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Dunn: "This Is Where I Wanted To Be" (UPDATED)

The story of how Adam Dunn, arguably the most prodigious home run hitter in baseball, came to be standing before a podium in the interview room at Nationals Park yesterday, bathed in floodlights and flanked by beaming members of the Washington Nationals' braintrust, is a complex one. It was not something Dunn could have envisioned when he filed for free agency on Nov. 1.

It involves the typical dues a player must pay before reaching the promised land of free agency, the unfortunate timing of having that free agency arrive in the midst of a deep recession that turned baseball's talent marketplace upside-down, and, ultimately, some persuasive arm-twisting by a half-dozen or so Nationals personnel who had no ambivalence whatsoever about a potential marriage.

But regardless of how Dunn's two-year $20 million deal with the Nationals came to pass, or how uncomfortably near it is to Saturday's opening of the team's spring training camp in Viera, Fla., the Nationals treated yesterday's unveiling as exactly what it was: the biggest free-agent signing in the franchise's history, and a major step in their quest for legitimacy.

"To be able to walk into spring training having signed Adam Dunn," said General Manager Jim Bowden, "we feel we accomplished something."

The news conference-slash-television show featured an awkward pause at the start as MASN came out of a commercial break, a gushing speech from principal owner Mark Lerner (who called Dunn "the power hitter we've been missing in D.C. since my childhood hero, Frank Howard"), a miniature Nationals jersey for two-year-old Brady Dunn and flowers for Dunn's wife Rachel.

Dunn, 29, handled the majority of questions adroitly, praising the Nationals' new stadium, saying he doesn't care whether he plays left field or first base and warning anyone who would criticize his defense to watch out--because he is the healthiest he has been in years.

"It's going to be fun," the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Texan said, "I can promise y'all. ... I'm at full health now. We're going to see."

More impressive was the delicateness and honesty with which Dunn addressed the uneasy truth that stayed mostly below the surface yesterday--that while he may have been the Nationals' top choice for much of the winter, at least after they lost out on Mark Teixeira, they were nowhere near his.

"I definitely had doubts" about signing with the Nationals, Dunn acknowledged. "When all this first came about, I was saying, 'Man, they lost 102 games last year,' and this and that. [ellipses] Coming into this offseason, I was sold on playing for a contender, playing for a team that's already proven themselves."

But Dunn said he did "research" on the Nationals and realized the team was both exceedingly young and exceedingly beset by injuries in 2008. He spoke frequently to Nationals right fielder Austin Kearns, a good friend from their days together in Cincinnati, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, another good friend. He listened to their sales pitches, and those of Bowden, who first drafted Dunn as GM of the Cincinnati Reds in 1998, and Manager Manny Acta.

"I didn't realize the injuries," Dunn said. "I didn't realize how young these guys were."

Dunn happened to have reached free agency at a time when the marketplace shifted decidedly in the favor of management. Despite having hit more home runs in the past five years than every player in baseball except Alex Rodriguez, Dunn, like several similarly accomplished players, was forced to accept a paycut--from a $13 million salary last year, which he split between Cincinnati and Arizona, to a $10 million average the next two years.

"I'm not going to sit here and whine and complain about it," he said.

It's not as if Dunn had no other offers. Both Los Angeles teams, the Angels and Dodgers, were thought to have interest in him, as were the Atlanta Braves. Dunn's agent, Greg Genske, did not confirm any other offers, saying only that "there were other offers for good money, in good markets."

Bowden characterized the negotiations as "excruciating" at times, and Nationals President Stan Kasten said the sides went "back and forth, for a long time." Still, the Nationals felt thoughout much of the winter as if they held the upper hand in the negotiations, particularly as prices continued to fall and other teams began to fill their holes. Bowden said it was Monday night when he felt he had the player wrapped up.

