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Adam Dunn may retire on the verge of 500-homer club

Aug 19, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

Chicago White Sox Photo Day Getty Images

Adam Dunn is 34 years old and having a productive season for the White Sox, ranking among the league’s top 25 in OPS while approaching 500 career homers, yet with free agency and another payday around the corner this offseason he’s pondering retirement.

Dunn, who’s finishing up a four-year, $56 million contract, talked to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com about his upcoming decision:

You’re used to doing something your whole life, and I know it’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m fortunate to be able to put myself in this situation at a pretty young age to make the call. There’s nothing bad about that. I’m not sad about that. I’m actually pretty happy about it.

Dunn has three kids under 10 years old and more than $100 million in career earnings, so as he told Hayes:

I’m not a 22-year-old single guy anymore. There are a lot of things that play into coming back and your decision.

Since a disastrous first season in Chicago he’s posted a .784 OPS in 400 games for the White Sox and with 459 career homers Dunn is likely only two seasons from joining the 500-homer club. And of course now he’s gotten all of that pitching experience, too.

Throughout his career Dunn’s bad defense, high strikeout rates, and low batting averages have made him a frequent target of criticism, but among all active hitters with at least 5,000 career plate appearances he ranks 18th in OPS at .858, sandwiched between Robinson Cano at .860 and teammate Paul Konerko at .843.

  1. hoopmatch - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    I hope Dunn plays a few more years. He reminds me of Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Boog Powell and Greg Luzinski.

    • timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      You gotta be kidding me. Adam Dunn reminds you of Frank Thomas? Why?

      • 18thstreet - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Frank Howard, not Frank Thomas.

      • tvguy22 - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Same uniform?

    • 18thstreet - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Through age 27, that was a fair comparison.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=319,1006905,1007855,1010482

    • timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Thomas was 300 hitter who struck out less in a year than Dunn did in a month. You all who thumb’d me down must be stat geeks who simply look at OPS and not watch the games. I have seen both play frequently being in MN. Thomas was a guy you pitched around, while Dunn is a guy you pitch around other guys to get to.

      Dunn is no slouch and a solid player, but no HOFer, Thomas on the other hand was a first ballot no doubter.

      • nbjays - Aug 19, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        Don’t read well, huh? Frank Howard is not Frank Thomas… although you don’t seem like the type who would even know who Frank Howard was.

      • RonKarate - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        He said Frank Howard.

  2. bronco58lb - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    It seems like only yesterday when Dunn was called up in 2001 with much fan fare and was an instant sensation as a rookie.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      No kidding. Man, time flies. I remember thinking that he and Kearns were going to be a force that the Cardinals would have to deal with for years to come.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Because you’re old.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Not as old as you.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Really?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        I have no idea.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        I’m going to frame that comment. This is a day for the ages. Thank you.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        FYI, last night was Jon Hamm bobble head night. You should be able to get one on ebay soon.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        What? You got me one for my birthday?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Not exactly, what I got you was knowing what you wanted….you have to do the getting on your own.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Typical. I’m going to leave the rest of that alone.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        he he That got your fan boys mad.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        I usually reply through the notifications thingy so as not to have to go back to the page….probably not what blogs like to hear that are looking for clicks and traffic….then again, they probably aren’t fans of adblock plus either.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        I noticed you did not weigh in on the stl/ferguson business.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 12:51 AM

        Nope. Too much stupidity in the comments section to bother. Honestly, I think I could refer to the situation as “totally embarrassing” and the majority of my relatives would think I meant the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I meant. Having lived in the 21st Century for 9 years now, when I visit home, if feels like I am going back in time to the 1960. I had no idea how racist my family was until I lived in a place where I am rarely exposed to such views. Now I am horrified by listening to any of my relatives over the age of 50 speak…and by about 1/2 of those that are younger.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 12:52 AM

        It’s unfortunate that you don’t have an opinion on that.

        Is it weird?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        No. I think I have the same opinion that any unbiased observer would have, that Ferguson is run by a bunch of racist jackwagons that are so far gone that they don’t recognize the depths and institutionalization of their racism on some level….but also realize that they have a reason to be afraid of the people they’ve been abusing all these years as well as outside prying eyes. I just don’t see how saying that would be constructive on a baseball blog….it’ll just enrage the knuckle draggers that think shooting a kid that is unarmed and running away is okay and justifiable because cops should be obeyed without question…..of course, those people don’t live lives that oblige them to fear the cops because of systematic abusive treatment.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Ok, then. I will try to lay off for you.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        The Cardinals all-time single season leader in HRs by a SS: Jhonny Peralta. He’s been fantastic this year.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Thanks. Rub it in some more, why don’t you?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        I whould, bhut I rheally dhon’t think I chould.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        You are so full of chit.

