First baseman Paul Konerko, generally regarded as the most prized slugger of the free agent market, agreed yesterday to a five-year, $60-million contract to remain with the World Series champion Chicago White Sox.
Konerko, 29, said the fifth year of the contract, which was added by the White Sox "late in the process," was the deciding factor. Konerko was also given a limited no-trade clause.
"I just felt I needed to get the years," Konerko said on a conference call from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
White Sox General Manager Ken Williams said the team had originally not planned to offer the fifth year.
Konerko said he had narrowed his choices to the Los Angeles Angels and the White Sox. The Baltimore Orioles had offered Konerko a five-year, $65 million deal that was rejected Tuesday.
"At the beginning I would have said the Orioles wouldn't have had the chance," Konerko said. "I was considering it. I like the city. I like the stadium."
But ultimately Konerko, who hit .283 with 40 home runs and 100 RBI last season, said he was steered back to the White Sox, who in October won their first championship since 1917.
-- Jorge Arangure Jr.