Tag: Adam Dunn

Athletics’ Adam Dunn Set for 1st Career Postseason Appearance After 2,001 Games

After logging 2,001 regular-season games, Oakland Athletics designated hitter Adam Dunn is finally set to make the first postseason appearance of his career in Tuesday’s American League wild-card game against the Kansas City Royals. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Dunn will no longer sit atop the list for most games without a playoff appearance among active players.

That honor will now belong to Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, who has played 1,586 games in the regular season without ever making it to the playoffs, per baseball-reference.com. The all-time mark is held by Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, who logged 2,528 games in a 19-year career that did not include any postseason appearances.

The well-traveled Dunn has now played for five different teams, having joined the Athletics in a trade from the Chicago White Sox at the end of August. At the time, the A’s had already begun their well-documented slide, yet still looked like a near-lock to make the playoffs.

Ultimately, it came down to the final day of the season, as the A’s sat just one game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final wild-card spot entering Sunday’s action. Oakland pulled out a 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers, rendering Seattle’s 4-1 victory over the division-champion Los Angeles Angels for naught.

With Dunn not listed in Tuesday’s starting lineup versus Royals right-hander James Shields, there’s some chance that the 34-year-old DH won’t actually play in his first career postseason “appearance.”

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Adam Dunn Denied Home Run After Ball Bounces off Wall Twice, Stays in Play

What are the odds of this? 

On Friday night, Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Dunn got about as close to hitting a home run as one can get with the ball bouncing off the top of the outfield wall twice while still remaining in play. 

While it’s not completely clear whether or not the ball hit Houston outfielder L.J. Hoes’ glove, it looks like it hits the wall first and bounces on it again, which is absolutely mind-boggling. 

The White Sox went on to win 3-2.


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Adam Dunn Takes Aim at 450-Homer Mark This Coming Season

With his 14th major league season set to begin on March 31 against the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is just 10 home runs away from reaching the 450-homer mark for his career.

A second-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1998 amateur draft, the 6′6″ Dunn—who currently has 6,454 MLB at-bats under his belt—hit 40-plus homers in five consecutive seasons, from 2004-2008, but failed to earn an All-Star selection in any of those years. He’s been named to just one All-Star team over the past 10 seasons, despite hitting fewer than 34 homers just once during that span.

Of course, Dunn’s propensity for striking out—he’s fanned 164 or more times every season since 2004—and inability to hit for high average have had a lot to do with that. Despite the unproductive outs, Dunn has still been reasonably valuable to major league teams thanks to his elite power and ability to draw walks; he ranks 51st all-time in bases on balls (with 1,246) and owns a .366 career OBP.

In Major League Baseball history, only 35 players have hit 450 or more home runs, with Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero both finishing just one shy of the mark.

Now 34 years old, Dunn is entering the final year of his contract with the White Sox and figures to be restricted to platoon duty, with Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu factoring in at first base and designated hitter. Still, Dunn said recently that he is planning to return in 2015, so it’s entirely possible he could eventually join the exclusive 500-homer club.

The Hall of Fame is likely a different matter, however.


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MLB Trade Rumors: Updating All the Hottest Waiver-Trade Buzz

The first big move of August was made today with the Rangers acquiring outfielder Alex Rios from the White Sox, as was first reported by Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. After the two teams failed to agree on a deal at the trade deadline, the Rangers were awarded a waiver claim on Rios yesterday, and the deal came together shortly after Jim Bowden of ESPN and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported that a deal was unlikely to happen. 

But the White Sox’s asking price appears to have dropped. While they were interested in top prospects such as infielder Rougned Odor and pitchers Luke Jackson and Martin Perez last month, according to Sullivan, they are reportedly settling for Leury Garcia as the player to be named later, along with $1 million. They’ll also save an estimated $18 million in salary (approximately $4 million remaining in 2013, $13 million in 2014, $1 million buyout on 2015 club option).

