The obvious logjam at first base/designated hitter has been lamented plenty as the White Sox have transitioned from Hot Stove season to Spring Training.
While the obvious inclination is to not really care how things wind up as long as the bat isn’t taken out of the hands of Jose Abreu in favor of the Paul Konerko/Adam Dunn combination too often. Then there’s this:
Adam Dunn has been seeing time in the outfield during Spring Training. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The obvious point that Dunn has been, is, and always will be a train wreck in the outfield is not worth dwelling on. He’s played all of 10 games in the outfield since joining the White Sox and I wouldn’t expect more than a small handful (if that) again this season.
What’s more baffling is how, exactly, Dunn occasionally playing in the outfield would clog up any sort of positional logjam. Dunn’s only semi-feasible outfield spot is in left, which is currently occupied by the two-headed sucksnake that is Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo. Throwing Dunn into the mix doesn’t do much to cure that confusion.
Of course, a move could still be coming. While there’s still a chance the White Sox could go into the season with a De Aza/Viciedo combination in left and Abreu/Dunn/Konerko combo at first base and DH, moving either of the mediocre outfielders via trade before Opening Day is a possibility.
It will be interesting to see how Robin Ventura juggles who’s hot and who’s not if the season begins with all five (De Aza/Viciedo/Abreu/Konerko/Dunn) healthy and ready to go. The fact that there’s no obvious platoon system in which you can implement De Aza and Viciedo makes it difficult to determine how he’ll decide which outfielder to go with on a daily basis. Furthermore, if either Konerko or Dunn has a hot streak, does that mean the other sits on the bench for prolonged stretches? Much has been said about Konerko’s willingness to accept a lesser role, and having too many hot hands would be about as good of a problem as you can imagine for Ventura (and likely nothing more than a pipe dream).
Either way, don’t read too much into Dunn spending time in the outfield. Other than the occasional start in an NL park when his bat happens to be hot, both he and Konerko’s at-bats will be limited. And this early in spring training, having everyone take reps at every position they could possibly play isn’t the worst idea in the world.