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Why Adam Dunn Just Became Much More Appealing

A couple of fascinating developments at last night's deadline for offering arbitration to free-agency-eligible players. One of them does not affect the Nationals in the least: the Yankees' surprising decision not to offer arbitration to right fielder Bobby Abreu, which appears to have been motivated, at least in part, by the condition of the economy.

But the other development might. In Arizona, the Diamondbacks decided not to offer arbitration to left fielder Adam Dunn, for whom they gave up three prospects in a trade less than four months ago. This means they will not receive any compensation, in the form of draft picks, for losing Dunn via free agency.

It also means the team that signs him will not have to surrender a draft pick to do so.

Interesting quote in the piece linked above from D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes, who acknowledged part of the rationale for their trade for Dunn in August was that they would offer him arbitration at the end of the year and at least receive two draft picks when he left -- a strategy that has shifted because of the economy, and specifically the fear Dunn would accept the offer of arbitration and cost them $15 million or more in 2009.

"That was a premise of the deal," Byrnes was quoted in the story. "The chances at that time [of the team offering arbitration] were very good, but quite a few things have changed. I think it's fair to say it's maybe a little different situation than we anticipated. The poor economy has affected some things."

Despite all sorts of speculation about the Nationals signing Dunn this winter -- and presumably playing him at first base -- I have remained skeptical. For one thing, I've been told repeatedly by people within the organization that the team simply isn't interested, at least at the prices that were being knocked around in November. Now, I've been doing this long enough to know you can't believe everything you're told during free agency -- much of it is posturing. But in this case, it made sense.

People seem to assume that just because the Nationals are contemplating making a major play for Mark Teixeira that Dunn would be an acceptable and cheaper fallback option. That's simply not the case. It's not as if the Nationals all of a sudden are sitting on a pile of money and are itching to spend it all. They still view free agency as the last resort. The plan is still to build the franchise through drafts, player development and the stockpiling of young talent. It's just that Stan Kasten, Jim Bowden and Co. have come to view Teixeira as a once-in-a-generation exception -- a young (28), homegrown, clean-cut, telegenic, switch-hitting, defensively stellar superstar -- and apparently have convinced owner Ted Lerner of the same.

But Dunn, literally, is none of those things. (Well, okay, maybe he's clean cut. I'll give him that one.)

That said, Arizona's decision not to offer Dunn arbitration could change things. All of a sudden, the Nationals can make a better rationalization for shoe-horning him into The Plan -- since he would no longer cost them a precious draft pick. (And we all know about Bowden's fetish for ex-Reds.)

It would still require a short-term deal, no more than two years, and the overall market for him would have to remain sluggish -- Washington is unlikely to enter a bidding war -- but my hunch is that the Nationals woke up this morning with an entirely new view of Adam Dunn.

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 2, 2008; 9:16 AM ET
 
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Comments

Dave, great post but you buried the lede in the next-to-last graf:

"...we all know about Bowden's fetish for ex-Reds."

LOL

Posted by: spotfoul | December 2, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Little-known fact:

Dunn is four months older than Teixeira.

It seems like Dunn is about 35, but he's not.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Is that Adam Dung or Dunn? Something stinks around here. Jimbo fetish I'm sure...

Posted by: Berndaddy | December 2, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

You are thinking about this all wrong. Think about it from the viewpoint of Teddy L.

Dunn will now cost a little more (since other teams won't have to give up a draft pick) while the potential savings of NOT having to pay a million+ signing bonus is gone.

The Nats are going to HAVE to pay $8-$10m to Strasburg as the #1 overall. Then they'll have to pay $3-$5m for the 9A pick. Think they wouldn't like to to have a way out of another $2 million for the first pick of the 2nd round?

Posted by: traderkirk | December 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, traderkirk, I didn't follow your point. I'm trying, but it is a slow day for me. Are you saying the Lerners are now more or less interested in Dunn?

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ooh-ooh! Dunn's intro music could be Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls!"

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Much has been said about how the economy is hampering other team's abilities to pay the big bucks, but it seems the common thought is that the Lerners have the money to shell out for Teixeira. I understand that they have decent income from the team, but their main source of income is commercial real estate development which is pretty much dead because of the credit crunch. Any thought as to how that affects their ability to spend in the near future?

