After many experts predicted that Adam Dunn would pick a National League team, he surprised many and picked the American League’s Chicago White Sox. Dunn has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be used as a designated hitter. The White Sox must have made a promise to the slugger that he will be used at first-base and maybe occasionally in the outfield. How does this impact the rest of the Majors and the team on the Northside?
Dunn and the White Sox have agreed on a 4-year/$56 million dollar deal. Chicago is in need of a designated hitter, even if they promised Dunn that he wouldn’t play there, they could be playing a waiting game. Dunn is 31 years old and scouts have said that he would be best used at DH at this point in his career. Even though his defensive skills have dropped off, his bat has not shown signs of slowing down. He has hit at least 38 home runs the last 8 seasons and is an on-base percentage machine. He may strike out over 170 times a season, but he drives in runs and draws around 100 walks a season. His impact on a team is proven and will make the White Sox a better team. He will protect Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, and Paul Konerko, if they re-sign him.
The White Sox finished 88-74 last season and the addition of Dunn will add some wins to that total. The Minnesota Twins are the cream of the division and this will close the gap between the teams. The Tigers, Royals, and Indians are all teams in transition and I see the AL Central as a two-team race in 2011.
The initial rumors of teams that Dunn would consider had the Chicago Cubs on top of that list. The amount of the contract may have blow the Cubs out of the water or the years of the deal. The Cubs need to wait a few years for a few bad contracts to come off the books before they add a contract like Dunn signed. They are in the market for a left-handed first baseman with power, Dunn would have fit their need. To make matters worse for the Cubs, Dunn has slaughtered them at Wrigley Field and has done very well there. They will see Dunn a few times over the next years during the cross-town rivalry games.
Dunn will do well at U.S. Cellular Field and will give American League pitchers fits, eventually. He has spent his entire career in the National League. There could be a learning curve for Dunn, since he is strikeout prone, it could take him the first half of the season to learn how to hit certain pitchers. The White Sox made a smart move, GM Kenny Williams has been known to take a gamble, but this is close to a sure thing.