Needing a bat to bolster a starting lineup that's struggled since the departure of Yoenis Cespedes, the Oakland Athletics acquired designated hitter Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox.
The Athletics announced they will send minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn to Chicago:
#Athletics acquire Adam Dunn and cash considerations from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn.— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) August 31, 2014
ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Oakland will pay approximately half of Dunn's remaining $2.5 million salary.
Dunn will join Oakland on Monday for the first game of its series against the Seattle Mariners. The deal comes just hours before MLB's waiver trade deadline. Teams must agree to terms and send deals into the office for approval by 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday evening.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also passed along that it will likely be Dunn's final season:
big day for adam dunn. OKs trade to a's for great chance at 1st postseason. tells chi media '14 likely it for him. class act— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 31, 2014
Dunn, who successfully passed waivers earlier this month, was eligible to be traded but controlled his own destiny thanks to his no-trade clause. Landing in Oakland, which sits comfortably ahead in the first American League wild-card spot, should allow Dunn to compete for his first championship.
The 34-year-old slugger is hitting .220/.340/.433 this season with 20 home runs and 54 RBI. He is in the final season of the four-year, $56 million deal he signed with Chicago before the 2011 campaign. Sitting in fourth place in the AL Central, with their season all but over, the White Sox were eager to recoup something of value before Dunn hits free agency.
Adam Dunn is 1 of 4 players with 400 or more home runs to never hit .300 in a qualified single-season (Killebrew, Kingman & Darrell Evans)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 31, 2014
"It has been a very difficult time here," Dunn recently told reporters. "And there are so many young guys on this team, I really want them to know not only how to play on the field...but how to handle themselves by being good teammates, by being good people. More than anything I do on the field, that's the most important thing I will leave, hopefully a lasting impression."
Sanburn was Oakland's 10th-best prospect coming into the season, according to Baseball America. The 23-year-old righty is 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 71.1 innings with Single-A Stockton, working entirely out of the bullpen. He was a second-round pick out of Arkansas in the 2012 draft.
Sanburn is the third top-10 prospect the Athletics have traded in 2014. With general manager Billy Beane sensing an opportunity for his first World Series, he sent shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney—the top two prospects in a deep system—to the Chicago Cubs for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Beane also rolled the dice at the trade deadline by sending Cespedes, their second-best offensive player behind Josh Donaldson, to Boston for Jon Lester. The moves have ultimately backfired thus far, with the A's sliding behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West while struggling to produce runs. While still holding the highest run total and run differential in baseball, Oakland is tied for 20th in runs scored in August.
Dunn profiles similarly to Cespedes from a production standpoint and should help right the middle of the order in time for the playoffs. Adding Dunn might also force John Jaso into a full-time backup role, though that depends on whether Oakland plans on using Dunn in the field. Dunn has played 23 games at first base and six in the outfield this season.
Openly considering retirement, going to Oakland could reinvigorate his love for the day-to-day grind or provide a final opportunity to ride off in the sunset. With Oakland all-in on earning a pennant in 2014, Beane and Co. are crossing their fingers for the latter.
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