Thursday, December 2, 2010
Dunn down, Konerko to go
Kenny Williams finally gets his man, as Adam Dunn agrees on a four-year contract with the White Sox, believed to be worth around $56 million ...
Dunn, 31, ranks second in the major leagues to Albert Pujols since 2004 with 282 home runs. He hit .260 with 38 homers and 103 RBIs for the Washington Nationals last season.
Although Dunn has expressed an interest in staying in the National League and continuing to play first base, most scouts consider him better suited to the designated hitter role at this stage of his career.
The designated hitter spot was a major concern for the White Sox last season. Manager Ozzie Guillen's DH contingent hit only 18 home runs and logged a .728 aggregate OPS.
Someday historians will study the 2010 White Sox, notice that Mark Kotsay started 46 games as the club's DH (and 38 games at first base!) and say, "Ah, now we understand. We don't understand what Kenny Williams was thinking. We do understand why the White Sox finished so far behind the Twins."
And Kotsay wasn't just some stopgap. He was the plan. The White Sox entered last season with a player with no power, designated to play power positions. They did the same thing with Juan Pierre in left field. They entered 2009 with no viable center fielder on the roster. None.
The White Sox have made a habit of entering seasons having essentially punted entire positions. Most contenders at least have an idea. They pick up someone who might be decent, or they're just holding on for a month or two until a prospect is ready. Not the White Sox, though. They just give up and hope for the best (or pray; I don't know which).
Maybe this is a sign. Dunn's not really a great hitter; his highest OPS+ finishes in the National League have been two eighths, a ninth, and a 10th, and of course he's practically useless when fielding or running. He's not a game-changer, and his salary probably won't look like a good value by the fourth season of his deal. But if the White Sox re-sign Paul Konerko, they're three or four games better with Adam Dunn than they were without him.