Posted by: erobw | December 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I for one, would welcome Dunn as an alternative to Tex if he can't be signed. Although he isn't Tex or NJ at 1st defensively he is young consistant 40 HR guy. He may strike out a lot but, he has a high OBP and he is the LH power bat the Nats desperately need.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 2, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Traderkirk -

So the Lerner's plan would be to avoid a $2 million signing by signing a player to a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract? And this is the cheaper option?

Posted by: hellfish | December 2, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

>I for one, would welcome Dunn as an alternative to Tex if he can't be signed. Although he isn't Tex or NJ at 1st defensively he is young consistant 40 HR guy. He may strike out a lot but, he has a high OBP and he is the LH power bat the Nats desperately need.<

DUN-NY DUN-NY DUN-NY Short-term contract get in there Jimbo. God I love a recession.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

erobw

It depends on how leveraged they are with their holdings and how their retail holdings make out for the Holiday season. I figure it's going to be tight, but your also looking at a recession proof city at least that's what they tell us, eh. That should mean people are more likely to spend in DC then some other place.

Who knows the Lerner's business, I don't? If they increase payroll let hope they spend money on the draft next year, too...
TBD soon let's hope again..

Posted by: Berndaddy | December 2, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If there's a downturn in the market and these contracts plummet, wouldn't it sorta make sense to try to go longer-term then? Lock these guys in at lower rates now, instead of trying to re-sign them in 2-3 years when the market may have rebounded?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 2, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think ARI non-tendering Dunn makes it much less likely he will sign here. Whatever is going on with the economy all the teams with unprotected first round picks are going to look much more favorably on Dunn now that they won't lose that pick. More comptetition meas more dollars.

I love the idea of Dunn IF we don't get Teixeira, Teix is the kind of player that makes all normal calculation take a back seat. BUT if we don't get him then Dunn has some great advantages;

1. He can play 1B or LF so you have the option to play Nick Johnson and Dunn at the same time.

2. Dunn is a lefty power bat, right now we only have NJ for that, and he can't be relied upon to play more than 50 games.

3. His reported personal relationship with JimBow may make him more willing to take a shorter term contract than he might get elsewhere, we might have to give more dollars per year than others, but Dunn would be more trusting of JimBow to give him every opportunity to succeed and to continue playing the field (some have mentioned he is reluctant to DH, but is willing to switch to 1B if needed).

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"More comptetition meas more dollars."

True, but look at how many Dunn-type players there are on the market. Players like him, Ibanez, Burrell are a dime a dozen in this market. If you want a no-defense slugger, it's a buyer's market.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 2, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that I've never thought that highly of Dunn, despite his prodigious power. However, I didn't really see him play last year. Looking at his stats for last year, I have to say I'm ready to reconsider my evaluation It seems he may finally have realized the potential in those mighty arms. He had the highest OBP of anyone on the AZ roster, and two AZ regulars had more strikeouts. They could do worse than Dunn. I still don't think he's anything like the player Teixeira is -- and not just because Teixeira is a great fielder -- and the Nats really should try their level best to sign him. Still, Dunn looks like a much better option than he did a year ago.

Posted by: fischy | December 2, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I would say that Dunn is an appeasement pick. Despite his age, he doesn't bring as much to the table as Teixeira, which means that as he diminishes thanks to the ravages of time, he will become less valuable at a higher rate than Teixeira. Achy Dunn can never hang out on the bench to pinch hit and serve as a defensive replacement. And without his power, he wouldn't be valuable just pinch hitting.

That doesn't mean you can't sign him to a short-term deal to say "sorry" to angry, impatient fans or that you can't sign him to a longer term deal with every intention of trading him to an AL team in need of a DH in three years. But put most of your effort into Teixeira.

If Dunn is smart, he'll wait to sign afterwards and see just how poor the poor man's Teixeira really is (think only two Lexuses...Lexi?)

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if some other potential competitors for Teixeira might decide to take the "safe" road and go for someone like Dunn or Abreau rather than risk the number of years and dollars that will be necessary for Teixeira.

It seem like the Angels are leaning more toward making a play for CC than Teix. If the Yanks are making moves based on dollars they are likely to focus more on pitching than 1B since they already have Swisher. The Orioles might back off Tex in favor of someone like Dunn, ditto that for LAD who seem to want power to replace Manny, but without the Drama.

That leave us vs Boston which doesn't bode well for us, but the Sox Lowell problem might give us an opening.

