on.

    Will other teams be feeling hopeless if they want to sign him? No, because perhaps they can offer something the Sox can’t, or something, but Konerko will only leave if the Sox don’t match an offer, and other teams will just have to respect that.

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