For yesterday's news conference, most of the Nationals' personnel, including Bowden and Acta, had to fly up to Washington from Florida, where they had already set up shop. Most of them were flying back down either last night or today, to prepare for Saturday's opening of a camp that all of a sudden has an entirely different feel.

"When you walk into the clubhouse and he's in your uniform," Bowden said, "the timeline doesn't matter."

Dunn, too, was making arrangements to get himself and his family to Space Coast Stadium in the coming days. It may not have been the destination he envisioned for himself 3 ½ months ago, but by the end of yesterday's proceedings the idea seemed to have grown on him.

"I can sit here with a straight face," he said, "and say this is where I wanted to be."

**********************

The Nationals' big unveiling of Adam Dunn is over. The highlights: 1) Dunn will play both left field and first base this spring, as the Nationals untangle their options at those positions. 2) Dunn wanted to be here. Really.

There were some pointed questions about that second issue at Dunn's news conference, and he handled them all flawlessly.

"I can look you in the eye and honestly say this is where I wanted to be," Dunn said.

(It was a slightly different take than what Dunn told the MLB Network yesterday: "It's definitely not how I anticipated free agency to go. I guess I had some misconceptions on how this is supposed to work. It obviously did not go down as I'd planned.... If anything could ever go wrong with anything, I'm definitely a part of it. It's just what I call 'Adam luck.'")

Here are some other assorted quotes. We'll have a larger update later:

Manny Acta on Nationals' level of interest: "Our target after [Mark] Teixeira was this guy."

Acta on Dunn's position: "It's been talked about. At the end of spring training we'll decide what's best for the Nationals. He'll play first base and left field in spring training." (Acta also said he loves the thought of having both Dunn and Nick Johnson, with their high OBPs, in the lineup together--implying that is his preference.)

Jim Bowden on Dunn's lack of speed: "People have this perception of him because he's big and lumbering. But put a stopwatch on him.... He can move."

Acta on telephone conversation with Dunn a month ago: "He said, 'I want to go in there and be the guy.' He was willing to come in and turn this thing around."

Kasten on the negotiations: "There were an awful lot of back-and-forth, for a long time." (Did you feel as if you could have lost him?) "Yes, absolutely. And he could've lost this opportunity, as well."

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 12, 2009; 4:42 PM ET
 
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Comments

I have doubts about the Nats being his first choice, but I am no less happy to have him on the team. And, what he said on MLB was not entirely inconsistant with what he said today. I think we were all suprised how the economy impacted free agency this year, he certainly did have bad luck in the timing of his free agency, and I doubt very seriously he thought he would end up with less in 2009 than he made in 2008.

He did sort of make a reference yesterday to hoping he would end up with a club that was already a contender, but he thought it would be more rewarding to help build a contender from the ground up. (paraphrasing)

Either way watching the Nationals this year should be more enjoyable.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 12, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"This is where I wanted to be ... when I realized it was less than two days before spring training and I hadn't signed anywhere else."

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"It was a slightly different take than what Dunn told the MLB Network yesterday: "It's definitely not how I anticipated free agency to go. I guess I had some misconceptions on how this is supposed to work. It obviously did not go down as I'd planned..."

I should say so. When you wait 6 years for the big payout, and you end up getting ($8mil in 09) the same amount as Guzman and your buddy Kearns, it's safe to say it didn't go as planned.

Even if he truly wanted to be here, he wanted it to be for more money. Honestly, I feel a little bad for the guy.

Posted by: dclifer | February 12, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn is apparently going to be interviewed sometime this afternoon on the Mike O'Meara show on WJFK 106.7 FM. Not sure what time that will be. The show is on right now and goes until 7 pm.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 12, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"This is where I wanted to be ... when I realized it was less than two days before spring training and I hadn't signed anywhere else."

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2009 5:19 PM

absolutely.

but like I said in a previous post, the end justifies the means. we got our guy, by hook or crook.