I think the big key for Teixeira will be if he's more interested in gross dollars or dollars per season. I think we can go $200/10, but maybe the Redsox go $150/6.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

estuartj, I also recommend to you the excellent suggestion the other day about the All Star incentive built in. He'll get a lot more of those with the Nats.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I have historically been opposed to signing Dunn to a zillion dollar long-term deal, but if indeed the FA market tanks and we can get him for two years, then count me in favor. Yes we theoretically have too many pieces with him in the mix but that's only if everyone proves healthy and productive, and we all know what happened in 2008. Dukes, Kearns, Pena, Johnson and Young were all hurt for extended periods.

Also, we could fill out a high-OBP lineup card that looked like this:

Guzman, ss
Johnson, 1b
Zimmerman, 3b
Dunn, lf
Dukes, rf
Milledge, cf
Flores, c
Somebody, 2b

Then, whenever Nick goes down, Dunn can move to first and Willingham to left.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 2, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

506,
liked the FA/draft pick example on traderumors, but he got the example wrong. Nats get #1 pick, not #2. I'm picking nits but c'mon, we worked hard for that pick!
;)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 2, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Didn't you hear, NatsNut? MLB officially issued the Pirates all-time No. 1 pick status.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Regarding draft pick compensation, the top 15 picks in the draft are protected, so, the Nats wouldn't have lost their shot to draft Strasburg. I'm also pretty sure that they'd still get their Crow pick at 9B also. I think someone may have been alluding to this.

Regarding Shiner's point that according to the Nats, free agency is an option of last resort. Fine - will back-to-back 100 loss season count as the last resort? Frankly, I thought the product that the Nats put on the field in 2008 was an embarrassment. It appears that the Lerners aren't embarassed enough to do anything about it other than to fire some coaches, the team doctor and blame the injuries. The Nats are still an injury prone team that has little depth and if they return with a lineup that counts on Nick Johnson, Dmitri, Kearns and Milledge - we'll all be disappointed.

The Nats need to plug someone like Dunn (or preferably Teixeira) into the lineup and drop everyone else's role down a slot.

Posted by: comish4lif | December 2, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"It appears that the Lerners aren't embarassed enough to do anything about it other than to fire some coaches, the team doctor and blame the injuries."

It's hard for Lerner to hear all that with Bowden constantly tickling his ear lobes.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Yep, yep. Just remembered. We WOULD lose 2nd round draft pick.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 2, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I like that line-up, but don't think NJ at #2 is a good idea, I'm thinking we can take advantage of Dukes athleticism by moving him up, especially if we have more "middle of the order" bats avaialable. For instance;

w/Dunn and NJ
1. Guzman (SS)
2. Dukes (RF)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (LF)
5. Johnson (1B)
6. Milledge (CF)
7. Flores (CA)
8. Hernandez (2B)
9. Redding (SP)

And if/when Nick goes down we go;
1. Guzman (SS)
2. Dukes (RF)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (1B/LF)
5. Willingham (LF/1B)
6. Millege (CF)
7. Flores (CA)
8. Hernandez (2B)
9. Strasburg (SP)

All this is IF you can't get Teixeira, he has to be the a#1 top priority for this off-season.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Dave:

You write: It's not as if the Nationals all of a sudden are sitting on a pile of money and are itching to spend it all. They still view free agency as the last resort. The plan is still to build the franchise through drafts, player development and the stockpiling of young talent.

If this is true, then this is great news. In the last year or two, many of us have been worried about budgetary concerns negating the Nats' plans to stockpile young talent. Their budget for draftees was low last summer, and the Nats did not sign their top draft pick (and only signed some other picks because they let their top pick walk, freeing up some money). The Nats are not among the top clubs signing international youngsters (and in fact seem toward the bottom). The Nats do not trade for young players if a sizable contract is involved. They don't seem too eager to lock up the young talent they do have (like Ryan Zimmerman) to long-term deals.

So when you say that the plan is still to stockpile young players, that is truly fabulous news! Could you please write more about this change of heart?

Posted by: EdDC | December 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

EdDc, do we know their budget was low, or do we just assume so because their spending was low? There's a difference.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez at Second and Dukes in Right had decent OBP. If Hernandez leads off, Dukes bats second, and Milledge third, with Zimmerman fifth, just think of the run production Teixeira would bring hitting cleanup.

Posted by: 6thandD | December 2, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez has 3,500 career minor league ABs. His career minor league on-base percentage is .310.

