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The Market For Adam Dunn

Right now, Adam Dunn wants a four-year, $56 million contract. And who knows, maybe he gets it. Maybe he also gets a Lamborghini, a new house, and exclusive use of the Burj Al Arab helicopter pad. Maybe he can hire Pat Burrell to babysit his kid.

Across baseball, Dunn's reported asking price has left baseball executives -- including those at 1500 S. Capitol St. -- with their eyebrows just about raised up to their hairlines. Certainly you cannot fault Dunn for trying to name his price, but for the time being, he seems nowhere close to getting it. One agent I spoke with today said that "I think Dunn will get a max of $5 million per year. Anything more than that and I'd be surprised."

Here's the other factor in play: Will any A-list team make a run for Dunn?

Dunn's value, one AL exec told me today, "will fluctuate based on who has a need... so you have to figure out, Does a big-money team need him?"

Perhaps it's a bit premature to answer, only because Dunn could well remain unemployed until Manny Ramirez signs somewhere. Indeed, Dunn's true value might not emerge until the losers in the Manny sweepstakes determine how badly they want a 40-HR fallback option. But for now, I feel comfortable saying that no big market team seems like a true, head-over-heels suitor for Dunn. That's why Dunn just might end up in Washington, the one team that unequivocally wants the guy.

So how about the other teams? Here is what I've got, based on some reading, a few conversations with involved executives, and a little help from others in the beat writing fraternity.

I'm listing only teams that I've seen rumored to have an interest. Hopefully I'm not excluding anybody; if you notice any omissions, just holler.

RED SOX -- This one is a longshot at best. There is no natural or obvious fit for Dunn, unless Boston were to place him at first, move Kevin Youkilis to third and find a taker for Mike Lowell. To complicate matters: Dunn has told at least some teams that he only wants to play OF, not 1B or DH.

ORIOLES -- They no longer have any interest. This is confirmed.

DODGERS -- This is one of those teams looking first at Manny; they're really counting on signing him, and if they don't, it remains to be seen how they'll delegate that money. But there's a good chance they will prefer Bobby Abreu over Dunn.

BRAVES -- I'm not sure on this one, but you've got to figure that the high-profile Derek Lowe signing takes a big hack out of their remaining budget. This mlb.com article mentions that the Breaves "still don't seem interested in satisfying the salary desires possessed by Adam Dunn and other free-agent outfielders."

MARINERS -- They are, at best, a dark horse. I'm getting the impression they'd look at Dunn only if he was a Filene's-type bargain, maybe two years, $10 million.

BREWERS -- They have no interest in Dunn.

GIANTS -- Dunn is a stretch here. They have a hole at first base, and they have a gaping need for power (SF finished last in baseball in '08 in HRs), but the Giants already have defensive concerns about their infield and might hesitate to insert Dunn there.

YANKEES -- Just because. Maybe they have a few extra Lamborghinis in the garage.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 19, 2009; 4:17 PM ET
 
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Next: Arbitration Numbers

Comments

Sounds like he's gonna get an attitude adjustment. Not sure I want him if he demands to be an outfielder. Pitching & defense should be our first priority.

Think this gets resolved in the next few weeks or stretches into ST?

Posted by: Bazz | January 19, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"But for now, I feel comfortable saying that no big market team seems like a true, head-over-heels suitor for Dunn. That's why Dunn just might end up in Washington, the one team that unequivocally wants the guy."

Chico,

Could I ask you what you are basing this on? That's not a rhetorical question.

I know the Nats have said they want a power bat. I've also heard JimBo say though that Dunn is an American League player only because he cannot play defense. Has he changed his tune? Are the Nats so desperate to do something that's he's willing to swallow that? One unfounded assumption I think people are making is that Bowden loves Dunn because they were both in Cincy. I don't think that's necessarily true.

I guess I'd just love to see a quote from JimBo saying he has "unequivocal interest" because I've never heard him express anything positive about the guy. Other than being a LH hitter, Dunn is not the type of player he likes. He tends to go for speed, defense, and athleticism.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 19, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

It's not his attitude. These guys just play along with their agents instructions. That's been demonstrated fairly well by now. His agent is just describing what he thinks Dunn can get. And he'll get something close but, not from us one suspects.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

umm..Dunn is one of Jimbo's boys from Cincinnatti, just like Austin Kearns.

i don't see how Dunn is "not the type of player he likes".

