Yankees August Trade Target: Adam Dunn
The waiver trade deadline is still a week away and the Yankees remain, somewhat miraculously, in the playoff hunt at 3.5 games back of the second wild card spot. The pitching, despite lengthy injuries to 4/5 of the starting rotation and some turnover in the bullpen, has held its own. A 97 ERA- (12th in the league) and 95 FIP- (tied for 6th in the league) have kept runs off the board and playoff hopes alive.
Contrarily, the offense has struggled to put runs on the board. A .249/.311/.380 line leads to a 92 wRC+ (20th in the league). A baserunning value of -0.2 only diminishes the overall offense. The team is in serious need of OBP this season. A flyball hitting lefty with these OBP skills would be a bonus. White Sox DH Adam Dunn fits this description.
MLBTradeRumors.com hasn’t reported anything on Dunn’s waiver status, but the White Sox aren’t in contention and would likely just be happy to rid themselves of the approximately $2.5 million remaining on the DH’s contract. He shouldn’t cost much in terms of players, just some money. His 4 year contract ends after the season so there is no future commitment for the Yankees. He could take over Zelous Wheeler‘s roster spot until rosters expand on September 1.
He is primarily a DH who provides a backup first base option that they haven’t had all season. At the very least, he lengthens the roster and gives the team a tactical option off the bench that Girardi doesn’t currently have. Dunn employs exactly the take’n’rake approach that the Yankees have preached and valued in players. His .346 OBP and .434 SLG would both rank 2nd on the team (among players with 200 PA with Yankees). Dunn can take some walks and yank fly balls to the short porch in rightfield. He can pitch, too, if things get out of hand.
A WAR framework indicates that only the very best players can make even a 1 win difference over a true replacement level player over the time period of just a month of games. When the player in question is a DH that likely won’t play every single game through the end of the season, the projected delta in wins is basically zero.
However, there is always the chance that Dunn hits some homers at key moments that won’t totally be reflected in his WAR figure but have a drastic impact on the standings. The minimal acquisition cost, lack of future salary commitment, roster space, and need for OBP make Dunn a fit. He is the big, hairy monster that can help the offense.