You think that that track record has less value than the 81 he had for the Nats last year?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

ESJ, I agree that it would be nice to have someone in the #2 slot that was more athletic than NJ, but part of the attraction of my order is that it alternates lefties and righties and thus creating headaches for opposing managers. If we had an ideal base-stealing leadoff man, the patient pitch-taking Nick could be a real asset in the two-hole. Which is to say, once again, that even if we sign Dunn, we're still a few players away from fielding a contender.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 2, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Those line-ups keep leaving out Willingham, at least until NJ goes down but no way Willingham rides the bench. He's a proven big leaguer.

They also all exlcuded Kearns whom the Nats will pay $8m. He is untradable at that number (unless we eat the salary to get prospects, which I don't think makes sense) so he plays every day in hopes he produces at least for a few months to increase value before trade deadline, at least get a draft pick for him.

I do like Dunn if we don't get Tex, which we won't. He is flawed (no defense, no BA) just like Burrell et all but solid all-star slugger. That would make him our only one.

Why aren't we talking about trying to get Abreu? He would also instantly become our best player, by a long shot and is less flawed than some of the other options.

Posted by: Avar | December 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If they sign Dunn I think either Kearns or Willingham will need to be moved. Kearns might have some value to a team looking for a defence first option in right field and/or someone looking for a relamation project, especially someone playing in a bandbox in hopes of him regaining his power stroke. Maybe to Colorado as part of a package for Gonzalez? It would mean eating money, but would you rather pay Kearns $9 to ride the pine or $5 to go away?

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Man, it could be a wild March.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 2, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Esjuarti

I think they may BOTH need to be moved. I'd love to see them both go for Gonzalez.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 2, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the sign Dunn camp (So, Ted if I can't make the meeting, please put me down as a vote for you to invest $20-$40M in a .236 power hitter).

I am for acquiring at least one significant hitter via free agency, at least one healthy arm via free agnecy, and anything else we can get through trade.

Dunn and Willingham both make pitchers throw more pitches per at bat than most batters. (Orlando Hudson also fits into that mold). More pitches = more exposure for the opposition and more opportunities for the Nats.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 2, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

section506:

You wrote: "EdDc, do we know their budget was low, or do we just assume so because their spending was low? There's a difference."

You are correct, I do not know the Nats budgets are low.

Here is the only evidence I have:

1. The Nats claimed that their budgets for signing draftees were based on signing their draftees for slot, that they wanted to be a slot team. OK, that could have been a negotiating ploy.

2. The Nats said that they made a couple midnight draftee signings because they had some freed up money to sign them, since they no longer had to spend for Crow, the top pick they let walk. This implies to me that their budget was low, just using their words.

3. I have heard it said that there were 100 international youngsters who signed for $100K or more this year, but the Nats signed none of them. Again, this implies a low budget. I did not do any research on this--this was somebody's posting awhile back. I would love to see the Post explore this matter, instead of just repeating the bromide that the Nats are focusing on the future.

4. I cannot think of any relatively young player the Nats have received in trade who had a hefty salary. Soriano was the last, but he was pre-Lerners. You could say Willingham and Olsen added payroll, but don't forget the Nats dropped the salaries of Cordero, Rauch, Schneider, Church, Harris, Lo Duca, Estrada, and Mackoviak, again freeing up money. Of course, the Nats will pick up more players, so let's see where they end up. Anyway, by most MLB team standards, all of these salaries are modest. The Nats' recent history implies a modest budget when making trades.

5. The above items are mostly implied, but we do know that the Nats' 2008 MLB payroll was 26th out of 30. Smaller cities like KC spent more. Here is the site:
http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/salaries

Posted by: EdDC | December 2, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

That's all good EdDC, but it still only points to having a small spending history, not a small budget. Your point is fine, it just requires that distinction to be made. Who knows, they may have a bazillion dollars sitting around and are just following my mother's advice to only give it to Prince Charming.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

1. The team never said they were a slot team, that was said about them. Kasten made a big deal that they ARE willing to go well over slot (McGeary & Nieto are both examples)

2. The late rounders signing because Crow didn't sign is all based on ONE quote from Bowden immediately after the deadline. I personally DO NOT think it was a strict either/or situation, maybe Crow looking like a long shot got them to be more agressive with the late rounders, but if Crow had agreed at the last minute they still would have inked those other 2 players. This is just my opinion of course.

3. Don't forget about the investigation about DR contracts, that can't of helped and I think we did try to sign one guy for $100k+ but it turned out he was using a fake identity.