Garcia, 22, has plus speed and strong defensive skills but he’s nowhere near the aforementioned players in potential. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted a report he received from a scout, saying Garcia had Rafael Furcal potential but was most likely to become a solid regular. At worst, he’d be a utilityman in the majors.  

Ironically, the trade opens up the door for another Garcia recently acquired by the White Sox. Avisail Garcia, acquired from Detroit in the Jake Peavy trade, has been called up to take Rios’ starting spot in right field. 

Adam Dunn Clears Waivers

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported earlier today that Adam Dunn (pictured) cleared waivers, which is no surprise considering his $15 million salary in 2014 and his decline in overall production over the past few seasons. And after dealing away Rios, the White Sox might not want to subtract any more firepower from their lineup. 

But the 33-year-old has a .946 OPS over his past 55 games with 14 homers and 39 runs batted in and his value could be on the rise with a few contenders still in need of some power. He has started just nine games in the outfield since 2009 so he is likely limited to first base and the designated hitter spot and will fit best on an American League club. 

I recently named the Orioles as a possible fit, and the Rangers might not be done adding to their offense if Lance Berkman cannot return soon from hip and knee injuries. The Indians, who designated Mark Reynolds for assignment yesterday, could be an interesting match, although the Sox would likely have to pick up a good portion of Dunn’s remaining contract. 


Marlon Byrd Could Draw Interest

While the Mets surprisingly held on to outfielder Marlon Byrd (pictured) at the trade deadline, interest could pick up again if he’s placed on waivers. Heyman tweeted that the Orioles, Royals, A’s and Rangers all had interest last month.  

The 35-year-old, who is having a terrific season with an .821 OPS and 17 homers, isn’t likely to clear waivers since he’ll be owed just a couple hundred thousand dollars in salary. Most contenders would put in a claim at that price. Thus, any deal would likely happen with the first National League team to put in a claim.

The Diamondbacks and Reds might be the first contenders in line on the waiver wire, although there isn’t a desperate need for a starting outfielder on either club. For such little risk, though, it’s worth blocking him or even trying to strike a deal to bring him on as a backup. 


Dan Haren a Trade Candidate? 

Nationals right-hander Dan Haren (pictured) is on waivers, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, and he has a decent chance of passing through unclaimed because of the estimated $3.6 million he’s due for the remainder of the season. 

Interest would’ve been mild a month ago when he had an ERA over 6.00 and was on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness. But he appears to be back to his old form since his return, posting a 2.40 ERA with eight walks and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings over five starts. 

After four consecutive losses, the Nats are nine back in the wild-card race, and they’ll likely be open to moving the 32-year-old Haren. The Braves, Indians and A’s, who were among the teams in the mix for starting pitching help at the deadline, could have interest.


Could Mark Reynolds or Delmon Young Help a Contender?

Two players recently designated for assignment, Mark Reynolds of the Indians and Delmon Young (pictured) of the Phillies, are a bit more interesting than most names that usually pop up on the DFA list, which removes a player from the 40-man roster and allows a team 10 days to either trade, place on waivers, outright to the minors or release that player. 

Both players deserved to be cut—Reynolds had a .551 OPS over his last 73 games; Young had an overall .699 OPS in 80 games—but they’re also capable of putting up big numbers over the course of several weeks. 

Contending teams looking to catch lightning in a bottle don’t have to look further than Reynolds’ first 31 games of the season, when he hit .291 with 11 homers and 29 runs batted in. The 27-year-old Young had a strong month of June (.830 OPS), but it’s his success in the postseason (.859 OPS, 8 HR, 15 RBI in 28 games) that should land him a job late in the season. 

The duo’s ability to succeed against left-handed pitching (Reynolds has a career .843 OPS vs LHP; Young has a career .820 OPS vs LHP) should also ensure that there will be interest, although it’s a long shot that any team would trade for either player while taking on much salary and/or giving up any prospect of value. Don’t expect either to be out of a job very long, though. 


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MLB Prospects Who Could Be the Next Adam Dunn

At this time last year, Adam Dunn was the center of attention in the White Sox’ camp for all the wrong reasons. After signing a four-year, $56 million contract as a free agent prior to the 2011 season, Dunn had an uncharacteristically bad inaugural campaign for the South Siders.

