Reflecting on Adam Dunn’s time with White Sox
After seeing Adam Dunn hit 38 or more home runs for seven straight seasons, the Chicago White Sox decided to look to add the slugger during the 2010 offseason.
Dunn ended up signing a four year, $56 million contract to join the team that still had Paul Konerko at first base.
The decision to join the White Sox forced Dunn to have to move into a DH role largely as he only appeared in the field for 298 2/3 innings during the 2011 season, split between first base and right field.
That was his first time regularly starting as a team’s designated hitter which many expected would work out well for him given that he was an atrocious defender with -44 DRS at first base and -99 DRS in the outfield prior to that point according to FanGraphs.
However, the left-handed slugger struggled mightily to figure things out in his first season in the south side, hitting .159/.292/.277 with only 11 homers and 42 RBI to give himself a 60 wRC+ and -2.9 fWAR. His strikeout rate also spiked to a career-worst 35.7% which resulted in 177 strikeouts over 496 plate appearances.
Dunn had arguably his best year over that four-season span in 2012 when he hit .204/.333/.468 with 41 homers and 96 RBI to give himself a 115 wRC+ and 2.1 fWAR. The downside was that he led all of baseball in strikeouts with 222.
In addition, he actually ended up playing the field and grading out positively at first base that season, finishing with a 2.2 UZR in 452 2/3 innings.
The 2013 season ended up being not nearly as successful, though, as the team used him at first base a lot more which proved to not be smart with him registering -12 DRS and a -5.8 UZR which made him worth only a 0.4 fWAR despite hitting 34 homers.
In his final season in baseball, Dunn was traded prior to the waiver-trade deadline to the Oakland Athletics. Before being traded, Dunn hit .220/.340/.433 with 20 homers and 54 RBI while crossing paths with Jose Abreu.
Having Abreu, Dunn, and Konerko on the same team proved very ineffective with all three being first base/DH types.
The only one who was truly effective that season was Abreu as he had a .964 OPS in his rookie year with the White Sox.
Adam Dunn unfortunately only made the playoffs in one of those four seasons and it would be with A’s in the first AL Wild Card Game in MLB history.
It actually was the only playoff game of his career as he never made with the Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, or Washington Nationals either.
Despite hitting 462 homers in his career, it is hard to see Dunn getting into the Hall of Fame with his defense probably being the biggest impediment.
Dunn’s time with White Sox certainly could have gone a lot better, but it also shouldn’t be looked at as one of their worst signings.