Traded Dunn blames himself for poor run with White Sox
Fans at U.S. Cellular Field have been booing Adam Dunn since 2011, and they can continue the trend on the White Sox' next homestand.
When the Athletics visit the South Side Sept. 8-11, Dunn will be back wearing Oakland's green and gold.
On Sunday, one of the more reviled players in Sox history was traded to the A's. Dunn, scorned for his high strikeout total and low run production since signing a four-year, $56 million contract with the White Sox, has a shot to play in the postseason for the first time in his 14-year career.
And this will be Dunn's final chance at October. After being traded for Oakland minor-league pitcher Nolan Sanburn, the 34-year-old designated hitter/first baseman said he is retiring at the end of the season.
"Kind of the way that everything's gone down, and the family, I think you know when it's time," Dunn said. "I feel like now's as good a time as any."
In the clubhouse and off the field, Dunn was a star addition.
But his first year with the White Sox, 2011, was one of the worst in major-league history (.159/.292/.277 hitting line, 177 strikeouts in 415 at-bats) and Dunn never recovered.
He handled his exit in typical standup style.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush and say the four years here were great because … it was just bad," Dunn said. "I did it completely to myself. I just don't want to blame … I blame myself. But I met a lot of great people here. I wish things would've worked out better, but it didn't."
In his final game with the White Sox Saturday, Dunn's 2-run homer off Max Scherzer sparked a 6-3 win over the Tigers in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
That was a rare highlight, and now Dunn is gone. The Sox reportedly are paying $1.3 million of Dunn's September salary, with the A's picking up $1 million.
"I think there's two elements to it," general manager Rick Hahn said of Dunn's time with the Sox. "There are on the field and off the field. He would be the first, and he and I discussed it last night and this morning, we were both disappointed we didn't accomplish on the field what we had hoped when the deal was originally signed four years ago. He was brought here as part of a plan to win championships in that window and it didn't happen. From that standpoint, we are all disappointed.
"From the off the field standpoint, or the clubhouse standpoint, he was outstanding. He had what would be the most difficult year of his career the first year he was here and there were high expectations that went along with it. He certainly heard about it and put pressure on himself because of that. But he carried himself with class throughout the entire time he was here. He was a great asset in the clubhouse the entire time he was here."
Dunn had to waive the no-trade clause in his contract, but that decision was a no-brainer considering he has a chance to go to the playoffs for the first time before calling it quits.
"You don't get opportunities like this often to go into a team that's a very, very good team," said Dunn, who batted .220 with 20 home runs, 54 RBI and 132 strikeouts in 363 at-bats with the White Sox this season. "Hopefully I can go in there and not screw it up too bad and keep the mojo going and contribute."
In addition to saving $1 million in salary, the Sox also get a promising prospect in Sanburn, Oakland's second-round draft pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas.
The 23-year-old right-hander, ranked as the Athletics' No. 10 prospect by Baseball America at the start of this season, is 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA and 6 saves with Class A Stockton.
"He's a young power arm with some good pitchability and good secondary pitches," Hahn said. "He'll likely join our Double-A (Birmingham) club next year and could come quickly to help us."