Maybe in time I’ll see things in a different way, but all I can think about is right now and right now you let me down. Right now you let me down. You let me down. -Black Flag
There was a time Adam Dunn was one of the premier left-handed power hitters in all of baseball who showed great patience at the plate. I know, I know, this cat has been known to stike out a lot, but he has nonetheless compiled a career on-base percentage above .380. In fact, coming in to this season, Dunn has been one of the game’s most prolific sluggers going for seven consecutive seasons with at least 38 bombs and a hefty .850 OPS. That’s why Billy Williams and the White Sox signed him for all that money. The White Sox, reeling from their 2010 finish when they failed to win the AL Central, desperately wanted a left-handed bat. Desperately seeking Susan. They tried several times during the summer to trade for Dunn, but couldn’t reach an agreement with the Nationals. They even entertained the idea of bringing back DH Jim Thome, who helped the Minnesota Twins to the division title last season. But no, they ultimately signed Dunn. Like my main John Belushi always says, “I came out here, I didn’t have to. I could have stayed in my dressing room, by myself, and let you die out here alone. But nooooo! I gotta come out here and help you, and what do you do? You turn on me like a shark!”
Adam Dunn has turned on the White Sox like a shark. I know, it’s not intentional, but when you’re Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox, and you’re hitting a measly .163 with a robust 145 strikeout count on August 11, and you’re in the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract, it just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter because now you’ve got a target on your back. It just doesn’t matter because now Chicago fans and people like me are openly questioning whether your season and your contract are the worst in history. Barry Zito worst. Andruw Jones worst. Vernon Wells worst. Darren Dreifort worst. At least he’s not Denny Neagle worst. Neagle coupled his bad contract with a DUI arrest, another for soliciting a prostitute and ultimately a buyout. But make no mistakes, this Dunn contract still looks, pretty, pretty, pretttttty bad.
How bad? Glad you asked. Dunn is on pace for just 16 homers and 57 RBIs. His OPS of .598 is nearly 300 points below his career norm (.883). His batting average of .165 would make Rob Deer look good. You remember Rob Deer, doncha? Sure you do. In 1991, Rob Deer, with his .179 batting average, set the record for the lowest in baseball history by a hitter with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. You know what else Rob Deer did in 1991? Huh? Do Ya? In 1991 Rob Deer led the majors in strikeouts with 175. Dunn? He’s on pace for 202. Wait, it gets worse.
Last night, Adam Dunn went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the White Sox’ loss to the Orioles. You might be asking what I had to ask every year at Passover. You might be asking, “Ma nishtana ha-laila ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lelot?” For the unitiated, that means, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” That’s just it. It’s not different. It’s not different at all. In fact, it is the 17th game this season in which Dunn went hitless with at least three strikeouts. Big deal, you say? Who cares, you say? I say that sets a major-league record in that category. I say the previous mark was 16 games with no hits and three-or-more strikeouts by Arizona’s Mark Reynolds in 2009. Ozzie Guillen says, “I think he should learn his lesson. He has to put himself in shape and come to spring training in shape and stay there.”
Peace out homies. Six two and even!