(CBS) — Adam Dunn has had a fine career, hitting tons of home runs and making many friends along the way.
As the season starts to wind down, the affable slugger must contemplate whether or not this is the end of the road for his baseball career. Working in the last year of a four year, $56 million contract, things have not gone according to what was expected by him or the team before signing the deal.
Power numbers have been pretty consistent for the Texas native; however, a precipitous nosedive in batting average may (.203 American League average, compared to .250 in the National League) has changed the way teams will be looking at Dunn in the future.
“I am just trying to make it through the season,” Dunn said Monday. “I am not a numbers-oriented guy. I don’t really care about that. I care about playing the next two months and then we will go from there.”
Dunn was put in a tough situation when the team asked him to give up all of his at-bats against lefthand starters going into the 2014 campaign. This was done in order to slide Paul Konerko into his new role. Konerko signed a one-year deal to become a part-time DH and share the role with Dunn.
At the present time, Dunn’s at-bats project out to about 100 less than his 525 in 2013. His home runs project to be about eight to ten shy of his average per season of 33.
“The numbers don’t really matter to me,” he said. “I am not going to stay around to chase 500 home runs. I am not going to stay around for money, numbers or anything like that.”
Finding power-hitting, left-handed bats is getting more difficult to find every year. According to amateur scouts who comb the country sides in search of hitters true power hitters are few and far between., Dunn will have to decide if playing will be enjoyable enough to stay away from a young, growing group of children who he wants to see grow up more and more as each baseball season approaches.
As Dunn said to MLB.com over the weekend he will decide on his next step after the season is over. He was asked if he would miss the day-to-day baseball activity and his teammates if he retires.
“I have friends (at home), too,” Dunn related. “Just because you quit doesn’t mean I won’t talk to these guys. It is hard to duplicate (the clubhouse), but believe it or not I do have a life outside of baseball. It would be a big adjustment, but it will happen eventually.”
Dunn would not be the first home-run hitter to retire before he had lost his skills. Dave Kingman was forced to hang it up after putting up 35 home runs and driving in 94 RBI in 1986. Kingman never got another offer after that season, as colluding baseball teams forced the 37-year-old slugger to retire with 442 home runs.
Might Dunn face the same indifference that Kingman had to deal with?
“It will be a decision that the people who are important to me help me make,” Dunn said. “Whether it is tomorrow or February, I really don’t know how to go about it. I have never done it before. It will all come down to if I want to do this again or not.”
Dunn has totaled 459 home runs in his 14-year career.