Playing in 122 games primarily as the team’s designated hitter, the now 33-year-old posted a career-worst slash line of .159/.292/.277 with 11 home runs and 177/75 K/BB over 496 plate appearances. Furthermore, the slugger’s dismal performance resulted in a -3.1 WAR, which sticks out like a sore thumb on his otherwise impressive résumé.

Desperately in need of a bounce-back season in 2012, Dunn’s production was more in line with his career averages. Overall, he finished the year with 41 home runs in 151 games—the second-highest total in his 12-year career—and paced the American League in both walks (105) and strikeouts (222).

While his .204/.333/.468 slash line was astronomically better than the previous year’s, it still detracted from his overall value and resulted in just a 0.9 WAR. Luckily, at least for Dunn, his contact and on-base rates didn’t trail off until the second half of the season, which played a part in the selection to his second All-Star Game.

Ever since the Reds selected him in the second round of the 1998 draft, Dunn has been the epitome of a three-true-outcome player, meaning that his plate appearances typically result in a walk, strikeout or home run.

Over the course of his 12-year career, the 6’6″ slugger has batted .240/.370/.499 with 406 home runs, 2,301 strikeouts and 1,170 walks in 1,721 games with four different organizations. Assuming that he can stay healthy for the remainder of his career, Dunn is on pace to club his 500th career home run at some point during the 2015 season.

But as we shift our focus to the minor leagues, is there a prospect with the potential to be the next Adam Dunn? It’s hard to say with any certainty at this point, but here’s a look at five prospects cut from the same mold.


*All statistics courtesy of BaseballReference.com

*Some scouting notes have been derived from original report as part of each team’s top-10 prospects.

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No More Time for Mediocrity: Time for White Sox to Start the Rebuilding Process

During Kenny Williams’ 12 year tenure as the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, his teams year in and year out have constantly found ways to overachieve, and then more often than not, have found ways to disappoint their fans as their season came to an end.

The 2012 season was no different.

The White Sox came into the season with very little expectations. Heading into the season with a “retooled” roster, not one expert giving them even a slight chance to compete with the stacked and loaded Detroit Tigers. Yet again, the White Sox managed to prove the experts wrong. They held the lead in the division throughout the majority of the season, rarely allowing the Tigers to enjoy that first place feeling.

That is, until the final two weeks of the regular season came along, and all the experts proved to be right.

The White Sox found a way to cough up the division, going 4-11 in their final 15 games, two of those wins coming in the final three games when they didn’t even matter anymore.

The White Sox finished their season with 85 wins and 77 losses, numbers that don’t look bad on paper, but won’t leave any fan satisfied with their team, as that amount of wins will very seldom lead a team to the playoffs, which is the ultimate of any team heading into the regular season.

If there is one lesson that should be taken out of this, it’s that mediocrity never leads to success or positive feedback.

What do I mean by this?

Simple, I’m tired of watching my favorite team constantly be good enough to complete, but very rarely be good enough to succeed.

Sure, they did had a magical run in 2005 when they won the World Series after winning 11 of their 12 playoff games. However, I’m tired of living in 2005, and those type of runs only happen once every 100 years, as proven by the White Sox, who hadn’t won a World Series in 88 years prior to the 2005 season.

Up until the end of the 2011 season, I was really happy about the fact that Williams would do anything to ensure that he puts a winning team on the field. His boss was willing to spend money to put a winner on the field, therefore, that is exactly what he did.

Some years his strategy worked out, and other times it didn’t. However, upon the end of the 2011 season, the White Sox were stuck in unfamiliar territory.

For the first time throughout his tenure, Williams was asked to trim the team’s payroll instead of increasing it. The team had just suffered their second losing season in three years, not reaching the playoffs once in that three year span.

Furthermore, ticket sales had dropped for the fifth straight years, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf couldn’t afford to keep spending money on his roster if the fans weren’t spending money to watch his team play.