Posted by: MrMadison | February 12, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

HA!! Heyman with the shout out!!!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_heyman/02/12/dodgers.notes/index.html


Seeing Red over bizarre National connection
Normally I don't like to promote Web sites dedicated to causing anyone to lose their job in our second Great Depression, but in this one case I will make an exception.

There's a post on FireJimBowden.blogspot.com that lists more than 40 -- yes, more than 40 -- players, coaches, executives and coaches who came from the Reds to the Nats. One of the posts below the lists notes that it's like the old Yankees-A's connection "on steroids.''

Since the Reds have not had a winning season since 2000, it's no surprise that the connection isn't helping, yet. Thus far, in terms of effectiveness, it's the opposite of the old A's-Yankees connection.

Posted by: dclifer | February 12, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"This is where I want to be."
Well you're the only one. What a moron.
Yea how lucky am I that no one wanted me and I ended up in baseball purgatory on the very worst team in all of baseball. I've always wondered what it would be like to play for the very worst team in an empty stadium.

Couldn't the guy at least have spoken the truth. Doesn't he know we have a new president and a new age of tell the truth.
Didn't John Lennon say, Just gimmie some truth.
Just say Hey I took the money. This was a last resort. No one else wanted me. Yea it was a money grab. But I'll try and make the best of it and turn some lemons into lemonade along the way.
We could have lived with that.
But no. Freakin liars. It never ends.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 12, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Baseball never should have come to DC

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 12, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, you gotta calm down. I think we should have a rule to give all the newbies a hearty welcome. As MrMadison properly points out, we got our guy, and that means everything is on the up and up.

Adam, welcome, glad you're here!

Posted by: Traveler8 | February 12, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@lyle

go back to Capitals Insider.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Great negotiation, FO! Since we stood little chance of landing Tex all along, THIS is our guy! Now, trade Willingham or Kearns?

Posted by: spitz1 | February 12, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, with this line up, if they hit the ball it will go a LONG way, now they just gotta hit it!

Posted by: Krazijoe | February 12, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Dave, Tracee: Thanks for all the fish (updates). Signings, new posts, plus the promise of a visit from the "NJ Blogfather" - I'm actually giddy (does anyone use that word anymore, or have I dated myself), and can't wait for ST to open.

Speaking of ST, it feels a little like the Nationals' could be closer to a sellers' position (in terms of players) this year, as opposed to having to scrape the waiver-wire as ST wound down in years past.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

DON-KEY DON-KEY DON-KEY Why you freakishly large Man in the Middle mockery makin madman

Get in there

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Well what the heck did you think he would say....this was my 5th choice or something. Of course not. But now that he is here, he will fit in and who knows, in the long run he just might believe it. The line up looks sound, if the young staff can hold up...WOW. I look forward to a lot of bang, zoom, there go the fireworks.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 12, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Brue,

that may have been my favorite post of yours ever.

Love that "get in there" applies to players aside from Manny.

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 12, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

BinM asked:
"I'm actually giddy (does anyone use that word anymore, or have I dated myself), and can't wait for ST to open."

NatsNut answers:
"oooooh, i'm getting giddy*

*(squeals)

I'm serious Chico. You better be all rested up boy cuz you better report every last detail you can find. It's been a long winter and girl is hungry."

Posted by: NatsNut | February 10, 2009 10:37 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | February 12, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

DON-KEY DON-KEY DON-KEY Why you freakishly large Man in the Middle mockery makin madman

Get in there

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 6:13 PM

a little bit happy there, Brue?

Posted by: MrMadison | February 12, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Brue,

that may have been my favorite post of yours ever.

Love that "get in there" applies to players aside from Manny.

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 12, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

>"He said, 'I want to go in there and be the guy.' He was willing to come in and turn this thing around."

And I said that sounds like a good idea. For a change. Because it's pretty much up to him, he's in the pivot of the batting order. There's no way around it now.

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

>a little bit happy there, Brue?

