Adam Dunn has been noticeably dormant in the final month for the Chicago White Sox. Dunn has played only three games this month. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has kept him on the bench for good reason.
Dunn has greatly disappointed this season. In his first year of a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, Dunn has posted historically poor numbers.
Instead of providing much-needed left-handed power, he has produced some of the worst power numbers one could imagine him producing.
Alex Rios is another player with whom the White Sox find themselves in a rotten deal. The White Sox thought they had a solid center field player when they acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009. However, Rios has done little to please. This season, he has been of especially little value to the White Sox.
Dunn and Rios headline the least valuable players for the White Sox.
Omar Vizquel has had a great career. After amassing 13 Gold Glove awards, Vizquel will be able to hang his hat as one of the greatest shortstops ever.
However, his lifetime achievements do not speak for what little he has done for the White Sox this season. Vizquel has been able to eke out some decent hitting seasons late in his career. The 2011 campaign has not been one of them.
Vizquel is hitting only .245 with eight RBI and a .282 on-base percentage in 178 plate appearances. Also, Vizquel has a minus-0.7 wins above replacement figure. As always, his fielding has been solid. Vizquel boasts a .992 fielding percentage and has only committed one error.
Nevertheless, being one of the greatest fielding shortstops in the history of the game speaks nothing for a player's inability to reach base. This might be Vizquel's last season. Hardly could it be considered one of his memorable seasons.
Tony Pena has seen his career spiral downward in the last two years.
In 2010, Pena saw his ERA jump more than a run to 5.10. This season, it rose about the same amount to 6.20. Pena had a 1.72 WHIP and allowed 11.1 hits per nine innings before being lost for the season with elbow tendinitis.
Pena may undergo Tommy John surgery during the offseason.
Tommy John surgery makes a big difference for some pitchers. However, Pena may not see the benefits of the surgery with the White Sox when he is healthy to pitch, which may not be until next May or June.
Pena is only signed with the White Sox for the 2011 season.
His performance in the last two seasons does not give the White Sox much reason to re-sign him.
Brent Morel has been fighting hard to hang onto his starting job at third base. He will have to fight very hard to keep it for next season.
Morel has been one of those White Sox hitters weighing down the team at the plate. He is one of four starters with a sub-.300 OBP. Morel has had three months with an OBP below .300.
Morel has lacked patience at the plate, taking only 14 walks this season. Recently, he seems to have centered himself. He has yielded 10 walks in the last 20 games.
Also, Morel has given the White Sox little run production. Morel had a .295 slugging percentage entering the All-Star break. Entering September, he had only 22 RBI. In his recent scamper, he has amounted five home runs, a .785 SLG and 10 RBI in September.
Still, his RBI total is 28th among MLB third basemen.
For Morel, it would be nice to be able to say that he could ensure his starting job for 2012 by hitting well through the end of the season.
On the other hand, Guillen may have to give him competition in spring training, considering his poor performance for the better part of the year.
Rios provided late-game heroics for the White Sox against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday with a game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning. Such heroics from Rios have been rare.
In 2011, Rios has played in a way that should make Kenny Williams feel bitter about having to pay him $37 million for the next three seasons. Rios, as well as Dunn, has been one of the least productive players in Major League Baseball. Rios is next to last in MLB in OBP (.257) and OPS (.585). His 10 home runs are only about half of his 2010 total.
As much attention as Dunn has received for having underperformed, the argument can be made that Rios has done worse since his numbers are slightly lower.
Rios will need to work very hard in order to prove to the White Sox that he is worth his pay.
The fact that Adam Dunn is the least valuable player for the White Sox this season is no small wonder.
Dunn has had the worst season in the history of the designated hitter position.
No designated hitter has ever had a worse on-base plus slugging percentage.
Dunn is next to last in MLB in OPS (.577). His batting average sits at .162, 48 points lower than the next-worst hitter, Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson.
The White Sox had expected Dunn to burst forth with run production, but instead he has been dry.
Dunn is tied with Jorge Posada for last among designated hitters with 40 RBI.
He has two fewer home runs than Brent Lillibridge in twice as many at-bats.
In fact, Dunn has been comically bad. The Onion declared that Dunn is no longer a baseball player. Stephen Colbert said Dunn has the hardest time reaching base than any player since Colbert himself.
While Dunn has been laughably bad, his dismal hitting will be no laughing matter for the White Sox if it persists after this season.