Chicago White Sox: What Ozzie Guillen and His Staff Knew About Adam Dunn
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Apparently it took all of one day last March to know they'd signed a lemon to DH.
If former manager Ozzie Guillen can be taken at his word, the coaching staff was aware of Dunn's transformation from slugger-to-slug long before fans were treated to a monumental drop in production. Dunn hit .159 for 2011 and was a primary reason the White Sox underperformed.
That's bad enough. What is worse is that Guillen and his staff saw it coming a mile away.
Guillen was a guest on Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman's Lunch With A Legend show on ESPN-1000 Friday. On the show, Guillen recounted a conversation he had with hitting coach Greg Walker hours into the first workouts:
"[Greg Walker] says 'We have a problem,' I say 'What? Spring training is only a couple of days [old].' He says 'You've got to come out and see Adam Dunn's swing.' I said 'Don't worry about it. We've got a month and a half to get ready, go through spring training. Don't worry about it.' "
Then Guillen took his own look under the hood:
"I looked at his swing and I told [bench coach] Joey Cora going home, 'We've got a big problem.' "
The big problems for the Big Donkey included a bout with appendicitis that was often cited as a potential reason for the plummeting offensive numbers. Turns out, a fully healthy Dunn would have still struggled mightily to contribute to the team.
Dunn's career averages, even including last season, are a .243 average, 38 homers and 95 RBI. Even a down year by those standards would have acceptable if not criticized. A drop of 84 points, 27 homers and 53 RBI sunk Chicago and provided the fans plenty of opportunities to boo the embattled Dunn several times a game.
Dunn's lack of offseason batting practice came into full focus as he and the team did everything they could to right the ship. Video study (supposedly his first) and extra batting practice went without much effect.
And still, Guillen kept sending Dunn to the plate four or five times a game throughout the summer. Of course, with the team footing the bill, Guillen may not have been solely responsible for keeping Dunn in the lineup.
Dunn is another year older and $14 million richer heading into 2012. Hopefully new skipper Robin Ventura receives a better omen when he checks out Dunn's swing this spring.
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