Posted by: MrMadison | January 19, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Even Bowden isn't going to declare interest. That's the negotiating equivalent of a catcher shouting to the pitcher to tell him what pitch to throw.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Based on this I'll go one year $7M and not a penny more! If he signs before spring training, I'll throw in 6 weeks of 1B coaching from a top defensive specialist.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 19, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Even Bowden isn't going to declare interest. That's the negotiating equivalent of a catcher shouting to the pitcher to tell him what pitch to throw."

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 5:16 PM

Presumably one has to declare interest at some point, right? Like calling his agent to negotiate?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 19, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

If Dunn won't play 1B, I would rather have Abreu too. If he will play 1B, is he worth the ~7 million (or whatever) to be redundant to Johnson, Willingham, Eldred, Whitney, Meat, et al?

Bottom line - not real sure what FA bat would make us markedly better. Lets get Sheets.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 19, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

What about the nationals?

Posted by: Baseball95der26 | January 19, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

#4

Quite.

I meant to the meaningless masses. You know, like you and me.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Calling his agent, and telling the press you've called his agent, are two different things, #4, as I know you know.

And as long as I'm wearing my (well-worn) Captain Obvious cape, Soriano was very clear he didn't want to play the outfield, too.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

We all here, understandably, have written off any significant playing time for Nick Johnson.
But what if he doesn't get hurt until, say, late August or September?
Which one of Dunn, Willingham, Milledge, Dukes, and Kearns do you trade before that happens?

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I think it really boils down to whichever anyone will take. I say Willigham because Kearns can play two positions in the outfield and Willingham is basically just Dunn-lite anyway.

One day I'll get over how much I hate that we traded for him. But I'll apologize for the the bile I'm going to spew until I do.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK. I understand what everyone is saying.

It's just that I'd like to know that the assertions that Chico Harlan is making in his latest post are based in fact. My sense though is that it's more like Mr. Madison's thought that since JimBo likes Kearns because of their Cincy connection then he MUST like Dunn.

I just don't think that's true. My point is that if JimBo signs Dunn, he's doing it against his usual MO of evaluating players. Big, slow, poor defenders are not what he goes for. In some ways he'd be bending in ways that he does not think are wise - simply to placate the fans screaming for money to be spent.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 19, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, hot topic. First of all Dunn = 4-yr, $56M, with position demands... Bwaaah-hhhhaaaaaa-hhhaaaaa! In the current market, he (& his agent are dreaming). More like 1-yr, $8-10M, sign it or move along.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@#4 "Big, slow, poor defenders are not what he goes for"......3 words...Willy Mo Pena

Posted by: Season_Ticket_Holder_Class_05 | January 19, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@CE:

If NJohnson is still healthy in June, TRADE HIM!! It could be that simple.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Unless something changes, the only outfield that really works is Willingham, Milledge and Dukes. Those three could easily hit 75 homers and 240 RBI.

If the team gets Dunn, he has to play first.

Contract? 4 years/$40 million seems fair for 40 homer and 100 RBI.

Posted by: rushfari | January 19, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@rush:
You are exposed as as my mortal enemy (U of U here, born & raised in SLC) on all other things, except baseball. I'm on board with Strasberg at #1, unless something horrible happens.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 5:37 PM
--------------

All colledge rivaliries aside, you are on the right track with Willingham / Milledge / Dukes, but I would add Kearns to the mix for 2009, at least.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

urk - can't believe I misspelled 'college' in the prior post.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

While Dunn is a 'big bat' (40HR, +/- 100RBI) for the middle of the lineup, his defensive skill-set in either LF or 1B leave something to be desired.
Are the Nationals ready to surrender defense for a power bat at either position?

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

ST Holder:

I was waiting for someone to play the WMP card. I would argue that he was a desperation signing as well, done at a time when he had no other options.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 19, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

@rush:

Willingham / Milledge / Dukes at 75HR, & 240RBI is wildly optimistic; more like 55HR, 210RBI for the year.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

@#4:

Agreed with your conclusion re: WMP. Since he's on the roster (and he's tall), why not try him out at 1B. Couldn't hurt.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I posted this before; if WMP hasn't hired someone like Steve Garvey to teach him how to play first with this situation then he needs to be released. This is his opportunity get get at bats and prove his worth, clearly he won't get much if he plans on staying with the Nats and playing corner outfield.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 19, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Did someone just put "Wily Mo Pena" and "Can't hurt" in the same post?

