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Thursday Three-Bagger: Dunn, Manny, Selig

1. To what extent do Adam Dunn's defensive shortcomings negate his offensive contributions? We'll let some folks who are smarter than us tell you (scroll to the bottom of the page to the "Value" section).

According to these advanced metrics, Dunn essentially was worth 27.4 runs of offense last year (Ryan Howard, by comparison, was worth only 19.9 runs), but cost his teams a whopping 28 runs on defense (primarily as a left fielder). Still, due largely to his durability, Dunn was valued at 1.3 wins in 2008, which the folks at Fangraphs translated to $5.9 million. (Read the "Glossary" section if you want to learn more about the methodology.)

2. Scott Boras has had some big wins (Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez come to mind) and some crushing losses (Jason Varitek) in this winter's free agent market. And Manny Ramirez could still go either way.

With Dunn and Bobby Abreu now off the market, the Dodgers have lost much of their leverage in the negotiations with Ramirez, and I figure they will now move fairly quickly to get a deal done with him before Boras can conjure up one of his patented "mystery" teams. Given what we know about the Dodgers' previous offers, I'm guessing two years $50 million with an easily triggered vesting option for a third year.

If that happens, would you call that a win or a loss for Boras? On the one hand, a $25 million salary would be higher than the $20 million Ramirez was set to earn from Boston in 2009 and 2010, before Boras engineered the trade to the Dodgers. On the other hand, Boras was seeking something closer to four years and $100 million.

I guess we'll call it a tie.

3. I'm not buying this, which sounds like the Commissioner trying to sound tough, an empty threat. It's one thing to force Jason Giambi, after a similar admission, to speak to Sen. George Mitchell (which Giambi grudgingly did), but it's another thing to try to suspend a player such as Alex Rodriguez for something that occurred when baseball had no penalties for steroids use. It shouldn't happen, and it won't.

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 12, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
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Spineless, dither forever without making a decision until sh*t happens Bud Selig "trying to sound tough" is the biggest joke since Richard Nixon said "I am not a crook." When will MLB owners ever wise up and fire that bozo? Oh, right. They're even MORE spineless.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 12, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Looking on I found the following information on the agreement MLB owners and players had on the 2003 testing: "August 30, 2002: MLB and the union unveil Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program as an addendum to the new Basic Agreement, which is bargained at the 11th hour just as the players are about to go out on strike. The new policy calls for "Survey Testing" in 2003 to gauge the use of steroids among players on the 40-man rosters of each club. The tests will be anonymous and no one will be punished." (link:

Good luck Selig. This is about as toothless and pathetic attempt at looking tough on drugs as one can get. I'm wondering just how much the owners are trying to piss off the union if they pursue this, as they will have 1) leaked a name that was supposed to be destroyed and then 2) reneged on their agreement to be free from punishment.

As far as point 1 goes, I'd say that Dunn and his agent must think that this isn't a one year blip in owners not spending money on free agents. I'm surprised that he agreed to a 2 year deal, as those don't seem to be very common. A 1 year deal or a 3 year deal are much more common that I've heard of, because Dunn will be 31 at the end of his 2 year deal, which isn't a prime age to hit the market. It's not the end of his likely peak, but it's not as good as hitting the market as 30 has been, historically.

As for the Manny situation, I think you have to look at it as a win for Boras. In a market with nobody getting big time money, Manny's looking at a payday of 20+ million when Abreu gets 5, Dunn gets 10 and few pitchers hit it big. If he gets a 2 year deal with an easy kicker for 1 more, that's only 1 year less than he was asking for initially. Again, in this market that's pretty darn good.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 12, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I don't understand the Nats signing of Dunn. They are paying 10 million a year to a guy who will be around for 2 years and then likely leave for greener pastures (assuming the economy has turned around/owners open their pocketbooks). Looking at their team this year vs. the rest of the division, they have a very, VERY slim chance of winning the division or getting a wild card slot. Next year doesn't look a whole lot better.

Their core players might turn out to be really good, but I'd say they are still 2-3 years away from hitting their peaks. Zimmerman and Milledge are 23, Dukes is 24, and Hernandez is 25.

So if Dunn is only signed to a 2 year contract, what exactly is he adding to the team? They could have kept Nick Johnson at 1b with a decent backup (Dmitri Young) and saved a lot of money until their team was ready for the infusion of talent to get over the hump.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 12, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

>So if Dunn is only signed to a 2 year contract, what exactly is he adding to the team?

Yeah, all this garbage about 'fitting into long term plans' - and Dunn's only here for two years, because there's no way on earth he's going to sign on for any more. On the Hot Stove Show he made it sound like the only offer he had. Said he 'wanted to play for a contender but...' Just imagine how rotten his attitude will be come August when they're out of it. They could have signed Man-ny for two years if they really wanted to move up a couple of notches. At least they would have been around .500 with him. They only signed Dunn because they were bleeding tickets.

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Dunn I think is coverage for the 1.5 - 2 years before the Nats think Marrero is ready. What it does do is give them a little extra depth to move a corner OF or Nick. The two years for Dunn is as much about setting up 2010 as it is for 2009. 2010 pencils in as Dunn at 1st, Willingham - Milledge - Dukes as 7 - 8- 9.

If I have a gripe, then it would be having both Dunn and Willingham in the field at the same time. I think the defense issues Dave points out really start to be a problem at that point, especially if Milledge does not develop into a rangy CF. Milledge has the speed, but he needs better reads. Even this year, I prefer Milledge - Dukes - Kearns as an outfield to playing Dunn or Willingham in left, with Willingham a 4th OF / 1B and Johnson traded.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 12, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Brue, because Manny doesn't ever just shut himself down when things aren't going right...

The Dunn signing was brilliant. The Nats OPS last season was UNDER .700!!!!! That's why they lost so many games. Dunn is a basically a lock for a .900 OPS give or take 15 points. His defensive woes will be largely meaningless, as anyone can 1st base adequately, and Nick Johnson will have a season ending injury by Easter. Then again, it's impossible to win games when your manager is having guys sub-.300 on base percentages hit lead off (unless it's the 1950's and every team is acting so foolishly).

Also,keep in mind that many, many sluggers have their biggest offensive years between the ages of 30 and 35. The top 3 HR hitters on last year's Nats combined only had 1 more HR than Dunn.

Posted by: keepwastingmoney | February 12, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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