Reading Room: Slimmer Dunn now

SoxFest is five days away, and if you look at the schedule, you'll notice that Adam Dunn won't be ducking the festivities. At a glance, that's a decision that seems equal parts noble and foolish.

The more I think about it, though, the less I think his presence will be eventful. There will be a news story out of it, because in terms of baseball seasons, this will be the beginning of a post-apocalyptic world. He has to rebuild civilization, and so it should be documented in great detail regardless of how it turns out.

I just don't see it making waves. Dunn has already hit rock bottom. He can hit worse, but it can't get worse. His collapse blindsided everybody. It undermined an entire marketing campaign. It's the current standard for disaster seasons (do a search on Baseball-Reference.com for "Mendoza Line" and see what turns up). Dunn could hit .100/.200/.200 in 2012, but it's not going to be nearly as memorable, because we wouldn't be seeing nearly as much of him.

If Ozzie Guillen were still the manager, then SoxFest could be a weird scene. By the end of the season, Guillen was openly putting him in a position to fail due to the size of his contact. The disagreement over Dunn's playing time would be fertile ground for some controversial posturing between the manager and general manager, and so Dunn would get questions.

Robin Ventura isn't in a position to comment. He didn't make any of the calls last year. The Dunn he's inheriting has lost his credibility, and if Dunn can't right the ship, Ventura won't have incentive to play him. But that hasn't happened yet, and Ventura probably won't want to publicly entertain the possibility. And he can only speak about the 2011 season in the hypothetical sense, so it's all a blank slate, and that's kinda why Ventura was hired, isn't it?

And on Dunn's side, the only way he could upset Sox fans further is if he refused to change his offseason approach. Altering his winter preparation is both the least and most he can do, so if he ignored those suggestions and Rascaled into the Palmer House with a Cheeto-stained muumuu and grew fatigued during sentences, yes, that would be disappointing.

However, if it's true that Dunn has lost 30 pounds and the change will be noticeable, then there is a lot less to discuss until the games start counting. And that's kinda why Dunn is showing up at SoxFest, isn't it?

Christian Marrero Reading Room

Speaking of "The Best Shape Of His Life," it's interesting to see how the phenomenon finds ways to add a new wrinkle. It used to be weight lost or pounds of muscle added, and then there was the Lasik surgery craze. Now, as the articles about Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau show, this could be the winter of food allergy/sensitivity detection. Both players have cut milk and wheat out of their diets, and it wouldn't shock me if Dunn mentions the same thing.

While most of Daryl Van Schouwen's interview with Hawk Harrelson will fail to surprise, I was pleased to see him voice his support for Alejandro De Aza in center and Alex Rios in left -- without trying to push Ventura, of course.

In the wake of the Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia news cycle and all the ensuing fun-with-Fausto jokes, Melissa Segura puts in plain terms why players like Carmona and Leo Nunez have the incentive to lie.

Juan C. Rodriguez gets perspective on Ozzie Guillen's on-field worth by talking to Jim Leyland and Manny Acta, both of whom laud his managerial abilities. I like this quote from Acta in particular:

"It's a battle of wits every day with him," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "If he has the players, he's tough to beat. I saw that for two years… He's not afraid to squeeze or to bunt. He's adjusted very well. He has some throwback to him with the bunting style and he also has some new wave type of thing.

Rodriguez also mentions Guillen's favorable Pythagorean record, although in 2011, playing Dunn and Rios every day probably counts as sandbagging.

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