4. Olsen and Willingham were available because we are willing to pick up thier post arbitration salary and Florida is not. Regardless what happend with LoDuca, Estrada, Lopez, et al this is a sign of us being willing to spend MORE money.

5. Spending money to look good on web blogs is not smart baseball. I like that this team seems interested in getting specific players, not filling holes because they can. I don't think they should sign the next available 1B if they don't get Teixeira, that will just tie are hands down the road with a less desireable player at an even less desirable contract rate.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

After that post I think I have to trade my moniker to Mark Lerner's Mom.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

dukes should bat fourth either way next year...

guz (s),
milledge (r),
tex/dunn,nj (s/l),
dukes (r),
zimmerman,
willingham...

o-dog as lead off would be much appreciated.

i'm embarassed that milledge hit .268 last year and was second hightest on the team...

Posted by: longterm | December 2, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Natbisquit, you said it!
Think back to the worst parts (read: most) of the season last year, and one of the biggest frustrations from this team was how easily and often they swung at absolute CRAP!
This team needs a PROFESSIONAL hitter - and aside from Guzman this team has NONE.
Also, I'd put Milledge at #2 instead of Dukes - Dukes projects (and probably already shows) better power than LM, and might be a step slower (although not by much). The fact that he's a more patient bat than LM is probably a better tool for batting #5 than it is for batting #2 - you want your #2 guy to be able to run and move the runner over, not necessarily take pitches all day long.
Also, I'm amazed that supposedly knowledgable Nats fans keep trying to put Nick Johnson into a lineup - haven't you seen enough??!! Personally I'd rather the team move on, try to get ANYTHING for him (hello, Felipe Lopez?) and move for Dunn (3 years) or Tex (10 years). You people are delusional if you're even counting on bench hits from the guy. Just absurd to even assume he deserves a starting spot even IF he's 100% healthy.
Finally, one of these outfielders HAS to go, unless you're going to send Dukes or Milledge back down to the minors, which I don't think is an option. The Nats will wind up eating half of Kearns' salary if they trade him, but it's still something that needs to be done in my mind - take half of the salary, get one or two mid-level prospects in return, and go about your business. Hey, maybe we could even fill the spot with a - hold your breath - outfielder who DOESN'T bat right handed. How many of those guys do we need? (Dukes, Milledge, Willingham, Kearns, WMP)

Posted by: ajtrue78 | December 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It remains to be seen how much weight the front office gives to offense vs defense in the outfield. They seem to fall all over themselves appologizing for Kearns bat because of his glove (and "intagibles") and the fix sure seemed in to move Milledge out of CF for Dukes. That leaves Milledge and Willingham fighting for LF starts since neither seems able to play RF. If they give Milledge another year to try CF then Dukes can play RF and Kearns rides the pine in favor of Willingham (or Dunn or god help me WMP).

I also like the option of getting Gonzalez from Colorado, but I'm not sure he's ready for MLB hitters and we already have 1 glove first starter in Hernandez, with our terrible offensive production can we really afford to give up 2 spots in the line-up for defense?

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

i'm afraid kearns is a glove first right fielder.

Posted by: longterm | December 2, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Here is a quote from Mark Lerner in the Post

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/07/todays_lineup_and_things_that.html

Lerner called some of his early draft picks' bonus requests "ridiculous," and added, "You have to look at the global thing. This is the budget for signing these guys, and you if sign them for this much, you won't be able to sign somebody else down the ladder."

The draft results demonstrated that the Lerner budget philosophy was indeed followed. This philosophy may not be showing total obedience to slot, but it is slot-like. It shows restraint in an area where too much restraint is hurtful, if the goal is stockpiling young players. The amount of money saved by not signing draft picks is minor (maybe a couple million per year savings), especially when compared to the overall budgets in every MLB club. This is the wrong area in which to be excessively frugal, if the club wants to build for the future.


Posted by: EdDC | December 2, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Kearns might make a better 4th outfielder than Willingham, but Willingham offers more flexibility since he can also play 1B. This is a huge deal since if we don't get Teixeira and even if we do get Dunn we need to have multiple backups at 1B given the injury/health history of Johnson and Young.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Dunn may be a great player and if he comes here I will support him. However, I do not trust any HR stats from Cincinnati or Philly. Even Kearns and Lopez had good stats playing in that Cincinnati band box. If we want someone to strikeout 200+ times a season, bring back Brad Wilkerson. At least some fans have his jersey already.

