The free-agent slugger has long been a target of Chicago general manager Kenny Williams, who reportedly has tried to trade for him more than once. Despite that longtime interest, not much had been said about the White Sox in pursuit of Dunn until earlier Thursday, but signing the 31-year-old immediately becomes their marquee offseason move.
Dunn has averaged 40 home runs a season since 2004 and clearly was the best pure power hitter in this year's free-agent class. He has spent his entire career in the National League, with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals, but moving to the AL will allow him to be utilized as a designated hitter for the first time outside of interleague play.
Though we're all aware by now that Dunn prefers to play in the field and not DH, it goes without saying that his value would be higher for any team that could keep him from allowing runs in the field while continuing to produce at the plate. An AL team would offer that opportunity, perhaps giving Dunn something of a soft landing into the DH role by easing him in over time.
It remains to be seen how the White Sox will use Dunn, aside from penciling him into the batting order every day. Their longtime first baseman Paul Konerko is a free agent, but there were reports Thursday that the Sox would like Konerko to return even with the Dunn deal.
The Nationals, meanwhile, will collect two draft picks after losing Dunn, a Type A free agent. They'll get Chicago's first-round pick, 23rd overall, and a compensatory pick between the first and second round.
The Adam Dunn deal signals the White Sox are serious about contending, says Steve Phillips: