AP source: Dunn has $56M, 4-yr deal with White Sox

AP source: Dunn has $56M, 4 yr deal with White Sox Image

Even after adding Dunn, the White Sox are still hoping to re-sign PaulKonerko(notes), who is a free agent after turning down Chicago's arbitration offer.

The 31-year-old Dunn has a career batting average of .250, with 354 homersand 880 RBIs in 10 major league seasons with the Reds, Diamondbacks andNationals. He is also prolific with strikeouts and had 199 last season, butwould potentially put up big offensive numbers in homer-friendly U.S. CellularField.

The Nationals listened to trade offers for Dunn at the July deadline butdecided not to make a deal. Reports say the White Sox were one of those teamsinterested at the time.

Dunn will give the White Sox the power lefty they have been missing sinceJim Thome(notes) was shipped to the Dodgers at the end of the 2009 season. And when theWhite Sox decided not to reacquire Thome in 2010, he signed with the AL Centralrival Twins.

During a conference call Thursday, White Sox general manager Ken Williamsdeclined to directly address Dunn's deal with Chicago, saying questions could beanswered during a news conference Friday at 2 p.m. at the ballpark.

Williams said he definitely hopes to bring Konerko back and have hisright-handed bat in the same lineup with Dunn. they would likely alternate atfirst and DH.

"Not only is there room for it, it would be the ideal fit from ourperspective," Williams said. "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves."

Williams said he's trying to be patient and respect Konerko's right toexplore the free agent market. Konerko finished fifth in the AL MVP ballotinglast season when he batted .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs.

Williams said he presented two scenarios to owner Jerry Reinsdorf forapproaching the season—one to go with younger players and move out veteransand the second to add to the current mix.

It's obvious, that with the acquisition of Dunn, they went with the latter.

"We just didn't want to be in the middle," Williams said. "So thedecision was if we're going all in, we're going all in. It's been a difficultchallenge to find the revenue to support the payroll and we're out there on alimb a little bit obviously, but we think it is important we continue to try toadd a few more significant pieces to the mix."

It was a busy day for the White Sox. they declined to tender a contract tocloser Bobby Jenks(notes), who is second in club history with 173 saves. Jenks missedthe final 27 games last season with ulnar neuritis in his right forearm.

Williams said he hasn't closed the door on bringing back Jenks at a lessersalary. He made $7.5 million last year. Williams said he'd also hadconversations with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski(notes), who was not offeredarbitration by the White Sox.

"I got to be careful at this point," Williams said. "I'll be completelyhonest, the next thing I would really like to put on the table or put back inuniform is Paul Konerko."

Earlier Thursday the White Sox exercised a club option on shortstop AlexeiRamirez(notes). He will earn a base salary of $2.75 million. He had opted out of thefinal year of the deal he signed on Jan. 22, 2008.

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