There has been a lot of talk the past month about the Nats signing FA's. I will have to see it to believe it. I have said it before, and will say it again, the Learners are CHEAP! CHEAP! CHEAP! For the people about to tell me the leave the Learner’s alone, tell me where they have spent money. It has not been on the “face of the franchise” nor last years first round pick. So where? They have about three weeks to prove me wrong.

Posted by: Batboy05 | December 2, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

i'm still happy we dropped crow. that was absurd. the agent didn't work at all and they are the ones who should be embarrassed. not allowing yourself to be bent over is not what i would call cheap. it shows a backbone and that does help you in future negotiations.

also who cares that they haven't tried to extend zimmerman yet. it takes two and neither side is ready. yawn.

dunn's power has nothing to do with any size park he plays in. if it's gone it's gone anywhere.

sign tex and hudson. make kerry wood a starter and see what happens.

Posted by: longterm | December 2, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I think enough of us stat geeks have done the mythbusting on Dunn's power being a product of playing in Cincy. To sum up the truth is;

He his HR equally well home and away.

His SLG was actually better on the road

His numbers actually improved in ARI vs Cincy

Just like longterm said, when you have Dunn's power it doesn't matter what ballpark your in, gone is gone.

Posted by: estuartj | December 2, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

i wonder if tampa is interested in kearns. i think kearns is a goner this winter, we'll eat the money for a prospect. go!

Posted by: longterm | December 2, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Hell, at this point I'd eat the salary for a decently talented ballboy!

Posted by: soundbloke | December 2, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So the city council just gave preliminary approval to rename the portion of South Capitol Street that runs past the ballpark. Yep, Nationals Park on Taxation Without Representation Street!

Posted by: BobLHead | December 2, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Most recently, 506 laid out a great argument in the last thread.

-----

I think enough of us stat geeks have done the mythbusting on Dunn's power being a product of playing in Cincy.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 2, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

People, please. Dunn in LF at Nationals' Park = WMP with proven power (little range, glove that sounds like a bag full of nails when he drops it on the bench). Dunn at 1B = A.Boone with much better power & younger legs offensively, but can he dig out the "short-hop" throws consistently enough to warrant a long-term look at 1B?
Chicks dig the long-ball, but defense wins championships.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I cannot beleive we're talking about bringing in Adam Dunn you've got to be kidding me the guy's a strikeout machine PLEASE!!! don't do it Ted, forty homer's ahhh NO! Let some other team pick him up off the scrap heap just say NOOOOOOO!!

Posted by: dargregmag | December 2, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"Yep, Nationals Park on Taxation Without Representation Street!"

I was sad to see that my suggestion - Whine About a Legitimate Concern Until Everybody Hates You Avenue - was not chosen.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Holy Hyperbolic Hydras, Batman. What's with all these heads of extreme Dunn-hating? I agree he's not the recipe for success for this team, but 1) a proven WMP is a darn good thing for a ball team to have one of and 2) Type B free agent is by definition not the scrap heap.

Posted by: Section506 | December 2, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

>Kearns might make a better 4th outfielder than Willingham, but Willingham offers more flexibility since he can also play 1B.<

Willingham can also catch, too. Good guy to have as a third catcher, and a backup if someone gets hurt and they want to bring up another pitcher to fill the roster slot, for instance. He can save you a lot of moves during the year. He can pinch-hit for the catcher, and then go play it, and save a double-move.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

>dunn's power has nothing to do with any size park he plays in. if it's gone it's gone anywhere.<

I was watching a Reds-Cubs game this year, and he hit one out of Wrigley to right field, and he missed the ROOF of the three-story building across the street by about 10 feet. The people in the last row of the bleachers just stood there and laughed. As soon as he made contact, the entire park went completely silent. It made that sound. The sound that only a few guys in the history of the game could make.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

>i wonder if tampa is interested in kearns. i think kearns is a goner this winter, we'll eat the money for a prospect. go!<

Ladson says they're probably going to trade for pitching instead of signing it. You gotta believe a couple of the outfielders will be gone for some arms. It's all they have to trade on the ML roster.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I overstated something earlier; Dunn is actually WORSE than WMP defensively in LF. Dunn: FPct =.969, Range Factor = 1.96. WMP: FPct =.975, Range Factor = 2.27. Yikes!

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Brue: I'd think Tampa wants to stay young & cheap for a couple more years - what do you think they'd offer in exchange for Kearns (& a salary assist)?

