Adam Dunn is being used to prove a point, but what is it?
Yes, Ozzie Guillen still wants to know where he stands for next season before an answer is required. No, he still hasn't done much to deserve such a courtesy.
Before anybody makes a decision, though, I'd hope they'd thoroughly explore Guillen's defense of his managing during Saturday's game. This one sidebar gets to the heart of Guillen's fatal errors in 2011, and it doesn't sound like he's all that interested in making corrections going forward:
The boos may have been the loudest when [Adam Dunn] struck out in the ninth inning with two men on and no outs.
The fans also were upset because Guillen didn’t pinch-hit for him with left-hander Tony Sipp pitching. Dunn is hitting .037 against lefties.
‘‘I thought about it, but he’s making $14 million a year,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘He has to earn it.
‘‘The reason we brought him here is to hit with men on base. That’s a lot of money to pinch-hit for. A lot of people were blaming me. No, blame him. He didn’t do the job today.’’
I keep using the word "negligence," because this is what this is. Everybody in the ballpark knew it was wrong for Dunn to hit. Guillen knew it was wrong for Dunn to hit. But nevertheless, Guillen sent Dunn to the plate to ... make a point? I guess?
Even then, I'm not sure what the point is, unless it's to underscore how bad of a roster Kenny Williams gave him. The problem is that Williams admitted Dunn and Rios weren't cutting it ... in late July.
‘‘Here’s what I told Ozzie: Do not worry about the size of the contracts,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Just worry about putting the players out there on a given day that can win. The size of the contract is not Ozzie’s problem. It’s not [chairman] Jerry’s [Reinsdorf] problem. It’s not the coaches’ problem. That’s my problem.
‘‘Put the players on the field that can win. I don’t give a darn if one guy is making $400,000 and the other guy is making $12 million.’’
There's one possible defense of Guillen, and that's if Williams is engaging in doublespeak, providing him different instructions than the ones he gave through the media. I don't think that's likely, because Guillen doesn't have incentive to provide cover to a guy he doesn't want around.
So let's assume that Williams will fall on the sword for any veteran benchings. That means that a month and a half after he was given instruction to put the best players in important situations, Guillen admitted he used contract size to determine the course -- and that means he's doing the opposite of what he was told. People who want to keep their jobs usually make an effort to fulfill assigned objectives, don't they?
I'm just glad he confessed, because otherwise we'd only have a strong circumstantial case to fall back on, with such evidence as:
- Letting Dunn hit against Sipp (Sept. 10).
- Pinch-hitting Dunn for Brent Lillibridge (Aug. 31).
- Never pinch-hitting for Dunn in non-blowouts.
- Never pinch-hitting for Rios in non-blowouts.
But now that Guillen has essentially admitted that he doesn't manage to win the game when it involves Dunn and Rios, it makes it a whole lot more convenient to address this problem in the future. Hopefully Jerry Reinsdorf will file this one away.