Just Get It Dunn
Dave's got the Burrell signing pegged perfectly. This deal, at a sensible price, means that the Nationals can afford Adam Dunn. And, if necessary, they can probaby still pay the "Loser's Premium" that a 102-loss team often has to shell out to grab a free agent.
The Rays may have gotten a bit by a Winner's Discount in signing Burrell for $16-million for two years. But the market has, nonetheless, been set right where the Nats should want it.
Several points are of interest when we try to figure out how much Dunn is worth in the current (suddenly deflated) market for proven sluggers in their prime who are durable, walk a lot, only hit near .250, strike out a ton, have a solid attitude and play poor defense at a corner outfield spot.
First, Dunn, 29, and Burrell, 32, who just signed for $16-million for two years with the Rays, are as statistically identical as two players can be.
Over the last nine years starting at age 23 (including a few games at AAA in '00 to give him full credit for durability), Burrell has averaged 150 games, 520 ab, 28 hrs, 95 RBI, 91 walks, 145 Ks, .257 average, .367 on-base % and .485 slugging average.
Over the last seven year starting at age 22, Dunn has averaged 152 games, 518 at bats, 37 hrs, 90 rbi, 108 walks, 169 K's, .247 average, .367 on-base % and .518 slugging avg.
Last season Burrell earned $14,250,000 in Philly, Dunn $13,000,000 in Cincy.
Dunn has a few edges. He's hit 40 homers the last five years. That's worth some box office. He's three years young. But Burrell has proved he can hit for a contender and survive in a tough town where expectations have always been high as a No. 1 overall draft pick.
Milton Bradley, who just signed with the Cubs for $30-million for three years, is a tricky comparable to Burrell and Dunn. Contemporary stats, like OPS, say Bradley has been a somewhat better offensive player over the last six years than either and he can play centerfield, also a big plus. But Bradley's got plenty of baggage and (a bigger worry), has missed lots of games in his career, averaging only 357 abs the last six seasons.
At any rate, if Burrell is worth $16-million for two years and the 30-year-old Bradley gets $30-million for three years, then the Nats can afford Dunn. At "today's prices," and considering Dunn's good health and consistency, as well as the possibilty that he mght switch to first base if needed, it might be wise to accomodate Dunn on length of contract if that will close the deal.
To those who may nags at Dunn's (very real) faws, just a reminder from previous posts and chats: the five players whose careers most resemble Dunn at the same age are Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, Harmon Killebrew, Rocky Colavito and Reggie Jackson. This guy is Frank Howard __but better. You want him for lots of reasons __including credibility with fans and future potential free agents, as well as well-established baseball value.
In light of the Burrell (andBradley) contracts, which establish a sane market for such players, as well as the Nats great need for a LH power bat, only one thing is left to be said.
Yes...just get it Dunn.
January 6, 2009; 2:53 PM ET
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