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to tell, because they might only be looking for backup depth exclusively at this point. Kearns is going to have to be packaged, he doesn't bring enough to stand on his own right now imo. They might be able to get something for him + salary relief, but it won't be anything good. He'd actually be worth more if he had more than one year on his contract. I still don't think that Milledge is off the block. They found out he's not the answer in CF, and either he, Pena or Kearns, or even all three may have to go. Especially if they get Dunn or Tex or whoever. I mean, you're probably talking about Dunn LF, Dukes CF, Willingham in right. The rest of the guys are tradebait imo.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Brue: "I mean, you're probably talking about Dunn LF, Dukes CF, Willingham in right. The rest of the guys are tradebait imo." NNNN-OOOOOOOO-OOOOOOO-OOOOOO!!!! Between those two, Dukes would either be two inches shorter (from running his legs off), or suspended (for trying to strangle either of them for giving up on one-too-many gap shots), or both.
Our current outfield of Willingham-Milledge-Dukes-Kearns looks decent, except for the fact that they're all RH. One (or more of them) might be trade bait for later in the off-season or ST, but Dunn has got to be a "plan-b minus" option until the FA market starts to settle.
The FO has to go after Teixiera hard - he's a once-in-a-decade (or better) talent, and would balance perfectly with Zimmerman at the other corner.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

"Here is a quote from Mark Lerner in the Post

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/07/todays_lineup_and_things_that.html

Lerner called some of his early draft picks' bonus requests "ridiculous," and added, "You have to look at the global thing. This is the budget for signing these guys, and you if sign them for this much, you won't be able to sign somebody else down the ladder.""

In the July 2008 timeframe when Mark Lerner said this, Aaron Crow's reported request for a $9M bonus was indeed ridiculous. Mark Lerner was simply stating the obvious, and nothing more than that should be read into or inferred from this statement.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 2, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

nunof1: And your point was?

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

>The FO has to go after Teixiera hard - he's a once-in-a-decade (or better) talent, and would balance perfectly with Zimmerman at the other corner.<

I think there's a good chance that can happen. Will just depend on how many years they want to use to out-do the other bidders. Which would probably be the O's. Red Sox maybe. That's it.

I still have Dunn for a guilty pleasure. Nobody's attacked the right field porch at Nats Park yet.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Teixiera could...

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

... on a pitch on the black, while Dunn could...

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

only on a hanging slider at the belt from a right-handed pitcher.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

The point being, Dunn can Crush a mistake, but Teixiera can take a good pitch deep.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, 200 plus homers in 5 years baybee. Dunn hits them in all directions too.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Versus 178 in the same five years (in both the AL & NL), and a gold-glover to boot.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and more RBI's in 220+ fewer games.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Brue: Surrender - we're comparing the savant banjo-player from "Deliverance" (Dunn) to a multi-dimentional talent like P.Domingo (Teixiera).

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Brue: Surrender - we're comparing the savant banjo-player from "Deliverance" (Dunn) to a multi-dimentional talent like P.Domingo (Teixiera).

Not quite sure why "Deliverance" didn't show up in the prior post.

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I remember I saw Deliverance in the theatre when it came out in '73. I'm young, we snuck into the theatre. Me and my buddy were the only two in the theatre laughing when Ned Beatty was squealing.

It's only a visual. Don't be fooled by the massive potential.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

As ugly as AK was last year, and most of the year before, I think he could end up as a 4th OF this year for a team wanting to drop a bad contract. Bad for bad trade. He can fill in at CF and play both corners. No one seriously questions his arm. He is usually around 3.9 - 4.1 pitches per plate appearance, which is very good. If a team thinks his hitting fall off was due to an injury he was playing through (as some suspected), I could see him moved.

If that were the case, then there is plenty of room for Dunn in LF. Willingham reverts to a 400+ AB extra bat at 1st, OF, maybe C. If Nick is hurt (a contingency not unlike if the Dow fluctuates), then Dunn moves to 1st and Willingham is full time. Milledge would have to play CF and Dueks RF, barring more trades.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 2, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Look, all he has to do is make one simple adjustment, and that is to get his hands away from his body when the pitch is coming. He pins his hands and arms against his body for no apparent reason. That's it - just keep his hands settled in the hitting position so he can just sweep the bat through the zone, because he goes to the gaps when he's going well. The mf can hit, he just forgot how.

Posted by: Brue | December 2, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

if we acquire Dunn, he WILL NOT be playing Left Field.