Many fans believed the White Sox were heading into a rebuilding process, especially after trading away Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor for a handful of minor leaguers and not signing any key free agents, not to mention letting Mark Buehrle and Juan Pierre sign with other teams.

Some, including me, felt more trades were coming. After all, I feel if a team is going to rebuild, there is no point of stalling the process.

My gut was telling me that at least some combination of Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Gavin Floyd and John Danks would not be in a White Sox uniform heading into the 2012 season.

Instead, the winter months came and went, and no transaction were occurring, leaving many fans wondering exactly in what direction were the White Sox heading in.

Williams claimed the team was “retooling”, but I don’t think any fan bought that. In my eyes, he was leading the team into mediocrity, which, in my opinion, is the absolute worst position a team can be in.

There is obviously no better position to be in than competing for a championship.

The second best direction a team can be in is completely rebuilding from scratch, as that type of team is at least giving their young talent a chance to develop, giving that organization hope that the team can be competing for a championship sometime in the distant future.

In addition, a team that is rebuilding will most likely finish with awful records for a few seasons, giving them higher picks when the draft rolls around.

The absolutely worst position a team can be stuck in is mediocrity.

The reason I say this is because this type of team has a very, very small chance of competing for a championship and is not giving many opportunities for their younger talent to develop, not to mention the fact that their draft picks will not be nearly as high as they’d like them to be.

After experimenting with “retooling” the roster, there is no more time for games to be played by Williams.

It’s time to do exactly what the crosstown rivals Chicago Cubs did during this previous season: start from scratch and attempt to set up the roster with all the young talent that is available via trade, free agency or the minor league system.

Will this be a long process?

It most likely will be. After all, the White Sox minor league system, in terms of talent and potential, is considered if not the worst minor league system in all of baseball, then definitely one of the worst.

When it comes to the White Sox organization, however, it seems like they are out of options.

Despite winning 85 games and leading their division throughout a majority of this previous season, the White Sox total attendance dropped under two million for the first time since the 2004 season. 

Sure, it can be blamed on the tough economical times, but I truly do feel that all hope had been sucked out of all White Sox fans before the season even began, and most fans were never able to regain that hope.

There even seemed to be more hope on the other side of town, despite the fact that Cub fans knew there team was going to be awful, if not the worst in the league.

The reason why this was the case was because Cubs fans at least had the opportunity to gaze into the future, and hope that all the young talent they have on their roster will potentially turn the organization into a perennial contender sooner rather than later.

Although the White Sox may not have a surplus of young talent on their roster and in their minor league system, the talent that is there really did provide the some hope for the team’s future.

Nate Jones (2.39 ERA in 71.2 innings), Addison Reed (29 saves) and Donnie Veal (19 strikeouts in 13 innings) all did their parts to show that the bullpen can be in good hands over the next 5-10 years.

Chris Sale (17 wins and 3.05 ERA) and Jose Quintana (3.76 ERA) showed the organization that experience is not a necessity for a player to be considered very good.

On the offensive side of the ball, Dayan Viciedo (25 home runs and 78 RBIs) proved that the White Sox will have some power in the future, regardless of whether they are rebuilding or not.

What’s more important is the way some of the veterans on this roster performed throughout the previous season.

Adam Dunn (41 home runs and 96 RBIs), Alex Rios (.304 batting average, 37 doubles, 25 home runs, 91 RBIs and 23 stolen bases), Konerko (.298 batting average, .371 on-base percentage, 26 home runs and 75 RBI’s)  and Crain (2.44 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 48 innings) all showed that they can still play at a very high level.

Why is that part more important?

Because these are the players that can and should be used as trade bait throughout this offseason in an effort to acquire younger talent.

Their trade value is probably at its highest right now, as the chances that they improve on those numbers this upcoming season is highly unlikely.

They may not get as much talent as they’d like in return for these players, but they’ll at least get something.

Sure, they can wait until the trade deadline when a team will most likely be in need of one of these players, but that would be a huge risk due to the fact that these players are aging and may not repeat their production during the 2013 season.

