Adam Dunn paused, as if mentally stepping out of the batter’s box to collect his thoughts, then answered the question about his intentions to continue playing beyond this season.
“This is probably going to be it … this is probably going to be it,” Dunn said. “This is an opportunity … I’ve been playing a long time and haven’t got this opportunity, so I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
Dunn’s opportunity to participate in the postseason came about Sunday when the White Sox traded him to the Athletics. The Sox received minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn and salary relief from Dunn’s hefty contract.
“I don’t think (I could be talked out of retirement) … kind of the way that everything’s gone down, and the family,” Dunn told reporters outside the Sox’s clubhouse as his former team defeated the Tigers 6-2 at U.S. Cellular Field. “I think you know when it’s time. I feel like now’s as good a time as any.”
While disappointed Sox fans routinely voiced their disappointment in Dunn with cascading boos because of his propensity to strike out, his former Sox teammates and manager Robin Ventura showered Dunn with praise for being the consummate professional and dependable teammate.
Sox general manager Rick Hahn was reluctant to talk about the specific money saved by dealing Dunn. He traded outfielder Alejandro De Aza to the Orioles on Saturday night for two minor league pitchers. Prior to that, second baseman Gordon Beckham was sent to the Angels.
“It’s tacky to talk about money like that,” Hahn said before adding: “On this (Dunn) deal alone, we are sending them seven figures and we are saving seven figures on this deal. The other ones, we shed what was remaining of each of their salaries, so we freed up some cash here as well as the playing time, and added at least in the last couple of days three quality arms to our system.”
Dunn, 34, is hitting .220 with 20 homers, 54 RBIs and 65 walks in 106 games this season. He is a career .237 hitter with 460 homers and 1,158 RBIs over 14 seasons with the Reds (2001-08), Diamondbacks (2008), Nationals (2009-10) and Sox (2011-14).
“You know, it's not just baseball stuff that you have to worry about,” Dunn said of his decision to end his career whenever the playoff-hopeful A’s season concludes. “You've got four other people that kind of depend on you, and obviously I'm going to a place with a chance to not only get into the postseason but also have a legitimate chance to get a ring. Those chances don't come too often, so I'm very appreciative of the way it was handled and for Rick and them to give me an opportunity to do it.”
Paul Konerko said of Dunn: “The first year was a rough year, but if you look at a lot of his time here, he kind of did what he was supposed to be doing. I think people forget that. I know the first impression wasn’t good, but he wasn’t all bad. He had a lot of good times here. As a player and as a teammate … we look at it totally different than a lot of people on the outside, maybe even people in the front office.”
Ventura described his range of emotions after saying goodbye to veteran players such as Beckham, De Aza and Dunn.
“It's part of the game. There's guys in here you enjoy being around and you appreciate the work that they've done, with De Aza and now Dunner, but that's part of the game,” Ventura said. “You move on. These young guys don't want you sitting around longing for the other guys just because they're veterans. So you understand the emotions your own team's going through, but there's a game to play today and there's guys that are up here that are very excited.”
Roster shuffling: The Sox brought up slugging first baseman Andy Wilkins from Triple-A Charlotte. He started Sunday and was hitless with three strikeouts in his major league debut. Left-handed pitcher Scott Snodgress also was recalled. Outfielder Moises Sierra was activated from injury rehab.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun