COMMENTARY | In the immediate aftermath of Jose Abreu's signing by the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rogers tweeted that the team's "priority might be to find a team that will take Adam Dunn."
Rogers mentioned the Houston Astros as a potential destination for the left-handed hitting, hole-in-his-swing slugger who has one year and $15 million left on his contract. Even if it was within the realm of realism that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow would even consider dealing for Dunn (which it's not), moving him would make no sense.
Freelance sportswriter Cee Angi laid out several of the reasons why trading Dunn is a bad idea for the White Sox in an article she wrote for CBSLocal.com. Chief among them is that moving Dunn for the sake of some misguided principle is "shortsighted" thinking. She is absolutely right. Dunn does have some intrinsic value to the White Sox. Trading him now would be a reactionary move, rather than a prudent one.
That doesn't mean that he shouldn't eventually be traded. See, the offensive metrics Dunn brings to the team are valuable, no doubt, but they do not justify his presence on the 25-man roster. He has been an albatross on the back of general manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura. He is too expensive to sit and too unreliable to build a lineup around.
The unfortunate reality is that a move will not be made this offseason. The White Sox would have to assume most of the remaining dollars on his contract and would, at best, receive a bag of sand and a box of golf tees in return if they dealt him now. Finding another home for him at the non-waiver trade deadline next season is a different story altogether.
Dunn may be able to build enough value in the first half of the 2014 season for a contending team to consider parting with a High-A infielder or a Double-A pitcher in exchange for at least two months of the designated hitter's services. A pipe-dream, to be sure, but stranger things have happened.
It goes without saying that if the White Sox attempt to move Dunn, they biggest obstacle Hahn will have to overcome is his salary. Fortunately, if there is one thing Hahn proved in his first year as GM, it is that he has a knack for finding ways to unload salary without assuming any of the remaining money.
He did it with Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. There is no reason to think that he will not be able to do it again. The prospect (not prospects) the Sox get in return will be of a lower caliber, but Hahn may be able to walk away without any further financial obligation to Big Donkey.
There is another reason why trading Dunn now would be a bad idea. The White Sox could surprise everyone and be competitive next year.
There is the off chance that the starting rotation will dominate the American League, Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia will resurrect a woeful offense, and the defense will suddenly become respectable en route to division lead at the All-Star break. Were the Sox to find themselves in that particular set of circumstances, then keeping Dunn is a no-brainer. Simply pay him the rest of his contract and pray that he doesn't hit .180 in September.
Alright, that scenario probably won't play out, but anything is possible in baseball, right?
Truth be told, when Kenny Williams signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract prior to the 2011 season, he set the franchise back in ways that words cannot properly convey. Moving him now, though, would be a mistake. Hahn knows this.
Dunn is not expendable -- not yet, anyway.
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