Heading into 2014, Adam Dunn isn't concerned about a more limited role or about being part of a three-headed monster at first base.
And he isn't concerned about his stat line, either.
As long as the White Sox produce a winner and Dunn goes to the postseason for the first time in his career, he doesn’t care how it gets done. He believes as long as winning is the priority, the White Sox will determine how to divide up the playing time on a 25-man roster that features Dunn, Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu.
“It’s been like that from Day 1, but especially now,” Dunn said at SoxFest on Saturday afternoon. “That’s the number one thing. I can’t speak for Paul, but I’m assuming that’s why Paul’s coming back, and that’s why I’m excited to get this thing started.”
While the division of labor isn’t clear at this point, one aspect is: Abreu was signed to a six-year contract in the offseason to become the centerpiece of the team’s lineup.
In order to expedite the Cuban first baseman’s development, the White Sox intend to play him every day. That leaves the second spot to be divided up amongst Konerko and Dunn, who in 2013 played 126 and 149 games, respectively.
When Konerko returned on a one-year deal in December, the White Sox said the veteran would play against some left-handed pitchers and mostly pinch-hit. Konerko said Friday he believes his role would be much more limited than in the past. Dunn is expected to take most plate appearances against right-handed pitching, which figures to get him around 400 at-bats.
No matter how the situation looks from the outside, however, Dunn thinks it won’t be an issue. He and Konerko talked about the potential scenarios over the course of several phone calls this offseason before the team’s captain re-signed with the White Sox in December.
“The good news is there’s no egos, especially with me and Paul,” Dunn said. “We talked about it when he was making his decision. Whatever is going to help us win that night, I know he’s for it and I’m for it. That to me is a non-issue.”
Dunn is headed into his 14th season in the majors.
Through 1,870 games played, Dunn has never reached the postseason, marking the 22nd most appearances in major league history without having made the playoffs. He could potentially move up to No. 12 on that list this season.
To illustrate how badly he wants a postseason appearance, Dunn said he would have been ecstatic in 2011 — despite the worst offensive numbers of his career — if the White Sox had reached the playoffs.
Dunn hit .159 with 11 home runs that season.
“The ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and if you don’t give yourself that chance… You’ve got to get in the playoffs,” Dunn said. “I don’t care how good or bad, it’s over and you didn’t accomplish the goal. … If in ’11 we would have made the playoffs, I would have been happier than anybody in the clubhouse.”