The players the White Sox could wait till midseason to use as trade leverage include Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Thornton and Danks. All these players had decent seasons in 2012, but have the potential to have better seasons in 2013, which would raise their trade value.

A few other players who can be used as trade chips during the offseason can be any of the impending free agents the White Sox have on their roster, which includes a list of Jake Peavy, Pierzynski, Floyd, Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano.

The White Sox have claimed that they want many of these players back on the roster for the 2013 season, and if a majority of them repeat what they did this previous season, many teams will be calling the White Sox organization about their availability.

The bottom line is that the White Sox can’t afford to waste time developing the young talent that they do have if they continue to bring back their veteran players and continue to rot in mediocrity. Sale, Viciedo and Reed will not be young forever, and the time to fill out the roster with young talent around them is now.

This may lead to a stretch of painful years for the White Sox organization and their fans, but keeping the veterans and bringing back other ones will only lead to a longer stretch of disappointment.

Williams, Reinsdorf and the rest of the organization need to stop being stubborn, and realize this now. I said this last year and I mean it even more this year.

Whether Williams is the right man for the job is a debate for another day! 

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Fantasy Baseball: Breakdown of AccuScore’s Rest-of-Year Home Run Projections

With the fantasy trade deadlines coming up this week and next (I have four red-letter dates this Friday), it’s time for owners to make one last pitch for baseball’s elite categorical contributors.

AccuScore, a company that specializes in thorough game simulations, has made a few on-the-fly revisions to its seasonal projections.

These 46 hitters, based on AccuScore projections (not mine), will register at least nine home runs from this point forward (Aug. 7-Sept. 30):

Part I
1. Adam Dunn, White Sox—14
2. Ryan Braun, Brewers—13
3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers—13
4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees—12
5. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs—12
6. Josh Hamilton, Rangers—12
7. Albert Pujols, Angels—12
8. Mark Trumbo, Angels—12
9. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays—12
10. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays—12
11. Matt Kemp, Dodgers—11
12. Mark Teixeira, Yankees—11
13. Paul Konerko, White Sox—11
14. Josh Willingham, Twins—11
15. Corey Hart, Brewers—11
16. Prince Fielder, Tigers—11
17. Mike Trout, Angels—10
18. David Ortiz, Red Sox—10
19. Robinson Cano, Yankees—10
20. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins—10
21. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies—10
22. Jay Bruce, Reds—10
23. Adam LaRoche, Nationals—10

Part II
24. Trevor Plouffe, Twins—10
25. Nelson Cruz, Rangers—10
26. Adrian Beltre, Rangers—10
27. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics—10
28. Adam Jones, Orioles—9
29. Kevin Youkilis, White Sox—9
30. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates—9
31. Mike Napoli, Rangers—9
32. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates—9
33. Dan Uggla, Braves—9
34. Mark Reynolds, Orioles—9
35. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs—9
36. Ryan Howard, Phillies—9
37. Josh Reddick, Athletics—9
38. Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox—9
39. Michael Morse, Nationals—9
40. Aramis Ramirez, Brewers—9
41. Matt Holliday, Cardinals—9
42. Carlos Quentin, Padres—9
43. Nick Swisher, Yankees—9
44. Joey Votto, Reds—9
45. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals—9
46. Brandon Moss, Athletics—9