Posted by: comish4lif | January 19, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

You know (or maybe you don't) that I have never been the biggest Willy Mo booster, but he really was a weapon of mass production the second half of 2007. If his dreadful, dreadful 2008 was because of the significant tear in his oblique then there is a chance he could become a valuable asset once again. I know I may be overplaying the optimsm card, but as someone who has had both torn and untorn muscles, I strongly endorse the untorn variety.

By the Ides of March WMP may be launching mostorous blasts over the "Viera -- It's All Here" billboard in center.

And here's the rub: If he can play 1B, then the Nats may need to give pause before signing a Dunn deal.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 19, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"@rush:

Willingham / Milledge / Dukes at 75HR, & 240RBI is wildly optimistic; more like 55HR, 210RBI for the year"

I disagree. Let me show you why:

Josh Willingham's 162 game ave: .266-25-85

Lastings Milledge's 162 game ave: .263-16-72

Elijah Dukes' 162 game ave: .235-28-80

In 2006-2007, his two "almost" full seasons, Willingham averaged 23 homers in 140 games. If he stays healthy, he gets to 25 homers and 80 RBI easily.

On June 28th, in 82 games, Milledge was .242-6-33. He missed 3 weeks and returned 100% healthy for the first time in 2008, and hit .299-7-30 in the team's last 59 games (which works out to .299-19-81 over an entire 162 game season).

So, just based on their career averages, and not taking into consideration that Dukes and Milledge are still learning, the three should hit 72 homers and drive in 246 RBI.

So, yes, if they stay healthy in 2009 they should get to those 75 homers and 240 RBI.

Posted by: rushfari | January 19, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Chico can shed some light on the possibility of WMP playing first - Bowden won't return my calls anymore

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 19, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

About the only two clues that Wily Mo might be able to play 1B is that 1) he played three games there in the minors and 2) the Sons of Sam Horn sponsor his Baseball Reference page.

I have to say that I cannot agree with all of you who suggest that "fill in the blank" should just learn how to play 1B. It's not that easy. Moving from another infield position, you got a decent shot at it, but coming from the corner OF or C is another story. If Wily Mo is a butcher in LF, he'll be even worse at 1B. In addition learning a new position is a drag on your offensive production.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, if the market has not been set for Zimmerman's contract at the end of this season by Markakis', then it's pretty well close. Zimm and his agent had to be pretty glad to see that signing, especially if he can summon up a season of full health and unhampered production.

Posted by: faNATic | January 19, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I know that this is overly simple logic, but if your intention was all along to get Dunn, why in the world do you trade for Willingham, sign Harris and keep Kearns? I have just never bought the story that the Nats are Dunn's strongest suitor. After watching Dunn play left field last year I would have directed my entire hitting lineup to try to place the ball in left field.

Posted by: driley | January 19, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I know this is a different market than last year, but considering the team was paying Flip $6M, Lo Duca $5M, Estrada $1M, Nick Johnson $5.5M, Young $5M, and Kearns $9M, why isn't Dunn worth $6+ per year for, say 3 or 4 years? I understand his defense is indefensible, but he has a solid bat. Willingham may be willing (no pun intended) to move to 1B, obviously, this team needs help there.

Throwing $25M for 4 years at Dunn is not necessarily blowing the budget, but am I missing something, other than his awful defense??

Posted by: -CN- | January 19, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Based on the number of injuries that occurred during the last World Baseball Classic, Dunn might be wise to wait to see if one of the big money clubs lose a player and up the ante for the remaining free agents.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | January 19, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

As to the "Willy Mo", "it can't hurt" snark. It actually can't. Spring training exists to evaluate men like Willy Mo. Give him a shot. See if he can jack the ball. If he can, then he can be traded, Willingham can be traded, or he can provide pop off the bench.