  3. pete2112 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I had no idea he was that close to 500 home runs. That’s pretty impressive at his age and it would be a shame if didn’t get there.

  4. Caught Looking - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Forget the 41 home runs needed to get to 500. He should come back to get his career 9.00 ERA and 3.00 WHIP down

    • senioreditor2 - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Forget the 41 home runs needed to get to 500. He should come back to get his career strikeout numbers above 2597. He only needs roughly 250 more strikeouts to pass Reggie Jackson!

      • kevinbnyc - Aug 19, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        $20 says he could do both in one great final season.

  5. timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    He’s not even close to a top 25 player anymore, despite his OPS.

    • jlovenotjlo - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      The author didn’t imply that he was a top 25 player, as he only stated that Dunn was top 25 in OPS and still productive at 34.

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Reading really isn’t your thing, is it?

  6. recoveringcubsfan - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    True fact: Adam Dunn looked exactly the same when he was 22 as he does now.

    Lots of people are willing to discount his 2 skills – walking a lot and hitting a lot of HR – but in all of baseball history his attributes are fairly hard to come by. He really is a “what you see is what you get” player and that actually has value. We’ll miss you, Big Donkey.

    • chinahand11 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Love me some Adam Dunn. You know he’s going to strike out, or he’s going to walk because the pitchers have to nibble at him, but when he catches one he really gives it a ride. He hits some majestic shots, he does. Hope he sticks around for 500. It will look good on his resume and I would love to see a few more of his bombs.

  7. randygnyc - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    If 500 home runs would guarantee him the HOF, I’d come back and play for very, very little so as not to be a payroll burden. Think a million or 2, per year, until reached. But there’s no way he ever gets in, so why bother?

    • pete2112 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      It’s a MLB historical benchmark and even though 500 home runs doesn’t mean what it once did, It’s still a great accomplishment and one I would be proud of. I’m sure Adam knows he’s not going to the HOF.

  8. Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I’d love to see him as a combo bench bat and relief pitcher for the Cardinals next year.

  9. obpedmypants - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    He’s only 256 strikeouts away from Reggie. And it took Reggie 21 years to strike out that many times. Dunn would be a fool not to give a shot at that record.

  10. chaseutley - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Adam Dunn has a batting average of .202 over his four seasons in Chicago. The writing has been on the wall for a while, now.

    • jlovenotjlo - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      If Dunn chooses not to retire after this season, he will receive a major league contract during the offseason. So no, the writing has not been on the wall for awhile, as he will still be able to play major league baseball if he chooses to.

      • pete2112 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        I agree. A lot of AL teams would love to have a power bat like that for a DH role.

      • chinahand11 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Agreed, agreed. As Pete said. Someone would love to have him walking out of the dugout with bases loaded. He could do DH and PH. Go for it Adam!

    • twinfan24 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      Who cares about his BA? He gets on base at a decent clip, roughly around average in Chicago and well above average at his previous stops.

  11. RonKarate - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    He should close out his career in Houston. He was born there and lives fairly close.

  12. twinfan24 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Nice to see he knows where his priorities are. They wouldn’t be everyone’s priorities, but he knows that his family may be more important than numbers. If he sticks around, I hope he gets to 500 HRs, as it would be a nice accomplishment for a player that many dismiss. His BA is poor, but his career OBP of .365 is very good.

    Six seasons of 40+ HR, another four with 30+
    Eight seasons with 100+ RBIs, a couple more with 90+
    Four seasons with 99+ runs scored, another four with 80+

    The name of the game is to score runs. You need to be on base to do that, and HRs are automatic runs. If he gets to 500 HRs, it will be interesting to see any HOF arguments. You would think not right out of the gate, but looking from a sabermetric viewpoint, his case is more interesting. Don’t think he is HOF, but I could see the argument in his favor if he has a couple more solid seasons.

  13. contraryguy - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Time for Dunn to come back to Cinci and finish his career as a Red. He’d get to 500 HR faster in GABP, the fans here like him, and the Reds have shown they have no natural 1B replacement for Mr Mystery Injury Votto in their entire farm system.

  14. edwardemanuelson - Aug 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    This White Sox fan hopes to goodness that Big Donkey is back in Chicago next season, that he gets to 500, that I’m there in person to witness it happen, and for the love of all that’s holy, Hawk Harrelson has the call that night.

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