Considering Paul Konerko‘s age and his massive decline in 2013, it’s little surprise that the retirement vultures have circled the Chicago White Sox veteran all season.
Adam Dunn, however, is a different story.
When the slugger hinted Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that he would potentially leave the $15 million owed to him on the table and walk away from the game if he was no longer having fun doing it, it came somewhat out of left field … even though you could definitely understand why the 32-year-old isn’t having too much fun with the Pale Hose these days.
It’s not really the first time that the issue has come up either. Remember when ex-Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi suggested in exasperation that Dunn didn’t even like baseball that much? Well …
Still, that’s not reason why the retirement talk over the perennial 40-homer man is something of a surprise. No, the reason why it is the case it because well … he’s still more or less the same power hitter than he’s been his entire career — so if it ain’t broke, why change it?
It may now have seemed that way with Dunn having gotten off to a bewilderingly poor first two months at the plate despite slugging 12 homers in those first 48 games, but he’s actually been mostly status quo since. He’s still on pace for about 35 homers, his month-to-month batting average hasn’t fallen below .250 since June, and his .260/.358/.409 second-half line is the result of a new approach learned to combat the shift.
Sure, maybe his 0.1 fWAR isn’t so good thanks to his 7.9 fielding runs below average, but his 6.3 batting runs above average suggests that the can still be an effective asset as a DH in the game.
In fact, considering that he’s arguably just at the tail end of his prime at this age and that he’s managed to post a four-year low strikeout rate of 29.5 percent on the season, Dunn may still have the capacity to learn a thing or two and still be a contributing member of a baseball team.
Is the White Sox that team? Well, probably not, but that doesn’t mean Dunn isn’t capable of having more fun in a team where he’d be a better fit.