Book it.

if he's wearing a Nationals Uniform, he's a first baseman.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 2, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

What about....

Assuming he gets his bat back - moving Kearns to CF, Dukes in RF (or is Dukes clearly a better CF). With all the ground those two can cover, might somewhat compensate for a weak LF like Dunn.

What worries me is folks who seem fixated on offense (which is fun to watch) while neglecting defense. Tex brings both to the table and the Lerners should pursue him with whatever means is necessary.

However, Dunn short term is not a bad fall-back plan while we wait for our young 'uns on the farm to mature.

Still deeply concerned that the Lerners haven't done much internationally this off-season.

Posted by: DesertNat | December 2, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1: And your point was?

Posted by: BinM | December 2, 2008 8:53 PM"

My point is don't use this quote as evidence that the Lerners aren't willing to spend money, as the original poster was doing.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 2, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is a RFer, Dukes is the only guy we have that can play all 3 OF positions, Milledge doesn't have the arm for RF and seems at this point to be a liability at CF.

Teixeira is our #1 priority and I believe the team is doing everything possible to sign him. IF that doesn't work out then Dunn as a 2-3 year stopgap until Marrero and Burgess are ready.

The biggest thing is that we need a lefty power bat in the line-up, we can't rely on Nick to be our only 1B and adding yet another 1B only player on the 25 man roster makes no sense. Dunn's ability to play LF and 1B (plus Willingham's too) give us the flexibility we need to compensate for the injuries we KNOW are coming.

Posted by: estuartj | December 3, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

"Kearns is a RFer, Dukes is the only guy we have that can play all 3 OF positions"

Kearns is good enough defensively to play all three outfield positions, and I believe he has done so. Maybe not much here, but definitely in Cincinnati. He's played right pretty much exclusively since he's been here basically because he was the only viable option there until Dukes came along, not because it's the only position he can play.

"Milledge doesn't have the arm for RF and seems at this point to be a liability at CF."

Agreed on that, but anyone would have to admit that Milledge in center is still better than anyone else the Nats trotted out there for the three years before he arrived. Milledge took a black hole of a position and turned it into a mere liability. He, Bowden and Acta ought to get at least a little credit for that, since it is progress after all. If Kearns was hitting up to what has always been promised of him, we wouldn't have a problem now. Kearns or Dukes could play center, the other one plays right and Milledge left, and that's not a bad outfield. Kearns is the real problem here, not Milledge.

Posted by: raykingsgutfeeling2 | December 3, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

MLB Team Fielding Rankings (based on the individually inferior, but more valid on a team level FPCT, according to ESPN.com)

I've put an asterisk in front of playoff teams, and a W behind teams with winning records.

1. Houston (.989) W
2. St. Louis (.986) W
3. Toronto W
4. NY Mets W
5. NY Yanks W
6. San Diego
7. *Boston W
8. *Philly (.985) W
9. LA Angels 100 Wins
10. *Tampa Bay W
11. Colorado
12. Cleveland .500
13. Kansas City (.984)
14. *LA Dodgers W
15. Seattle
16. *Milwaukee W
17. Oakland
18. San Francisco (.983)
19. Baltimore
20. *Chi Cubs W
21. Pittsburgh
22. Atlanta
23. *Chi Sox
24. Minnesota (.982) W
25. Detroit (.981)
26. Arizona W
27. Cincinnati
28. Florida (.980) W
29. Washington
30. Texas (.978)


My own thought: not to be too John Madden about this, but the key to a winning a game is getting more runs than you give up.

Posted by: Section506 | December 3, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

one big reason our defense is terrible is the injuries. so many guys playing out of position. and now felipe lopez is gone. that has to help.

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

The list supplied by 506 of the team fielding rankings is particulary upsetting because I remember Acta saying last spring how much he was going to emphasize defense.
Granted that we had a free fall zone at first base I thought the infield as a whole did not improve. The idea of putting someone of Dunn's ability in left field is just going to be excruciating to watch. I will channel JayB here in saying that Acta failed last year in his part of getting the players to concentrate when they were in the field. Maybe the new coaches will have a positive influence.

Posted by: driley | December 3, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

>The list supplied by 506 of the team fielding rankings is particulary upsetting because I remember Acta saying last spring how much he was going to emphasize defense.<

Acta didn't emphasize anything - defense, the running game, sacrifices, hitting behind the runner, being patient at the plate. Nothing. He's a loser.

Posted by: Brue | December 3, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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