Adam Dunn has heard it before—the Cincinnati Reds are shopping him for a possible trade.
But there's a difference this time around.
"Unofficially?" Dunn told the Dayton Daily News. "I think it'll happen."
Count the White Sox in the group of teams believed to have been scouting the left fielder last week. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta, Houston and Detroit also appear to have at least a passing interest in Dunn, who has hit 40-plus home runs in each of the last three seasons.
There weren't many teams who haven't had scouts watching the Reds over the last 10 days at Great American Ball Park.
"Everybody's coming to see who the last-place team wants to dump," said Jim Fregosi, the former manager who scouts for Atlanta.
Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Freel, Scott Hatteberg, David Weathers, Mike Stanton and Kyle Lohse have all been mentioned in trade rumors. But Dunn is drawing the most interest.
He is earning $10.5 million this year. The Reds hold a 2008 option at $13 million, but it does not travel, meaning any team acquiring him would have to sign him to an extension or risk losing him to free agency after this season.
Dunn is a dynamic hitter, easily criticized for his low batting averages (.246 career) and high strikeout totals (148-plus in four of the last five seasons), but he's always a threat. He's a little like Jim Thome in that he always winds up with a lot of walks (108-plus in four of the last five years) to go with the strikeouts and has a .377 career on-base percentage.
The Reds recently began playing Triple-A first baseman Joey Votto in left field, leading to speculation about Dunn's future. General manager Wayne Krivsky said he stills considers Votto a first baseman.
"Last I looked, he had seven games in left field and 50 at first base," Krivsky said. "We're having him play left so he can play more than one position. He has improved light years."
Krivsky was asked about possibly trading Dunn.
"I don't comment on rumors, and it is better not to say anything," he said, declining to put Dunn at ease.
Because the Reds have finished with losing records in all seven years of his career, Dunn has been in more than his share of trade rumors.
"If every rumored trade came true I'd have been out of here in 2002," Dunn, 27, said. "And I can't control what happens, so why concern myself with it? I don't want to think about it because it affects me, and I'm not going to let it affect me."