White Sox reportedly targeting Nationals slugger Adam Dunn

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Last week general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals were “looking into” a contract extension for impending free agent Adam Dunn and “have been talking about it since spring training.”
Dunn has made it clear that he’d like to remain in Washington beyond his current two-year, $20 million contract, but my sense has been that the Nationals aren’t sure if they really want to make a long-term commitment to an over-30, should-be designated hitter.
All of which is why today’s report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that the White Sox are pursuing a trade for Dunn is no shocker. They looked like a team in turmoil and were seemingly on the verge of selling off their own veterans just a few weeks ago, but after starting the season 24-33 the White Sox have won 15 of 18 games to pull within two games in the AL Central.
Chicago’s impressive run has been based mostly on excellent starting pitching, as the offense ranks just 10th in scoring. Production from the designated hitter spot has been particularly bad, with a rotating cast of eight different players led by Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones combining to hit just .218 with a .293 on-base percentage and .371 slugging percentage in 66 games. In other words, Dunn would be a perfect fit.
Dunn tends to be underrated by people who focus on his strikeouts and overrated by people who ignore his bad defense, but his overall production has been outstanding regardless of how often he’s made contact and moving to the AL would allow him to ditch the glove entirely. Dunn is on pace for a seventh straight year with 35-plus homers and ranks eighth in the NL with a .925 OPS that’s just slightly above his .904 career mark.
White Sox general manager Ken Williams has a long history of bold moves and adding Dunn at a spot where the team has been among the worst in baseball would make a huge impact.

Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.