If he is still useless we cut him. But no smart manager would cut him before they've given him a chance.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Also driley asks a damn good question. Bonafacio for Olson is a much better trade for us, than the one we made. Willingham is a damn appendix. A useless Kearns-a-like, mid level roster filler who does nothing but get in the way of talent and will provide non-spectacular production that will not get us closer to .500 next year or an eventual world series.

It was a terrible trade. I'd rather have Emilio back and sign Wolf to take Olson spot in the rotation. Gad damn. I promised I was going to control my anger over this.

Also, I like Emilio. He was fun to watch.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 20, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of signing Dunn, due to my insane and undying affinity for NJ, but holy geez, how can you dismiss what his offensive stats would add to the Nats' anemic lineup? We're not talking about Dr. Strangelove here. WMP is far worse in the field. Dunn=40 HRs, in the bank. If you don't like that, fine. But let's be honest about it.

Posted by: nats24 | January 20, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

But if Dunn is dead set on playing the OF then why sign him? Do we need more corner outfielders?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 20, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

This is a tough question. Dunn, Dukes, Willingham in the OF......they will hit that is for sure. Milledge can up LF and Kearns Back up RF as defensive replacements. We will need a 1B option other than Nick. Anyone seen D Young downtown this week? How much is he weighing in at these days?

Posted by: Season_Ticket_Holder_Class_05 | January 20, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

For those concerned about Dunn accepting a position switch, I have just two words for you - Alfonso Soriano....

Of course Manny Acta is no Frank Robinson (and vice versa) but, given a choice between a playing 1B or earning less, which way would you go?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 20, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

One other note this morning. Congratulations to all of us on electing Barrack Obama to the Presidency of the United States. And here's to hoping that doing the right thing results in good things for the country and the world.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 20, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I was thrilled about that too bisquit (although being a card carrying Expo fan they don't let me vote), until I heard Obama was appointing Jim Bowden Secretary for Economic Development.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 20, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Dunn? Didn't he strike out 164 times last year? Do we need to rename the team to the Washington Reds? Actually, on this day, that makes sense.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | January 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Forget Dunn - if you're going to spend that money - go get Sheets, or see what you need to give up to get Peavy, or find a couple other decent, reliable, and durable starters that will keep you in games.

I'd rather see Dukes, or Willingham, or Kearns attempt to become a 1B, or give Nick another chance to become the comeback player of the year. Dunn is Dave Kingman reincarnated.

Posted by: AsstGM | January 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't recall seeing this mentioned, but Biff Lobson has an item about Nats on the WBC provisional roster:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090119&content_id=3749626&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:

Looking at the list, I'd have to think that
> Bernadina & Martis will make the cut for Nederland.
>Rivera will probably be on the P.R. roster.
>Cabrera is a maybe for the D.R. as is Castillo for Venezuela.
>Orr will make the Canada roster.

How will that effect the Nationals in Viera? That's two relievers (Rivera & Martis), and a rotation pitcher (Cabrera) out of camp for a month; at least the team will get to evaluate some of the others (Atilano, T.Young, et al). The hitters are all AAA players at best to start the season, imo.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

If I were the GM I would have no interest in Dunn as an outfielder. This club already has enough players that are challenged to play their positions defensively.

The only reason to sign Dunn as opposed to trading for a bat is to fill a potential hole at first base and not have to count on the return to form of Nick Johnson.

In this case I agree with the Nats position of passing on Dunn at this time.

However, I am still not letting the club off the hook for not trying harder to acquire a veteran starting pitcher via trade that could lead the rotation.

Scott Olsen at 24 is the dean of the group in terms of performance but I don't see him as a #1 pitcher on a playoff team.

There are enough veteran pitchers out there under contract whose dollars would indicate their teams might want to unload them and the Nationals payroll right now is so low the team could afford to take on a relatively high salary and still be way below the average of the big market clubs.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 20, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The more I look at the 40-man roster, the more I wish that the team could 1) sign Hudson @2B, and 2) move Belliard, an OF (or 2 or 3) & maybe a CA prospect for a solid SP. Just wondering if the FO has talked to anyone from the Giants orginazation lately?

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

1a, Biff Lobson? LOL.

Also, it seems an appropriate time to remind ourselves that the 26-year old team-controlled player we exchanged for WMP hit .300/.356/.515 with 24 dingers for AAA Pawtucket last year. Oh, and he plays first base. And bats lefthanded. Not that we could use a guy like that or anything.

