Adam Dunn will miss the White Sox.
He'll miss Chicago, he'll miss his teammates, he'll miss the security guards. But at the same time, Dunn knows he has an opportunity he couldn't have passed up: reaching the playoffs for the first time in his 14-year career.
"You know, it's not just baseball stuff that you have to worry about," Dunn said when asked how he made the decision to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the Oakland A's on Sunday. "You've got four other people that kind of depend on you, and obviously I'm going to a place with a chance to not only get into the postseason but also have a legitimate chance to get a ring. Those chances don't come too often, so I'm very appreciative of the way it was handled and for Rick (Hahn) and them to give me an opportunity to do it."
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Dunn discussed the people he'd be leaving behind when he takes off for the Bay Area, but he was giddy to start what he called "a new chapter" with a team holding onto an American League Wild Card spot and four games out of first place in the AL West. The postseason is a real possibility for Dunn, something that he didn't experience during his four-year stay on the South Side. And he's pretty amped to get going.
"It really feels like Opening Day. It's a really good shot in the arm, for me especially," Dunn said. "It's pretty easy waking up this morning and knowing you're going to be somewhere tomorrow that has a legitimate chance to do something that you've worked your entire career to do. Now I'm getting a chance."
Dunn faced plenty of pressure while with the Sox, be it the large expectations of his large contract or the frustrations of fans who were displeased with his high number of strikeouts. Going to Oakland, Dunn said, he can face the kind of pressure he wants to face.
“It’s huge. That’s a lot of pressure that I want," he said. "Again, it feels literally like Opening Day is tomorrow. It’s going to be a completely new start for me. What’s happened the last four years, it’s over. This is kind of a new chapter, and I’ve got a month to go out and do what I’m capable of doing.”
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The slugger — who with 460 long balls ranks 36th on baseball's all-time home run list — didn't sugarcoat his White Sox career, which ended with a .201/.321/.410 slash line, 106 home runs and 278 RBIs. Though he was an AL All Star in 2012, his Sox career featured plenty of downsides, including a miserable first year with the team that saw him bat .159 and four years worth of strikeouts that ended totaling 720.
As Hahn put it earlier Sunday, the ultimate goal of a championship wasn't reached during Dunn's time. And that was the bottom line.
"Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to beat around the bush and say the four years here was great because it was just bad," Dunn said. "I did completely to myself. I don't blame, I just don't want to blame. I blame myself. But I met a lot of great people here. I wish things would've worked out better, but it didn't."
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But it's those people he met who were on on the forefront of Dunn's mind Sunday.
“When it’s all said and done, all you have is relationships you’ve made with people," he said. "I’ve made some pretty good relationships in my time here, not only with guys on the team but with security guards and people like that. There’s a lot of people that I’ll miss for sure."
But while those are long-term thoughts, the short term lies in Oakland. Dunn told reporters this will likely be his final season in the majors, and he wants to do the best he can to grab one more milestone before he calls it a career. He wants to get to the playoffs. And with the A's, he's got a darn good shot.
"Like I said, you don't get opportunities like this often to go into a team that's a very, very good team," he said. "And hopefully I can go in there and not screw it up too bad and keep the mojo going and contribute."