Adam Dunn is hitting .173 with 100 strikeouts in 67 games, including a ridiculous 1-for-53 mark against lefties, but White Sox general manager Ken Williams said yesterday that he’d sign the struggling slugger to a four-year, $56 million deal again.
“I would make the same move tomorrow,” Williams told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, adding:
If you look at his timeline since he’s been in the big leagues, it’s a pretty damn good body of work. What he’s going through now, when it is said and done, will be a little blip on that line. I told him I do not regret the decision in any way, shape or form. I believe we needed him, I believed it when we got him and I still believe he will play the major part we thought he was going to. It just hasn’t turned out to this point.
Williams is absolutely right that Dunn’s track record is both excellent and consistent, with an OPS above .800 in each of his first 10 seasons before falling apart this year. On the other hand, when a player has been awful through about 12.5 percent of a $56 million contract it seems sort of disingenuous so suggest you’d gladly do the deal over again.
Of course, perhaps Williams is really saying that, if they did the contract over again and played the first half over again Dunn probably wouldn’t hit .173. And he’s right. Odds are Dunn will come around and give the White Sox plenty of value for the remaining 3.5 seasons of the deal, but so far they’ve paid about $7 million for 67 games of arguably the worst player in baseball.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.