White Sox Sign Adam Dunn, Red Sox Sign Adrian Gonzalez

December 7, 2010

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The Chicago White Sox signed free agent Adam Dunn to a 4 year deal worth $14 million per year.  The deal will allow Dunn to play his best defensive position – DH.  All kidding aside, I like this deal for the White Sox.   Dunn brings tremendous power, belting at least 38 homers in seven consecutive seasons.  He also walks quite a lot, transforming his lackluster .250 career batting average into a stellar .381 career on base percentage.

The knock on Dunn, of course, is his ability to strike out. He has struck out at least 164 times in every season in which he has accumulated at least 400 at bats.  That’s a huge number of strikeouts.  Unfortunately, it gets more attention than it deserves.  It would be great if he could cut down the strikeouts and hit .275 instead of .250, but the fact of the matter is that strikeouts aren’t much worse than other outs – a .250 hitter who strikes out a ton isn’t much worse than a .250 hitter who strikes out half as much.

Interesting tidbit that casual fans might not know about Dunn – he was once a backup quarterback at the University of Texas.

On the other side of the sock drawer, the crimson hose traded for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonazalez.  Gonzalez is a player who would be one of the most underrated players in the game, if not for media attention that has focused on how underrated he is (oh sweet irony!).  In spite of playing in a park that depresses offensive numbers for hitters, Gonazlez has emerged as one of the leading power hitters in the game – hitting 30+ home runs in each of the past four seasons.  A switch to hitter-friendly Fenway Park should certainly boost his offensive stats.  Gonzalez is also a two time Gold Glove award winner for his defensive play.

I do urge people to take one thing into account with Gonzalez.  While his career road numbers are much better than his career home numbers (.943 OPS vs .800 OPS), this isn’t entirely the effect of Petco Park.  Due to baseball’s unbalanced schedule, Gonzalez has played a disproportionate number of road games in Colorado and Arizona – home to two of the best hitter’s parks in baseball.  This will have a tendency to prop up his road stats a bit.  It’s dangerous to use raw road stats when making comparisons.  My article on park effects is also applicable to this discussion.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees finally called off their game of chicken, with Jeter signing a deal that will pay him $51 million over the next three years, with a complex points-based player option for the 2014 season.  This is much more money than Jeter is really worth at this stage in his career (most players tend to see their skills erode as his age – a sad fact of growing older) but is much less than the $23 million per year that Jeter was reportedly seeking.

On the gridiron, the Denver Broncos bucked Josh McDaniels from his saddle.  McDaniels took over the reigns at the beginning on the 2009 season.  He quickly jettisoned a digruntled Jay Cutler (hey, would YOU be gruntled if there were rumors that the new coach was trying to acquire Matt Cassel to replace you?) and replacing him with Kyle Orton.  J-Mac roared out to a 6-0 start, and many glasses of Coors were held aloft to toast the genius.

The bottom fell out quickly.  The 2009 Broncos lost four straight games after their undefeated start and finished 8-8.  In 2010, the Broncos stand at 3-9 and also found themselves embroiled a controversy involved the unauthorized videotaping of an opponent’s practice session.

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