Wayne Krivsky's cellular telephone hangs like a cauliflower from his ear. Take your average teenager's phone time, multiply it by five and you're still not quite at Krivsky, who's on the line more than a bill collector. It's not for lack of effort that Adam Dunn is still a Red.
Are the Reds close to dealing Dunn? Do they have any intention of dealing Dunn? Beats me. Krivsky declines to talk about players, publicly or in private. That tends to limit your conversations with the Reds general manager to TV and the weather. (Wayne's a big fan of "CSI" and warm sunshine.)
Hunches abound the day before the non-waiver trade deadline. Here's another. Here is all that matters about Adam Dunn:
The Reds can't afford him.
You can haul out your geek sheets and quote chapter and verse about Dunn's OBA, OBP, OPS, HR and RBI and how he hits with RISP, OK? You can say the Reds won't match his power when he's gone. You can defend his defense by wondering who, over the years, has been better in left field, home of George Foster, Kalvoski Daniels and the Mitchellin Man, Kevin Mitchell.
Unless the Reds bump the payroll to $100 million next year - Bob Castellini will grow date palms in his backyard before that happens - Dunn is a luxury they can't afford. When your payroll is likely to be something approaching $80 million, you can't toss one-sixth of it at a designated hitter. Especially when your bullpen has been declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency.
That's really the whole of it. It's why if the Reds don't trade Dunn by today, they will trade him by next April, even if it means picking up his $13 million option. It's not that Dunn makes too much money. It's that he makes too much here.
Given what Cleveland just paid to extend Travis Hafner's deal - similar to what Dunn would get next season, for a player who doesn't currently have Dunn's numbers - Dunn is not overpaid.
But you don't eat Belgian chocolates and drink Dom Perignon when you're making $500 a week. You might vacation on an island. You don't own one. The Reds have to do what they can with what they have. Spending $13 million on one, one-dimensional player is a waste of resources.
Forget the notions that Krivsky is leery, from a perception standpoint, of trading Dunn and getting only prospects in return, or that he has been ordered by ownership to make a trade. Simple economics dictates to all involved that Dunn should not be here by Opening Day next year.
Nothing personal; just business.
Dunn will be moved to a team that can absorb his money and have enough left over to buy that island. The L.A. Angels, perhaps. Or, to a team that needs a bopper to showcase upon moving into its new ballpark, whose general manager has a personal relationship with Dunn. That'd be Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals.
In any case, if Dunn is a Red next year, the club will have missed a chance to change its personality and its chemistry. Ownership understands that.
You like to have players who are consistent and durable. Dunn is all of that. But he's never going to be anything more than he is right now: A very good home run hitter who falls short in other categories, tangible and otherwise.
Dunn vowed to become a "great" outfielder. You'd settle for average. He worked early this year at becoming a more mature hitter and for awhile, the line drives did settle in the opposite field gap. Now, he's on his way to striking out 190 times.
If the Reds were winning or wealthy, nobody would be dogging a guy who has averaged 40 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs for three years. You'd have to be nuts. On a winning, wealthy team, with serious player leadership, Dunn would be viewed as an essential cog.
Only, the Reds don't win, they aren't rich and clubhouse leadership too often at 5 o'clock is reclining on a couch. Sports sociologists would say the "culture" needs changing. Plus, no team ever won big by hitting lots of home runs, if it couldn't pitch.
Adam Dunn could be traded today. He could be traded five months from today. It's not personal. It's economics. Ownership understands.