The slugger with 460 career home runs but zero at-bats in the postseason was traded by the Chicago White Sox to Oakland on Sunday, possibly giving the contending A’s the power boost they need for the stretch.
The White Sox also sent cash to Oakland while acquiring minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn. Because the deal was made before Sept. 1, Dunn will be eligible for the postseason if the suddenly sluggish Athletics make the playoffs.
The 34-year-old Dunn has played more games — 1,976 — without reaching the postseason than any active major leaguer. This is his 14th season and, with a contract set to expire, said he’s planning to retire after this year.
Dunn waived his no-trade clause and approved the deal.
“This is probably going to be it,” he said. “I think that also weighed a lot, too. This is an opportunity. I’ve been playing a long time and haven’t got this opportunity, so I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
Dunn is hitting .220 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs. Earlier in his career, he played for Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington.
Oakland holds the top wild-card spot in the American League. The A’s were second in the AL West after three straight losses to the division-leading Los Angeles Angels, and hadn’t scored in 22 innings going into Sunday’s series finale.
“I think this is just an opportunity for him that he should’ve taken,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It came about and you talk to him about it, you’re happy that he gets a chance to go do this. I think even if he does happen to hang it up after this year, he’ll at least get a shot at doing this.”
The A’s trailed the Angels by four games, their largest deficit since May 2013. The Athletics were looking to add a hitter after trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for starter Jon Lester before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline.
“We’re trying to do whatever we can to get some offense going here,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “The guy has a history of hitting homers and getting on base, and I know he’s excited about being with us.”
Dunn has struggled in four seasons with the White Sox, mostly as a designated hitter. He has played first base and some outfield, and even made his first career pitching appearance this season in a mop-up role.
The White Sox envisioned making playoff runs when they signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract in December 2010. Dunn was coming off back-to-back 38-homer seasons with Washington but the plan didn’t unfold as envisioned.
“I wish things would’ve worked out better, but it didn’t,” he said.