After an unfortunate four game sweep at the hands of the Twins in Minneapolis this weekend, I assume that many White Sox fans, like myself, are thinking more and more about the trade deadline. Specifically, who is the team going to trade, where are they going to end up, and who will the White Sox get in return? With the team sitting seven games back of first place in the AL Central division, and tenth place in the wild card chase, it is probably safe to say that the Sox will be sellers instead of buyers at the deadline this summer.
Back on March 23rd of this year, Nick Cafardo wrote for the Boston Globe that, “The White Sox would love to move Dunn with their logjam of first base/DH types with Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu also on the roster.” The question at that time, was where to send him. With the season playing out the way it has the last few months, that picture has become much clearer. While many Sox fans rant about his above average strikeout rate, Adam Dunn provides adequate power to a lineup in need of a jolt. To date, he is hitting a very Dunn-like .231 with an OPS of .804, per ESPN.com. There are a couple teams in the American League in particular that are in desperate need of some offensive production at first base and/or designated hitter. Both of these teams are in the hunt for the second wild card slot and can afford to part with an asset or two from their farm system. These potential trade partners and possible landing spots for Adam Dunn are the Seattle Mariners and, division rival, Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Indians have been waiting for Nick Swisher to bounce back from an early season slump, but that hasn’t happened. Batting .194 with a .602 OPS, Swisher is the type of expensive disappointment Sox fans can sympathize with. The Indians also have Carlos Santana occupying the DH role most games, and his production has not been on pace with the production of Dunn either to this point of the year, hitting .202 with an OPS of .736. Despite Swisher’s $15 million salary this season, the Indians have kept their payroll pretty well in check, spending just above $82.5 million this year, which ranks 26th out of 30 amongst MLB teams, according to Sports Illustrated. This signals to me that they probably have the flexibility to go after a player like Dunn, even if it means adding a significant chunk of payroll to 2014.
With Dunn being a free-agent after the season, this would probably be a rental situation for the Indians. If Rick Hahn does pull the trigger on Dunn to Cleveland, the Sox could get away with not having to eat a bunch of Dunn’s remaining salary and still haul in a prospect such as RHP Adam Plutko. Plutko is a former UCLA star that is currently performing well with the High-A Carolina Mudcats.
The Seattle Mariners are in a similar situation as Cleveland. They have been settling for poor offensive production from Logan Morrison at first base and waiting for Jesus Montero to give them a boost at DH. Adam Dunn would be a welcomed addition to that lineup. With a $92 million plus payroll in 2014, the Mariners may not be as willing as the Indians to take on all of Dunn’s remaining 2014 salary, but if the Sox are willing to eat some of it, they might be able to haul in some pitching prospects such as RHP Victor Sanchez or RHP Mayckol Guaipe. Sanchez seems to have a future as a mid to back of the rotation starter, whereas Guaipe could end up as a reliable setup man or possible closer.
I’m looking for Hahn to attain young, moldable pitching prospects that we could see called up within the next couple of years. Whatever the White Sox choose to do, the good news is that there appears to be options to net a return on their investment before Dunn leaves via free agency. Based on Rick Hahn’s body of work so far, I’m confident he will make that happen. There is sure to be plenty of news and rumors for Sox fans to follow as the trade deadline approaches. Where do you envision the Sox trading Adam Dunn? Would you rather Hahn acquire pitching projects or position players? I’m always interested to read about alternate opinions and predictions.