Adam Dunn famously doesn’t swing a bat during the offseason and that approach has certainly worked for a long time, as he came into this season with an OPS above .800 in each of his first 10 years.
However, with Dunn going through an epic collapse that includes a .165 batting average and league-leading 143 strikeouts in 97 games this season the struggling slugger told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he plans to change his offseason approach “to not let this happen again.”
It seems unlikely that not hitting during the offseason has finally caught up to Dunn a decade into his big-league career, but given how horrible he’s been and how much money the White Sox still owe him through 2014 it’s good to see a willingness to do whatever the team asks. Basically, when you hit during the season you can get away with not hitting at all during the offseason, but when that’s no longer the case it can’t hurt to pick up a bat in December.
What’s amazing about Dunn’s collapse is that at no point has he gotten hot for even a few weeks at a time, with month-by-month batting averages of .160, .204, .136, .145, and .167. May is the only time he topped a .600 OPS and his overall mark versus left-handed pitchers is a ridiculous 3-for-78 (.038) with zero homers and 35 strikeouts.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.