Adam Dunn Rumors
The Chicago Tribune's Dave van Dyck talked to White Sox GM Kenny Williams on Sunday; here are a few highlights.
- "I would make the same move tomorrow again," says Williams in reference to Adam Dunn's four-year, $56MM contract that also cost the Sox the #23 overall draft pick this year. Dunn is hitting .173/.308/.316 with seven home runs in 279 plate appearances as he attempts to adjust to the American League and full-time DH work. Williams considers Dunn's 2011 struggles "a little blip."
- Williams says he respects manager Ozzie Guillen too much to force him to promote prospect Dayan Viciedo. The 22-year-old outfielder is hitting .330/.369/.528 this year, but Williams says Viciedo is "not a finished product."
- Williams does not believe he can acquire a player who has the ability of those already on the team. He's hoping for certain members of his current squad to start playing to their normal abilities.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he has confidence that slumping slugger Adam Dunn will go on a hot streak and help the team return to contention. Dunn leads the league with 80 strikeouts and has five homers with a .176/.314/.309 line two months into his $56MM contract. Here's the latest on the 29-33 White Sox...
- Reinsdorf told Morosi that he’s confident in GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen and expects both to return in 2012.
- Reinsdorf isn’t thinking about becoming ‘sellers’ at this point, but he is disappointed to be spending more money for diminished results. “We have a much bigger payroll than we had last year,” Reinsdorf said. “And we’re on pace to draw the same number of people. Obviously, that makes it tougher financially. But we’ll be OK.”
- Guillen's son, Ozney Guillen is excited about the possibility of being drafted and starting his pro career, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. The White Sox selected him out of high school in the 22nd round last year, but he didn't sign and is draft-eligible once again. Ozney expects to sign this year.
Another round of interleague play begins tonight, so let’s take a look at some players who switched leagues last winter and are off to hot starts in 2011. Here are a few of the players thriving in new leagues - and what it cost to acquire them:
- Cliff Lee - It cost $120MM in guaranteed money and a first round pick for the Phillies to reacquire Lee. He has a 3.84 ERA with a 68K/13BB ratio through 58 2/3 innings.
- Adam Dunn - After a slow start, Dunn has been hitting like his usual self this month and now has a .203/.321/.368 line. He cost the White Sox $56MM and the 23rd overall selection in this year's draft.
- J.J. Putz - Putz, one of many relievers to sign multiyear deals last winter, is living up to Arizona's $10MM investment. He has a 2.12 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 through 17 innings of work.
- Lance Berkman - Berkman wasn't out of the National League for long and he must be happy he's back. Though currently sidelined, the 35-year-old has a .349/.455/.683 line and is among the league leaders in many offensive categories. Well worth the Cards’ $8MM investment.
- Russell Martin - Easily one of the offseason's best bargains, Martin has a .268/.371/.480 line. Not only did he cost just $4MM, he's under team control in 2012.
- Jeff Francis - Francis has a 4.83 ERA with a 27K/10BB ratio through 54 innings and he cost just $2MM.
- Adrian Gonzalez - Gonzalez has a .314/.370/.560 line back in the American League, but he didn’t come cheap. The Padres obtained top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, former first rounder Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo, who is tearing through the Pacific Coast League. Rizzo has a .371/.443/.702 line through 174 plate appearances and it won't be long before he's making an impact at Petco Park.
- Shaun Marcum - Marcum is pitching better than ever for the Brewers and the Blue Jays are no doubt pleased with what 21-year-old Brett Lawrie’s doing to Triple-A pitching. The #40 prospect in the game, according to Baseball America, Lawrie has a .335/.395/.607 line with nine homers and as many steals.
- Matt Garza - Garza leads the National League with 11.0 K/9 and has a 3.72 ERA through 55 2/3 innings, though it took Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer to acquire him. We've all heard about Fuld’s hot start and Guyer homered in his first MLB game.
The White Sox are 11-21, already 10.5 games behind the Indians, despite a franchise-record payroll of $126MM. Not only that, they got no-hit this week. However, the club was set to become sellers last June before surging and finishing with 88 wins, so the White Sox know turnarounds can happen quickly. Here’s what GM Kenny Williams has to say about his club, via Scott Merkin of MLB.com:
- Though Adam Dunn has struggled mightily so far (3 homers and a .583 OPS), the White Sox remain comfortable with the mindset that led to Dunn’s $56MM deal: “exhaust ourselves to try to get the greatest impact players in tow to try to win a championship.”
- Constructing rosters is not all about numbers and despite Nick Swisher’s talent, he “didn’t fit” in Chicago, accoridng to Williams.
- Jake Peavy hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch in 2011 - he’s rehabbing in the minor leagues - but Williams doesn’t regret acquiring him. "He was going to be No. 1," Williams said. "If you have hopes to beat the best in the league, you better have the best in the league facing them. In our assessment, that's what we had to do.”
A few tidbits of note from what may be one of the more competitive and intriguing divisions in baseball in 2011 ...
- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn suspects that his now-infamous war of words with then-Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi in 2008 hurt his value on the free-agent market that offseason, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Dunn, of course, was traded from the Reds to the Diamondbacks in a post-deadline deal in 2008 and signed a modest two-year deal with the Nationals in the subsequent offseason. He reportedly was unwilling to be a full-time DH then, but when he hit free agency this offseason after two productive years in Washington, he had no such qualms, signing a nice four-year, $56MM deal with the South Siders.
- Indians right-hander Jason Knapp could "rocket up" next year's prospects lists if he's healthy this year and continues to polish up his raw talents, writes Jim Callis of Baseball America. It feels like a lifetime ago that the Indians acquired Knapp from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee deal, and it looks like Knapp may be Cleveland's last hope of salvaging a player with big upside from that swap. As Callis notes, Knapp has logged only 40 innings since the Tribe acquired him in 2009 due to injuries, but he's still only 21.
