Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn (32) reacts after striking out in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
At the time that the Chicago White Sox signed Adam Dunn to his four year, $56 Million contract, it seemed to be a bit of an overpayment. Dunn, in his ten year career through that point, had hit 354 home runs, but had only produced a .250/.381/.521 batting line. He was essentially the epitome of the ‘three true outcomes,’ either hitting a home run, drawing a walk or striking out. It was hoped that Dunn would, at the very minimum, put up the same type of numbers throughout his White Sox career.
Well, it could not have gotten much worse for Dunn in that first season. Instead of being the run producer that the White Sox hoped he would be, Dunn put together one of the worst batting lines in baseball history, hitting at a .159/.292/.277 rate. That batting average almost removed the historically terrible Bill Bergen from having the worst batting average amongst players who qualified for the title.
Two years later, when the 2013 season came to a close, Adam Dunn had posted a batting line of .219/.320/.442, numbers that are not stellar by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, those numbers show an improvement over what Dunn has been over the previous two seasons. With that “improved” batting line, Dunn has raised his numbers with the White Sox to an aggregate .197/.317/.405 batting line. While he has still managed to hit home runs, even that number has dropped in his three years in Chicago.
So, where did everything go wrong? Perhaps Dunn was trying to do far too much to live up to the contract and the idea that he would need to be one of the primary run producers for the White Sox. He has become essentially a dead pull hitter, only finally realizing towards the end of last season that he needed to start hitting to the other field. Perhaps the approach of new Chicago White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson, who is preaching a more simplified approach at the plate, will make a difference. Perhaps the White Sox will be able to at least salvage something from the $56 Million that they appear to have lit on fire in the form of a contract to Dunn.
Adam Dunn has stated that he plans on playing beyond the 2014 season. In order for that to happen, and to have the potential of getting a starting job, Dunn has to prove that he is not….done. The White Sox are certainly hoping for a resurgent Dunn this season as well.