Last season Adam Dunn was hitting so poorly when interleague play began that the White Sox didn’t see much benefit to using him in the outfield to get his bat into the lineup.
Dunn made just two starts in the outfield all season on the way to hitting .159 with 177 strikeouts in 127 games.
This season, however, Dunn is back to his usual power-hitting, walk-drawing self and so manager Robin Ventura is willing to take a hit defensively to keep that production in the middle of the lineup once the White Sox start playing NL teams.
Dunn has 11 homers, nine doubles, and 28 walks in 35 games for a .993 OPS and Ventura told Chris Silva of ESPN Chicago that he plans to use the defensively challenged slugger in left field because “the way he’s swinging it and what he does for our lineup he needs to find a way to be in there.”
Dunn hasn’t started a game in left field since 2009 with the Nationals and has just 14 total innings in the outfield since then, but Chicago’s current starting left fielder, Dayan Viciedo, is hardly a defensive standout either and he’s hitting just .196.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.