Before Monday’s game, Ozzie Guillen sat down with Adam Dunn, and somehow got down to explaining that his historically bad offensive season will be costing him anything resembling regular playing time for the last month.
“The talk was good. Very professional. Very respectful.” Guillen said.
Ozzie is surely open to criticism, but his player management skills are generally well-regarded (especially veterans, grumble grumble), so there’s no reason to think this isn’t true.
While spot-subs like Brent Lillibridge (or even Mark Teahen way back when) didn’t profile as everyday players, Dayan Viciedo did. Thus, his arrival spelled doom for Dunn.
There’s not much to dispute here with Guillen’s reason, when all the extraneous sarcasm and snark is removed.
The issue, is simply time.
Guillen has reached his exhaustion point with Dunn’s ineptitude now, but plenty would have been willing to jump ship at the beginning of this month, and some aggressive, playoff-minded types might have had the contingency plan drafted up during the All-Star break.
I’ll never qualify as a ‘baseball man’ as far as the industry concerned, so I’m sure Greg Walker and Ozzie Guillen could see Dunn’s swing spiraling deeper and deeper into the crevasse as well as anyone. It’s not as if the idea that he needed to be gone just dawned on them.
Where the incredible hesitance to purge Dunn came from is the question of the season, and is instantly added to what’s now a 35-item list of ‘Things I’m waiting to read about in the Ozzie Guillen memoir’.
If it really was an issue of ‘managing personalities’, or trying to avoid coming across as being in a rush to bail on veteran performers, it feels like they’ve underestimated Dunn as a person. He’s been matter-of-fact about his struggles all year long, and knew the stakes of the season coming in.
Sure, maybe it’s even easier for Dunn to accept his diminished role now that his season from hell is solidified, but this is Dunn’s first go-round with a contending team. Maybe the White Sox could have been the ones to tell him how it works.