- Twins reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2010, will have to prove that he's his old self before he returns to closing duty, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t make any decisions until the end of spring training," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Passan. "If [Nathan] comes back and throws like he did two years ago, he’ll probably be our closer." Of course, the Twins have a nice insurance policy in Matt Capps should Nathan not be ready. The Twins acquired Capps in a midseason trade last year and avoided arbitration with him this offseason, settling on a 2011 salary of $7.15MM.
Some links for Saturday evening as the cold weather makes its way back to the Northeast..
- Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic that the team will "spend the money necessary to sign the players that are the best players out there when our turn comes," referring to the draft. The D'Backs hold two of the first seven picks after failing to sign sixth overall pick Barret Loux last year.
- Before landing with the Athletics on a minor league contract, Andy LaRoche drew interest from the Red Sox and Indians according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- Astros outfielder Hunter Pence tweeted that he found the arbitration process to be fascinating but is glad to have it in the rear view mirror. Earlier today, Pence won his arb case, meaning that he'll earn $6.9MM in 2011.
- The Diamondbacks' 2011 payroll should be in the low $60MM range, managing partner Ken Kendrick told Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (via Twitter).
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn't sound too upset about the status of his relationship with Michael Young in this tweet from Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.
- White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is ready to embrace his new role in Chicago, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Former Yankees prospect Zach McAllister is looking forward to a new start with the Indians, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
Some items to wrap up the week...
- The Pirates were close to a trade for J.J. Hardy on Thursday night, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Pittsburgh is known to have an interest in Hardy and could still work out a deal given that the Twins tendered Hardy a contract.
- There is "mutual interest" between Nick Punto and the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (Twitter link) The two sides will continue their talks during the winter meetings.
- Yahoo Sports' Big League Stew blog collects some of the Washington media's reaction to Adam Dunn leaving town, and it isn't very positive.
- It's looking increasingly unlikely that Arizona will trade Justin Upton, but if Upton is moved, it won't be to Florida, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Rodriguez says the Marlins are looking for a left-handed bench bat and possibly a left-handed reliever, though the club is unlikely to re-sign Will Ohman.
- Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock tells Fox Sports Radio's Jim Bowden (Twitter link) that his club isn't interested in bringing back Cliff Lee. "That ship has sailed," Proefrock said.
- Erik Bedard tells Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune that he was offered a guaranteed deal from another club but turned it down to sign a non-guaranteed contract with Seattle.
- The Mariners "are becoming a West Coast version of the Orioles, a place top-tier free agents avoid because the stench of losing is overwhelming," writes Yahoo's Steve Henson in his winter meetings preview.
- The White Sox discussed Prince Fielder with the Brewers before completing the Dunn deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal explains how the shortage of available pitching could make it difficult for the Brewers to acquire high caliber young arms in a potential Fielder trade.
- Dunn says he'll DH or play any position, according to Scott Reifert of the White Sox (on Twitter).
- Williams says A.J. Pierzynski and Dunn will accept deferred payment on their new deals to help the White Sox make Paul Konerko a strong offer, Reifert notes on Twitter. Konerko is meeting with the White Sox on Monday, tweets USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
The White Sox added one of the game's most consistent sluggers today, locking Adam Dunn up to a four-year $56MM deal. The team has officially announced the deal.
Dunn settled for a two-year, $20MM deal when he last hit free agency, but his representation at Legacy Sports was aggressive this time, setting their client up with the biggest contract so far this offseason and nearly tripling the value of Dunn's previous deal.
Dunn has hit 38 or more homers in each of the past seven seasons. He boasts a career .250/.381/.521 line with 354 home runs in ten seasons. Few players are as durable as the 31-year-old, who has appeared in 150 or more games in eight of nine seasons since becoming a regular.
It's not clear how often Dunn will play in the field, but that likely depends on Chicago's pursuit of free agent first baseman Paul Konerko. Dunn appeared reluctant to be a full-time DH despite criticisms of his defensive play.
The Nationals, who discussed extensions with the slugger all season long, will obtain a supplementary first rounder plus Chicago's 23rd overall pick in next year's draft. Adam LaRoche and Carlos Pena are Washington's most likely first base targets, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
Crasnick reported that the White Sox had serious interest in Dunn, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the sides were closing in on a deal and Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times reported the terms of the contract. Peter Gammons of MLB Network and Bob Nightengale of USA Today also reported elements of the story on Twitter.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
Ron Santo, the longtime Cubs star and broadcaster, died overnight. Condolences to his family, friends and many fans. Here are today's links...
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick profiles Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who expects to be a players' manager, partly because his experience as a player allows him to relate to those who are struggling to produce.
- The Orioles offered Adam Dunn a four-year deal worth about $40MM before he agreed to sign with the White Sox, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
- The Pirates have had "ongoing discussions with multiple free-agent starters, and would be pleased to sign more than one starting pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation," president Frank Coonelly told fans in a chat on MLB.com. The team made Jorge de la Rosa an offer and is also open to upgrading in right field, at first base or at short.
- The market for Kevin Correia is heating up, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The right-hander is in "active negotiations" with two or more teams.
- Ryan Zimmerman tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he wouldn't mind signing a Troy Tulowitzki-like extension (Twitter link).
- "It's no secret we want Cliff [Lee], and we will do what we can to get him," Hank Steinbrenner told ESPN.com. Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker insists he never said he's looking to match C.C. Sabathia's $161MM deal.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock suggests Brendan Ryan might be a better trade target for the Padres than Jason Bartlett (Twitter link).