  • The prediction that immediately stands out is Anthony Rizzo (9 HR, 23 RBI, .301 BA) clubbing 12 homers from this point forward. To date, he’s averaging one homer for every 14.78 at-bats. Extrapolating that figure over another 49 games (sitting out six) with four daily at-bats (conservative estimate), that’s another 196 at-bats for the season…or 13.26 home runs. AccuScore’s right in that ballpark.
  • I’ll reluctantly buy the “under” on Adam Dunn’s prediction of 14 homers from this point forward. For the season, Dunn (31 HR, 74 RBI, .205 BA) has a sterling trend of one homer for every 12.26 at-bats. But in the last 30 days, Dunn’s rate has regressed to one homer for every 15.2 at-bats.
  • Noticeably absent from this list: David Wright, Evan Longoria, Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Lind, Alex Rios, Ryan Zimmerman, Startling Marte, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kubel, Ike Davis, Brian McCann, Carlos Pena, Carlos Santana, Buster Posey, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Morneau, Hunter Pence, Dayan Viciedo, Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon.
  • I’ve seen approximately 12 of Paul Goldschmidt‘s 16 homers on live TV this season, via MLB Extra Innings. And that somehow led me to believe Goldy was belting bombs at a more prodigious rate than one homer per 21 at-bats (seasonal)…or one homer for every 16.1 at-bats (minus a shaky April). If he maintains that May-August pace, he’ll clear double digits.


Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

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Chicago White Sox: Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko Need to Catch Second Wind

The Chicago White Sox have pitching needs that should be addressed before the trade deadline. However, perhaps the larger concern lies in the heart of the batting order.

Chicago’s 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers Friday night cast the drought of the White Sox third and fourth hitters into full display. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko both went 0-for-4 for the evening. Dunn left two runners on base. Konerko was robbed of extra bases by Quintin Berry to end the game.

No matter how you slice it, the two are scuffling right now.

It’s been feast or famine for Dunn over the last few weeks. Since June 1, he has 25 hits in 41 games. Twelve of those went over the wall. Dunn put together an impressive series against the Royals last weekend, homering in all three games. Since then, his bat has been pretty silent.

Dunn has just one hit in his last 19 at-bats. Chicago has lost four of their last five and have seen their lead over the Tigers shrink to a half game.

Konerko has had his own struggles, which compounds the effects of Dunn’s slumping. Konerko is hitting .245 since the beginning of June. More problematic is the almost complete lack of power in his bat.

Konerko has just six extra base hits since June 1. Through 15 games in July, he has one double, no home runs and four runs batted in. Konerko’s July slugging percentage is .268.

Back in May, this combination was among baseball’s most potent duos. At this point, Dunn is having problems making contact and Konerko has no bite at the plate.

The players who precede and follow Dunn and Konerko have kept the White Sox afloat offensively. Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rios are hitting a combined .342 this month. Youkilis has 15 July RBI and Rios has knocked in 11 runs. Compare that to the 11 RBI combined from Dunn and Konerko in July.

As we near the end of July and the real start of the division race, Chicago is in need of a second wind from the heart of the lineup. Konerko is a .305 hitter in August over his long career. August and September have been Dunn’s least productive months.

Should we expect the huge spring numbers Dunn and Konerko put up in the first two months? That pace may be hard to replicate. However, the White Sox need a little bounce back from the two veteran sluggers to stay in the thick of the AL Central.

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2012 Chicago White Sox: Kenny Williams Deserves More Credit for the Sox Success

The Chicago White Sox have been a pleasant surprise in 2012.  After the departure of Ozzie Guillen and a series of disappointing years post-2005, the Sox looked as if they would be rebuilding at a rate not much faster than their cross-town counterparts. 

The Sox are at 34-30 and in sole possession of first place. They are approaching the all-star break with a half game lead over the Indians.  More importantly, they have a solid four game lead on the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers.

Many factors have contributed to the Sox’s success this spring, including the solid first year leadership of Robin Ventura and an MVP caliber first half from mainstay Paul Konerko. The Sox have been able to rebound from last year’s awful offensive season to become a threat to slug it out with any team in the league.

The person that deserves the most credit for this resurgence is Kenny Williams.  The much-maligned GM of the White Sox has always been passionate about fielding a competitive team on the south side and has made several moves, both good and bad to accomplish that. 

He has balanced keeping the main core of the 2005 championship team that all Sox fans have grown to love with several pieces that seemed primed to position them for success in the AL Central year-in year-out. 

He didn’t blow up the team and get rid of aging Sox heroes Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski; He didn’t try to solely build for the future, either, by saving money at the expense of Sox fans.