(OK, I'm done channeling sbiel.)

Posted by: BobLHead | January 20, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

...or for that matter, have they talked to Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Diego, Houston, Toronto, Cleveland, the White Sox or even the Yankees?

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The Bucs just signed Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $7m deal, avoiding arbitration. He's a free agent after this season and just turned 29. Batted .270/.341/.500 with 25 dingers, right on his career line. A plus defender at first, and a lefthanded bat. Keep an eye on this guy, he could be a target (a homeless man's Mark Teixeira, if you will).

Posted by: BobLHead | January 20, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@BobL:
Sorry, having a senior moment - to whom are you referring sir; Whitesell?

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@BobL (again):

I too, like LaRoche, but would rather hope that one of the Nationals MiL 1B candidates (Whitney, Rheinhart, Marrero, Lefave, Padron) will be ready by 2010.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

BiM, how about getting John Bowker from the Giants in whatever deal you're working on with them? Another young, LH 1B with some potential and pop.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 20, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

BobL, I'm trying not to think about 1B replacements right now - Bowker could hold some promise, but I'm thinking more about a SP that could stabilise the staff over the next 2-3 years. As I listed in my prior post, the Nats' have 1B in their future.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

We sent El Fruto to AZ for Chris Carter and then flipped Carter for WMP.

Whitesell, for his part, hit .328/.425/.568 with 26 dingers and 110 RBIs for Arizona's AAA club, after being claimed off waivers from the Nats last March. He's now 26, another LHB and a solid glove man. But we didn't need that.

(OK maybe I'm not done channeling SOCH, not sure what's gotten into me today.)

Posted by: BobLHead | January 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I'm not trying to get in the way of your SP search, I'm just adding players to your shopping list. I think our 1b talent in the minors is a few years away. Whitney could be a dark horse though, it would be fantastic if he stepped up and seized the job.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 20, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Interesting bit of history, Josh Gibson died from a brain tumor on this day in 1947. He was 35.

61 years later, in a city that served as the second home of his Homestead Grays, the first African American President was sworn into office.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 20, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Given that the Nationals have invited both Whitney & Eldred to Viera, I think I can all but give up on the WMP / Kearns 'experiment' at 1B. Oh, well...

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

That talk was just idle chatter during the doldrums of an uneventful offseason, anyway.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@JiM: IMO, a shame actually - It could have added 'versatility' value to a couple of players on the roster (WMP in particular) for use during the season or in trade talks. I can only hope that Whitney makes a case in Viera for inclusion on the 40-man for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I think we should see another wave of signings in the next 10 days. Surely most players -even the patient ones- are going to want at least two weeks of adjustement prior to reporting date. While Manny Ramirez may be able to hold out with confidence, wouldn't the Abreu's, Dunn's, and Hudson's want to take the 1 year deal and make sure they are ready to play. Surely the Millar's, Hinske's, and Wiggington's are aware that there spot on a 25 man roster is not assured.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out that Chico did an excellent job with the Snarkiness Quotient (SQ) in this post. The Lamborghini's line was quite solid.

In other news, why isn't there other news? Did the entire world stop for the inauguration? Not that that's a problem, but c'mon, it's over. Who need inaug. balls when you could still get Orlando Hudson (maybe for the same price as a ball ticket?)!?!

Posted by: NattyDelite | January 20, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@bisquit:
Probably true - I just don't see the Nationals jumping back into the market for anyone that's left without a trade or two to go along with it. The roster is overloaded with middling RH-OF's & lacks an inning-eating SP. A proven SP & another LH bat than can actually field his position would go a long way to setting this team right.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@NDelite:
I'd just be happy to hear that the Nationals got one or two of their Arb-eligible players under contract.

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

OMG - It's Abe on a float. I wore my Milledge jersey to the Mall because it ahd a 44 on it. Under my down jacket.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 20, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I have not posted on the WMP to first suggestions before, but in 2006, my other team tried to do it. This was Youk's first year at 1st (just after the Lowell deal), and it was not clear that Youkilis would be the hitter he turned out to be and it was not clear he'd be a golden glove.

