CHICAGO — Slugger Adam Dunn has officially joined the Chicago White Sox, giving them the big left-handed hitter they were seeking.
The White Sox announced the deal on Friday, a day after word came that he had agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract. Dunn batted .260 with 38 home runs with 103 RBIs for Washington last season.
Besides landing Dunn, the White Sox also announced that free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal and is staying put.
The White Sox would still like to retain free agent Paul Konerko, who turned down their arbitration offer. That jumps to the top of general manager Ken Williams’ to-do list, but he just crossed off some big tasks.
The 31-year-old Dunn has a career batting average of .250, with 354 homers and 880 RBIs in 10 seasons with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals. He is also prolific with strikeouts and had 199 last season, but would potentially put up big offensive numbers in homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
The Nationals listened to trade offers for Dunn at the July deadline – with the White Sox reportedly interested – but decided not to make a deal.
He gives Chicago the left-handed power hitter it’s been missing since Jim Thome was shipped to the Dodgers at the end of the 2009 season. And when the White Sox decided not to reacquire Thome in 2010, he signed with the AL Central rival Twins.
Dunn, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin and Konerko figure to form a powerful combination in the middle of the White Sox’s order – assuming Konerko re-signs.
Williams has made it clear that he wants him back but is trying to be patient as he explores the market. Konerko is coming off one of his best seasons, when he batted .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs and finished fifth in the AL MVP balloting. But his status is not the only issue the White Sox need to address.
The White Sox could also use some help in the bullpen. They declined to tender a contract to closer Bobby Jenks, who is second in club history with 173 saves, after he missed the final 27 games last season with ulnar neuritis in his right forearm.
Williams didn’t rule out bringing back Jenks at a lower price than the $7.5 million he earned last season.
One reliever who won’t be back is Scott Linebrink. The White Sox dealt him to Atlanta for minor league right-hander Kyle Cofield on Friday.
A day earlier, Chicago exercised a club option on shortstop Alexei Ramirez. He will earn a base salary of $2.75 million. He had opted out of the final year of the deal he signed on Jan. 22, 2008.
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