How long will Paul Konerko defy the decrees of declining productivity?
The South Side first baseman may have begun to succumb to them prior to last season, but his 2012 results - a .298 average with a mere 26 home runs and 22 doubles in 533 at-bats - sounded an alarm. His extra-base power, along with his fly-ball rate (from 45.0 percent to 40.6 percent to 36.5 percent), has been on the lam for two years.
The easy thing to do is excuse his output because of a wrist ailment caused by a bone chip. For the second time in as many seasons, Konerko had a minor procedure to displace the fragment, which simply alleviated most of the pain he was experiencing. He had the bone chip surgically removed after last season, so it should no longer be an issue. But according to Konerko, he'd dealt with it from 2009 on without much of a problem; it didn't affect his swing other than during the time frame around which he had last year's in-season surgery.
The good news regarding the slugger's falling numbers: The health of his wrist is, more than likely, no longer part of the equation. The bad news: It's impossible to determine precisely how much age and health are each responsible for the drop-off. Given the performance record of other players at his age who didn't have synthetic assistance, Father Time has to carry a good portion of that burden.
Konerko is entering his age-37 and perhaps last campaign with the ChiSox; his contract expires after this season. As part of his last hurrah in Chi-town, he may deliver that good value at first base fantasy owners have come to expect. If they're wagering their seasons on it, though, they'd better have good insurance.
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About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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