As it turns out, Pena did not play much at first, both because of Youk and because Trot Nixon and Coco battled injuries. His best position, surprisingly, was CF. He picked up the ball much better, and was fast enough. He was a little shy in RF at Fenway. I think the Red Sox came to the conclusion he could not field well at 1st. I don't think 1st went well for him, but it may just be that Youk proved to be very good.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 20, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I remain a PLAN believer, but I also think another season of triple A ball might not be good for Zimmerman, Dukes, Milledge and Flores. Last year was not just a dreadful spectacle, it created an unfortunate air of "hey, we're not supposed to win." Chico reported a couple times from league sources that the nonchalant attitude was obvious to opponents. For these guys to develop they need to be pushed a bit and they could stand to play in more competitive ball games. To me, realization of the plan requires investment in some guys who don't just improve the product, but do so in a meaningful way. By way of example, I think Zimmerman could be stunted by being over burdened in the line-up. How much better might he be if he had a real credible bat behind him, which has happened only sporadically? Wouldn't a guy like Garland raise the whole rotation by eating up 200 or so innings in a credible fashion? If there is talent out there at discount prices AND the market gives them an incentive to sign short in hopes of doing better in a year or two, Management needs to make some buys here.

Posted by: advocate2 | January 20, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

BobL - Carter is more of a DH than Dunn. No position. The Red Sox signed Mark Kotsay to be the backup 1st baseman / OF becuase they have no faith in Carter ever being able to play in the field. They have a similar guy in Jeff Bailey, too. IL POY for Pawtucket. Now, if you want to say, "Carter would still be better than what we have as backups," perhaps he could be had in a deal for not much.
---------------------

DRiley, Soundbloke - Willingham I think was some poison tossed in to the deal for Olsen. No Willingham, no Olsen. And we are so much better off not having Bonifacio around, the poison was worth it. What does not kill you makes you stronger.

Willingham is a perfectly adequate backup for 1st and corner OF, as well as an emergency catcher. If he's asked to do more, it because either one of Kearns, Johnson, Milledge, or Dukes is a failure. I don't think the money is keeping us from a further signing, and there is no one he is blocking this year.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 20, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@jca:
Interesting - thanks for the info on WMP (CF, who'd a thunk)?

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I mean, look at how Soriano's [eventual] willingness to play LF dynamically changed his market value.

I'm surprised more players don't try it. Then again, far be it from me to tell them what to do with their limited time during the offseason.

-----

@JiM: IMO, a shame actually - It could have added 'versatility' value to a couple of players on the roster (WMP in particular) for use during the season or in trade talks.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 20, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As long as we are looking at ways to improve the staff, perhaps we should think about bringing in two bullpen guys, a LHP and RHP. I expect with the current rotation a need for the bullpen to pick up a bigger load. This might allow Rivera to move back to the 6th and 7th innings, where he was very effective in 2007.

Dennys Reyes is still out there. Type B, so would not cost a draft choice. Also, I think Beimel and Shouse are avalable without compensation. A LHP combo of Reyes and Hinckley (or Beimel and Hinckley) would allow for matchups and could get Hinckley adjusted to the majors without too much pressure. I don't see an attractive RHP out there, but perhaps something like Nick Johnson for Cassilla or Blevins might do the trick.

For probably the same 2009 money as we are paying Nick, we could probably deal him for an Oakland MR, sign Reyes, and sign Eric Hinske to platoon with Willingham at 1B.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 20, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

jca-CrystalCity who is reyes?

Posted by: Baseball95der26 | January 20, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Never mind dennis reyes got it.

Posted by: Baseball95der26 | January 20, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

@jca:
The RH part of the bullpen equation may already be on staff (Bergmann / Shell / T. Young / Rivera). For the LH side, Hinckley / O'Conner / M. Chico - not exactly fear-inducing (from a hitter's POV).

Posted by: BinM | January 20, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

>I can all but give up on the WMP / Kearns 'experiment' at 1B

I would never give up on that. That would be the best thing that could happen to either of them. Kearns would be a gold glove first baseman. And Pena would be more involved playing 1B, and invariably improve his hitting. I've seen Pena like everyone else stand out there on his heels and blow bubbles in LF.

Posted by: Brue | January 20, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

New post. Be there or be square.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 20, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

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