Adam Dunn was pretty bad last year, you guys. *How bad was he?* He was so bad, Jeff Mathis was all like, “Man, that dude’s terrible.” That’s pretty bad.
Despite being one of the most prolific and consistent home run hitters of his generation, the White Sox DH’s cliff-falling exercise from 2011 has caused many to suggest his status as a baseball player sounds an awful lot like his namesake (AMIRIGHT?). Dunn’s 2004-2010 run put him in some pretty elite company. He hit at least 38 home runs in each year joining Rafael Palmeiro and Babe Ruth as the only three players in history to hit that many home runs in seven consecutive seasons.
What made it worse was the fact that he was only 31 and in the first year of a four-year, $56-million deal with the White Sox. It was one of the only free agent contracts handed out last season that I liked. No one saw last year coming.
Even the most basic understanding of the predictive qualities of baseball would allow you to see that Dunn was bound to bounce back somewhat in 2012. He couldn’t possibly be that bad after all. Just how much he bounces back is still clearly up for debate.
Well, so far this season, the results have been encouraging. Through 13 games and 57 plate appearances, Dunn has a .265/.368/.571 slash line with three home runs. That’s more like the Dunn we’ve come to know. Obviously it’s a small sample size, but given his track record, it’s not impossible to imagine his good start continuing.
Last night, Dunn had his best game in a White Sox uniform. In a 7-3 win over the Seattle Mariners, Dunn had his first multi-homer game as a south-sider in cavernous Safeco Field, driving in five on the way to the win. If Dunn is back, the White Sox’ chances of contending in the weak AL Central do go up, but unless Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Jake Peavy also return to previously established levels of skill, they’re probably not finishing any higher than second or third, well back of the Tigers.
And the rest:
Yankees righthander Michael Pineda has been shut down with continued shoulder weakness. The Yankees will determine their next step in the coming days [Joel Sherman, Twitter]. This does not look good for the Yankees who were hoping for a young, controllable top-end starter when they traded their top prospect, Jesus Montero, to the Mariners this winter. If Pineda is to see more significant time on the DL with major shoulder problems, that trade almost immediately looks terrible for the Bombers.
The Cubs have place Opening Day starter Ryan Dempster on the 15-Day DL with a strained right quad muscle [Darren Kritzer, Getting Blanked].
The Padres could release struggling second baseman Orlando Hudson when infielder Logan Forsythe returns from the DL [Scott Miller, CBS Sports]. The Padres, who have the Majors’ worst record, plan to start utility infielder Andy Parrino in his stead.
The move would be a curious one if the Padres end up pulling it off considering Hudson is owed $5.5-million this season and has an option for 2013 with a $2-million buyout. It seems odd that a small market team like the Padres would eat more than $7-million to get rid of a potentially useful player. At 34, Hudson is certainly not what he used to be, but one would have to think that he’ll end up with better numbers than his current .156/.191/.200 slash line would indicate.
Even last season in 119 games, Hudson had a respectable 100 wRC+ and is generally considered a good defensive player even if the metrics weren’t kind to him in 2011. It should also be noted that an average hitter on the Padres can look like Babe Ruth by comparison. Releasing Hudson at this point seems foolish.
Hey! Your Toronto Blue Jays pulled their first (even though we all know it was their second) triple play since 1979.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was cleared of a sexual assault charge levied on him this winter [Rummana Hussain, Gordon Wittenmyer & Toni Ginnetti, Chicago Sun-Times].
21-year-old Drew Hutchison will make his much-anticipated Major League debut tonight against the Kansas City Royals. Stoeten has the deets over at DJF. Yeah, I just said ‘deets,’ what of it?
Alex Remington of FanGraphs rightfully holds the feet of Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons to the fire after he outwardly suggested that the Boston Globe should reveal their sources in the “chicken and beer” story.
Also on FanGraphs, Getting Blanked contributor Matt Klaassen takes a look at Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and asks if he’s “finally” arrived and lets us know that he kind of already did.
Baseball Prospects czar Ben Lindbergh looks at the hard-throwing Nationals rotation which might just be one of the best staffs in the NL.
Sticking with BP, confirmed mustache-donner Jay Jaffe applies his awesome JAWS rating to Ivan Rodriguez to see just how he rates out against other Hall of Fame catchers.
If you want to get super nerdy, head on over to The Hardball Times where John Enderle gives us a primer on his “Lineup-based Out Projector (LOP).”
ESPN Insiders can enjoy this piece by Keith Law who looks at relievers who should be starting.