Instead, he found a way to bring back the mainstays of this Sox squad while issuing in talented players to compliment the young players that have been brought up into the mix. 

While the Cubs brass on the north side was often accused of standing pat and passing on opportunities to get better, the Sox have almost always opted to make moves that will keep them in contention. Unfortunately for Williams, in the past four years he has been tagged to his misses more than his successful moves.   

While he’s had had acquisitions like Omar Vizquel, Matt Thornton, JJ Putz and Orlando Cabrera that were productive; he’s had moves that did not work out like Mark Teahan, Manny Ramirez and Ken Griffey Jr. that people have put more emphasis on when judging him. 

If you throw in players he’s had mixed results with—Jim Thome, Nick Swisher, Juan Pierre, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras and Scott Linebrink—it really gets hard to judge how he has done with his active moments. 

On the other hand, he’s had some of his prized prospects not work out quite to their billing—like Brian Anderson, Gordon Beckham, Josh Fields, Chris Getz and Daniel Hudson (the prized prospect he let get away after a slow start).

Overall though, he’s made some awesome signings and produced some very good prospects. The core of his current team is built on rising star and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale. To go along with Sale is John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Alexei Ramirez. 

He has developed several prospects that have really shown great promise in Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers, Phil Humber and the ever-so-popular Brent Lillibridge.

He’s made timely signings in the past of Jermaine Dye, AJ Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik (twice) and Tad Iguchi, among others.

The biggest story with Kenny that shows how he deserves more credit is when some of his sure-bet signings went wrong on him in flukish fashion. It was hard to hear Williams get pounded for putting his neck out and acquiring players that were well regarded around the league like Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios

It seemed a little bit unfair that, given the Sox had a need for heavy-hitting productive players and top-of-the-rotation pitching depth, that Williams was slammed for getting players that fit the bill consistently over the course of their careers.

Jake Peavy was the opening day starter for Team USA in the last Baseball Classic and was consistently among the ERA and strikeout leaders in the NL for the Padres.  He was a unanimous CY Young winner in 2007, his ERA was under 3.00 three times, he struck out over 200 three times and despite an ankle injury that slowed him down, he was a great candidate to compliment the already solid pitching staff led by Buehrle, Danks and Floyd.   

It was perfectly reasonable to expect him to be back by the end of the 2009 season, make a few starts and be ready to go in 2010.  However, Peavy’s run in Chicago started with a rash of on and off again injuries and only a handful of quality, meaningful starts in his time in Chicago. That was frustrating to everyone, and counter to his track record, so it’s hard to blame Kenny for that lack of success.

Adam Dunn has been a model of consistency as an old school slugger.  He consistently has hit 40 home runs during the meat of his career.  Since 2004, his third full year in the big leagues, he has hit at least 40 home runs every year except for 2009 and 2010 for the Nationals in which he hit 38 in both seasons.  In that same time period, he only missed 100 RBI one time and that was in 2006 when he had 92 RBI for the Reds.  This is a span of seven years in which he was consistent and predictable in his production, all leading up to his signing with the White Sox. 

Sure he is a shoe in to strikeout 150 times or more almost every year, but you budget for that when you get a slugger like Dunn.  Given that the Sox needed more left-handed power depth in their order to protect Konerko in Jim Thome’s absence, this move made perfect sense.  However, in 2011, his first year with the Sox, he had a season to remember in the worst way. 

Adam Dunn may have arguably been the worst full-time hitter in the major leagues last year.  Some would argue his performance was historical.  After all of those productive years for three different teams, in 415 at bats he hit .159 with 11 HR and 42 RBI.  He struck out 177 times, which is more like him, but in every other way, Dunn’s performance was completely unrecognizable. 

Many slammed Williams for this signing, but that was unfair given the information and track record Williams was presented with prior to Dunn’s arrival in Chicago. There is no way you could predict or plan for such struggles, but it happened. 

Alex Rios is a little bit more of a debatable scenario because of the money that he is being paid ($12.5 million), but he was no slouch in Toronto either.  He had three or four very solid years including a .297, 24 HR 85 RBI season in 2007 and a .302 17 HR 86 RBI season in 2006. 

