CHICAGO -- With the season winding down and Adam Dunn just six weeks away from entering free agency, there are questions about whether the 34-year-old designated hitter will return to play his 15th season.
“It’s going to be a decision where I’m going to sit down with the people who are important to me and make a quick decision,” Dunn said when asked about his future in baseball. “Whether it’s tomorrow, whether it’s February, I don’t know. I don’t know how to go about it because I’ve never done it before. We’ll see. I’m not really worried about it.”
Dunn is in the final year of a four-year, $56 million deal with the Chicago White Sox that came with huge expectations for the power-hitting DH. After seven straight seasons with at least 38 homers and no worse than a .855 OPS, Dunn struggled mightily in his first year with the South Siders, posting a .569 OPS and hitting just 11 home runs.
He has rebounded nicely in the three years since, delivering an OPS+ of 114, 105 and currently 123, entering play on Monday. However, this season he’s been in a platoon with Paul Konerko and is on pace for fewer than 600 plate appearances for the first time since 2003.
“You don’t know me very well if you are going to ask me that question,” Dunn said when queried if he is worried that less playing time will lower his numbers and thus affect his potential future earnings. “No, the numbers don’t matter to me.
“I’m not going to stay around to chase 500 home runs or this and that. I’m going to do what I feel like I do and we’ll see. I’m not going to stay around for the money or numbers or anything like that.”
Dunn also said that while he does love the camaraderie in the clubhouse and that adjusting to life without baseball would be difficult, he has a life outside of the sport. He added that adjusting to a new team and city would not be a factor in whether he decided to come back to baseball or not.
So what will go into his decision?
“As long as I’m having fun doing it, I’m going to continue doing it,” Dunn said. “Whether it’s today, tomorrow, a week from now, 10 years from now, I don’t know. There are a lot of factors. It’s not just going out and playing baseball anymore. I’m not a 22-year-old single guy anymore. There are a lot of things that play into coming back and your decision. When I figure out what I’ll do, y’all will be about the 50th or 60th people I’ll let know.”
If he does decide to play again, it would have to be with a team that has a chance to win right away.
“This will be the last opportunity to play somewhere that has a legitimate chance to get a ring,” Dunn said. “But I’m not going to play just to play. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. If I had to pick it today, I know what the answer would be.”
And what is that answer?
“None of your business,” Dunn said, without skipping a beat.
Whatever happens, he knows he’s going to make the right choice.
“It’s just like anything,” Dunn said, after admitting that he’s not at the point of seeking advice from others on his 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.”