White Sox drop slumping Adam Dunn to seventh spot

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Over the weekend Ozzie Guillen explained that he was going to stick with Adam Dunn as the White Sox’s third-place hitter because “this guy is very important in our lineup” and “the only way he’s going to hit is to play him.”

At that point Dunn had batted third in 20 straight games, but the day after uttering those words Guillen moved him to the fifth spot and now less than a week later the manager has decided to drop Dunn all the way down to the seventh spot.

Here’s what Guillen told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago:

I want to make sure he relaxes a little bit. It’s not to punish him. Right now he’s a little frustrated. I think we kind of worry about him. You can see him kind of worry about it. After his at-bat he’s very down. But I have to continue to play him.

I hope batting him seventh he will get a break and relax a little bit. Hopefully that works. When he starts swinging the bat better we will move him back to where he’s supposed to be.

Dunn, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox as a free agent after posting an OPS above .850 in seven straight seasons, has gone 0-for-33 versus left-handed pitching and is currently in a 4-for-40 slump overall.

He also leads the league in strikeouts, but that’s nothing new and wouldn’t be an issue if Dunn were producing like he usually does. Instead he’s hitting .186 with five homers and a .660 OPS that’s 235 points below his career norm.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.