His struggles in Chicago were a surprise because, although he was having a sub par season in Toronto in 2009 when he came over, his first six years in the league had all been pretty respectable with averages generally around .300.

This year, Williams has gotten the last laugh on his high-investment decisions that seemed to have gone bad.  Jake Peavy has rebounded from several seasons of injury-plagued ball on the south side with a sparkling 6-2 record with a 2.91 ERA and 78 Strikeouts in 13 starts.  He is 6th in the AL in ERA and 7th in strikeouts. 

This is the type of pitcher that Kenny Williams hoped to get in the long run and had no reason to believe he wouldn’t get. 

Adam Dunn, after his miserable 2011 campaign, is currently leading the Major Leagues with 23 home runs.  That total is one more than Josh Hamilton, who is arguably the most feared hitter in Major League Baseball. 

Very few of his home runs have been cheap also.  He has been dead on the ball and hit several towering majestic flies. He is also second in the AL with 52 RBI.  His batting average is still pretty low, but this is pretty much what Kenny signed up for when he got him last year. 

It’s hard to hold an odd aberration season like what he had last year against Kenny Williams.  The proof is in the pudding, you book Adam Dunn for 35-40 HR and 100 RBI every year, and it appears this year should be no different.

Even Alex Rios has bounced back to have a solid season thus far, batting .294 with 32 RBI.  He may not be performing on the level of Dunn and Peavy, but he is producing on a level that makes the idea of having him on the team as a productive force a respectable one, unlike other years in his tenure for the Sox.

In the end, even after letting go of the face of the organization and letting guys like Carlos Quentin and Mark Buehrle go in free agency, the White Sox are relevant once again.  He helped make the solid decision to hire good-looking skipper Robin Ventura, and the moves he made in the past have all seemed to pan out now. 

Kenny deserves some credit for his work as GM here in Chicago since 2000 and people should be patient when player’s and/or teams have aberration type bad years. 

Obviously he helped bring a Championship to Chicago, but he deserves credit for making a variety of moves that give the Sox a chance year-in and year-out to compete for another one. He has never been satisfied and although some of his moves have not worked out for him, you can never knock him for trying.

We’ll see if they can make a run at another AL Central title in this year and add another impressive notation to Kenny Williams’s resume in unlikely fashion.

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Adam Dunn Could Change the AL MVP Race

Adam Dunn has been hammering away home runs for the Chicago White Sox all season long. While Dunn is an early odds-on favorite to win the AL Comeback Player of the Year award, his resurgence could also possibly help one of his teammates win a prestigious honor.

In a previous article, I spoke about the AL’s two MVP candidates: Josh Hamilton and Paul Konerko. At the time, Hamilton was leading the AL in home runs and RBI.

Do not look now, but Adam Dunn has surpassed Hamilton in home runs with 23 versus 22. Dunn is also gaining steam in the RBI department, with 52 to Hamilton’s 62.

Dunn can help sway MVP voters to Konerko if he maintains the MLB lead in home runs and catches Hamilton in RBI.

Here is a possible scenario for the White Sox:

Let’s say that Konerko wins the batting title with an average of .370 or more and finishes in the top 10 in home runs, RBI and doubles. Dunn leads the league with close to 50 home runs and bests Hamilton by five or more. In the process Dunn wrestles away the RBI lead and Hamilton either suffers from an injury or from fatigue.

All things considered, the idea of Konerko winning the MVP would not be as inconceivable as it once seemed, especially if the White Sox win the AL Central.

This would be a huge accomplishment not only for Dunn and Konerko, but for a White Sox team that came into the season with very little expectations.

Although it is still early in the season, there are several things yet to be decided. Josh Hamilton was once considered a shoo-in for the MVP award, but with the help of an unlikely hero, Paul Konerko is lurking. If Adam Dunn can somehow get his batting average up, he could be considered a dark-horse for MVP as well.

It is proof that baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.   

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