Adam Dunn is now a former member of the Chicago White Sox.
In the latest trade of this disappointing campaign, the Sox shipped Dunn to the Oakland A’s on Sunday in exchange for pitching prospect Nolan Sanburn.
General manager Rick Hahn pointed out that Dunn waived the no-trade clause in his contract to accept the move to the Bay Area.
“We had some pretty robust conversations over the last couple of days,” Hahn said before Sunday’s game. “We zeroed in on the Oakland deal in the last 13 or 14 hours. I had a conversation with Adam postgame yesterday. Something that I don’t think is widely known is he did have to wave his no-trade clause to go to Oakland. He deserves credit for that. He saw an opportunity where he had a chance to play and on a potential winning team. So, appreciate the fact that he saw the opportunity and took it.”
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The move ends Dunn’s four-year tenure on the South Side that often saw him criticized by fans for his high strikeout numbers. Though he finished with perhaps a less-than-ideal stat line — including a .201 batting average and 720 strikeouts — he still belted 106 home runs, drove in 278 runs and finished with a .321 on-base percentage in his White Sox career. He was an All Star in 2012, a season in which he led baseball in walks, as well as in strikeouts.
But while fans often let Dunn know how unhappy they were with his swings and misses, the Sox let the slugger know on his way out how much he meant to them as a teammate.
"Well, I mean, great teammate. Those are the things, for me, that are really important things that people don't see, is him inside the clubhouse, just kind of how to act, how to go about your business and be accountable,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think he's one of the best I've ever been around for that, so I'm happy that he gets to go somewhere and get a chance to make it to the playoffs. But he's a guy that came in and I know that for all three years, he's been a leader.”
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Dunn has hit 460 home runs in his 14-year career — he ranked 36th on baseball’s all-time list heading into play Sunday — but he’s never reached the postseason. This trade to the playoff-bound A’s could give him the opportunity to play in October, something that Hahn and Ventura were happy about for Dunn.
"I think even talking to him about it, it's one thing to kind of feel comfortable where you're at. I think this is just an opportunity for him that he should've taken,” Ventura said. “It came about and you talk to him about it, you're happy that he gets a chance to go do this. I think even if he does happen to hang it up after this year, he'll at least get a shot at doing this."
Dunn becomes the latest prominent Sox player traded in the past month. Second baseman Gordon Beckham was dealt to the Angels on Aug. 21, and outfielder Alejandro De Aza was traded to the Orioles on Saturday night.
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This follows the departures of Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton and Alex Rios in 2013. Paul Konerko has one month left in his career. All in all, it means the Sox will look almost completely different on Opening Day 2015 than they did on Opening Day 2013. It’s part of an overhaul that Hahn hopes will pay off for the team as younger players get a chance to step into the roles vacated by underperforming veterans.
“Obviously when we see the opportunity to get better or create some flexibility or improve the system, we take it — so long as we feel it’s going to be our best opportunity,” Hahn said. “At the end of July, deals like this didn’t exist for us. Whether it was teams had other priorities or we just couldn’t match up on players. We wanted to wait. I think our patience in this regard paid off.
“(Dunn)’s been here a long time, he fit in great with our guys, and I’m sure there’s a little bit of sadness for him in leaving here. But at the same time, he’s getting a chance to win and getting a chance to go to the playoffs for the first time in his career. I for one am excited for him. I’m excited for Alejandro for the chance to get to the postseason and Gordon, as well. It’s good. I mean last year seeing Jake win and Matt Thornton get a ring, you get a sense of happiness for each of them. But I look forward to the time when we’re getting congratulatory messages from our former players opposed to the other way.”