Sox Nab Intriguing Prospect, Free Up Playing Time for Wilkins by Trading Dunn to A’s

Just hours after Alejandro De Aza was shipped off to Baltimore, White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn has been traded to the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Nolan Sanburn.

We will take a look back at Dunn’s time with the Sox soon, but for right now let’s focus on what this deal means for the good guys moving forward. I’ll just add that we wish all the best to Dunn – and I now am rooting for the A’s to make the playoffs. Adam has never been on a playoff team and has said he may retire after this season. So we’re pullin’ for ya, Biggum.

But anyway, back to our Sox-centric analysis …

The Return

Before we discuss the youngster being brought into the Sox’ organization, let’s get into the often-overlooked financial side of things.

Dunn was owed the last $2.5M from his four-year, $56M contract. The club sent $1.2M to the A’s, and is therefore saving $1.3M had they not been able to move the veteran. And every penny saved will be key heading into what should be a very active offseason for the club.

In addition to the money saved, the White Sox are getting an intriguing relief prospect in Sanburn. MLBTR summed up everything you need to know about him minutes after the deal went down …

In Sanburn, the Sox will acquire a right-hander that ranked 12th on’s midseason list of top 20 Athletics prospects. The 23-year-old was Oakland’s second-round pick back in 2012 and has pitched to a 3.28 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 71 1/3 relief innings at Class-A Advanced this season. He’s finished 23 games and picked up six saves in his time at Stockton.

Sanburn has been plagued by some shoulder issues, but he also has less mileage on his arm than many pitching prospects due to the fact that he was an outfielder in college and for part of his time in college at Arkansas. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of note in their free scouting report that Sanburn touched 99 mph in college and offers a curveball with good depth as well. The duo notes that Sanburn has a promising slider and changeup as well, but concerns over his durability have led to a bullpen role this season in Oakland.

Obviously, there’s some upside with this kid. He throws hard and misses bats, something the Sox have missed mightily in their big league bullpen this year. Yes, relievers and relief prospects are often a crapshoot, but the best way to go about tackling that challenge is by stockpiling talent. With the deals of the last two days, GM Rick Hahn is doing just that.

Wilkins Gets His Shot

The other main talking point is one Andy Wilkins, who it seems will get plenty of playing time over the next month with Dunn’s DH role left vacant.

The soon-to-be 26 year old slugger has been a solid minor league hitter for some time now – he’s a lifetime .276/.349/.480 hitter since the White Sox drafted him in the fifth round back in 2010 – but he’s obviously been blocked by Dunn for the past couple of years.

This year the ex-Arkansas Razorback really took off with Charlotte. In 127 games for the Knights, Wilkins had 30 home runs, 38 doubles, 85 RBI and a nice .896 OPS. Hopefully for him, the momentum can carry over into the big leagues. He has joined the Sox and is playing first base Sunday afternoon. Jose Abreu will be starting daily at either first base or DH, and Paul Konerko will start against all lefties and some righties over his final month before retirement. So that leaves a spot in the lineup open for Wilkins probably 4-5 days per week.

Simply put …

It would be great if Wilkins were to work out and go into 2015 as the team’s DH. Being able to save money there would be a good backup plan for Hahn to have should the bidding for a free agent like V.Mart or others get too high for his liking.

The one thing we do know? The White Sox will not lack youth in September.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Zachary Gropper

About Zachary Gropper

Zach is the Managing Editor of, and you can follow him on Twitter @zmgrop.