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Jesse Winker, Adam Dunn Redux?


Jesse Winker is catching a lot of heat in the Mariners media sphere for clubhouse and work ethic problems that have surfaced. Check out some of the stories that are circulating now that the Mariners season is over. Short story: the Mariners FO is upset with Winker's lack of work ethic, his teammates are upset with his pouting and selfish refusal to help the team, e.g., refusing to play the field during either game of doubleheaders and the like. And since he had one of the most disappointing seasons across MLB, the blogosphere is not going to be kind and measured in response, most likely.

But one thing interesting to me is how this feels like a reenactment of the way fans (and GMs) perceived Winker's spiritual predecessor Adam Dunn. Lumbering guys who really struggled to field at a mediocre level even in the corner OF, draw walks and hit for power as the central parts of their offensive games...and have reputations for being lazy, not living up to their abilities, and even being negatives in the clubhouse. In Dunn's case, the reputation may not have been entirely fair, but that didn't stop the widespread perception from the fanbase and others.

But how did two of the most prominent examples come up with the Reds within one baseball generation of each other? Coincidence? Something in the Reds scouting or development system? Is it the fans? Encarnacion had a similar battle with Reds fans but I doubt anyone in Toronto questioned his laziness, for example. Is it the legacy of Pete Rose haunting anyone who isn't an apparent overachiever? I don't know, but I still find it interesting that the Reds system seems to produce more than its share of these guys lately.

I hope Winker can iron out his issues and get his career back on track. It looks a bit unlikely for that to happen with the Mariners.