CHICAGO -- There are two distinct ways to look at Adam Dunn's White Sox tenure, which covered parts of the past four seasons, before the designated hitter was traded to Oakland for right-handed Minor League hurler Nolan Sanburn on Sunday morning.
"There are on-the-field and off-the-field elements," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "He would be the first, and he and I discussed it last night and this morning, we were both disappointed we didn't accomplish on the field what we had hoped when the deal was originally signed four years ago. He was brought here as part of a plan to win championships in that window and it didn't happen. From that standpoint, we are all disappointed.
"From the off-the-field standpoint, or the clubhouse standpoint, he was outstanding. He had what would be the most difficult year of his career the first year he was here and there were high expectations that went along with it. He certainly heard about it and put greater pressure on himself because of that.
"But he carried himself with class throughout the entire time he was here," Hahn said. "He was a great asset in the clubhouse the entire time he was here. He was a standup individual. From an off-the-field standpoint or a clubhouse fit, it was a tremendous fit."
Take away Dunn's first season with the White Sox, a 2011 campaign in which he hit a dismal .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs, and Dunn wasn't too far off what the White Sox expected. Yes, his White Sox average of .201 was considerably below his .237 career number, as was his .321 on-base percentage (.365 career) and .410 slugging (.491 career).
Dunn hit 95 home runs over the last three seasons, including 20 this season in a more limited role than he was accustomed. But the 34-year-handled never tried to deflect on-field shortcomings or hide from the individual struggles.
The phrase "great teammate" in regard to Dunn was thrown around quite a bit Sunday after the trade became official.
"Those are the things that are really important, things that people don't see, is him inside the clubhouse, just kind of how to act," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "How to go about your business and be accountable. I think he's one of the best I've ever been around for that."
"For me, it's pretty simple. In today's day and age, he showed up to play every day," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "With so many guys coming out with injuries and this and that and guys not toeing the line every day, he showed up every day. The fact that he never backed down and played every time he could play, really at the end of the day, that's all that matters to us in a lot of ways."
Hahn described Sanburn, Oakland's No. 12 prospect per MLB.com, as a "young power arm with some good pitchability and good secondary pitches" who will likely join Double-A Birmingham in '15 and "could come quickly to help us." Much like the August moves involving Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, this deal was more about September evaluation for the White Sox, with Andy Wilkins in mind and saving a little bit of money that can eventually be reallocated.
"On this deal alone, we are sending them seven figures and we are saving seven figures," Hahn said. "The other ones, we shed what was remaining of each of their salaries, so we freed up some cash here as well as the playing time and added at least in the last couple of days three quality arms to our system.
In order to finish the deal, Dunn had to waive his no trade clause. Dunn now looks certain to play in the postseason for the first time in his career, after playing 1,976 games without getting there and standing as the active leader in that dubious category.
It was just two weeks ago when Dunn talked to MLB.com about the '14 campaign possibly being his last one. That factor could have played into Dunn's desire to move from a locale where he was comfortable. Dunn then restated his desire to retire following this season when speaking to reporters Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Who knows what he's going to do in the future, next year and all that, so he might be looking at it like this is the only chance I have to go do it," Konerko said. "You definitely can't blame him for that. I definitely hope that happens for him because that's a feeling every guy should get before he gets out of the game."
"He's getting a chance to win and getting a chance to go to the playoffs for the first time in his career. I for one am excited for him," Hahn said. "I'm excited for Alejandro for the chance to get to the postseason and Gordon as well. But I look forward to the time when we're getting congratulatory messages from our former players opposed to the other way."