I discovered the key to long life - mourn for 24 hours and then shake it off and move on. It would have been sick to pick up Man-ny, this was the last time in almost a decade that he's been available. But you know we some powah, and the production from 1-8 can only improve no matter who fills those slots night to night. Because you can't fight the powah without the powah>

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

@NN:
I didn't follow with a squeal, but yeah, the short-term future just got brighter, and I'm a little overwhelmed by the lineup possibilities.

@MrM & Brue:
It seems that all Brue really wanted for X-mas was a bona-fide power hitter in the lineup. His inner-child wanted the best available, but when the package finally came, he's pleased by what came out of the box.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, since you Nats fans don't know the Dunster, let me clue you in. When he is
motivated, he is exciting to watch. The problem is, that doesn't occur very often.
Its like he rather be somewhere else, most of the time. Like fishing or hunting. He
can hit a baseball a country mile, when he isn't striking out or taking way too many
pitches for walks. He is too selective at the plate. Then he gets frustrated and he
starts striking out two, three times a game, walks, then hits a home run. On the defensive side, he is weak. He breaks for hit balls too late or in the wrong direction in left. The Reds infield experiment with him was even worse. Dunn is being less than honest when saying that he is where he wants to be. Dunn and Ken Griffey, Jr. both stated they wanted to be on teams that were contending when the Reds moved them both last season. If I were Bowden, I would have signed Junior way before the Dunster. Dunn is lucky that Bowden was allowed to sign him because no one else out there would have spent 20 million for him. It’s a shame that Junior is still a free agent and the Dunster get 20 big ones. Well at least Kearns gets his old fishing and hunting pal back.

Posted by: raymac44 | February 12, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Good acquisition.

Now pick up a good second baseman and someonee who can cover centerfield, trading away the current outfield surplus.

Play Nick at first base.

Get an accomplished veteran pitcher to lead the kid pitchers.

And we can have one heck of a summer at Nats Park !

Lerners now that you've done SOMETHING to improve the Nats, hope you continue this brand new commitment.

Posted by: PostToastie | February 12, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

>His inner-child wanted the best available, but when the package finally came, he's pleased by what came out of the box.

Exactly. I've been the pissed-off 11 year old that saw the team move away on him. I made the all-star team in little league the next year, and we had to go to the Orioles game and get their autographs instead of the Senators. Cheated me out of a chance to go to the locker room in RFK and get Hondo's and Ted Williams autograph. THE VERY NEXT SEASON

God bless Adam Dunn man

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

If this is where Adam really wants to be he needs to lay off the alcohol and illegal substances.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 12, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I want to see this year. Two bobblehead nights. One Adam Dunn, and the other one Frank Howard. Make it happen, Mark Lerner. You can still afford it.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 12, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

the simple truth is Ryan Zimmerman and Elijah Dukes needed an Adam Dunn in the lineup to see good pitches and put up the kinds of numbers one expects of them.

if he plays first the defense will suffer from Johnson's days on the bag, but anyone remember Dmitri Young trying to play first base?

could anyone be that bad if they tried?

with Dunn signed the Nationals are not a threat to win the NL East but they do have a lineup that looks to improve markedly on the team that finished with the second fewest home runs in the NL in 2008.

Potential 20 home run hitters for 2009:

Zimmermann, Willingham, Dukes, Dunn, Milledge, Guzman.

and that's assuming Johnson is traded.

at the same time last year there was no Willingham or Dunn and Zimmermann and Dukes were both hurt.

the pitching staff will be the key to this team in 2009 given its youth and inexperience.

Scott Olsen at 24 is the staff ace going into camp and he finished below .500 last year with the Marlins.

But if you get significant jumps from John Lannan and Collin Balester and Jordan Zimmermann is the real deal as a rookie this club could be better than advertised.

If things break their way and the younger players develop ahead of schedule I could see this club playing .500 baseball or near that.

The 59-102 finish in 2008 was ugly and the lack of movement over the offseason was discouraging to watch after the Teixeira sweepstakes were over.

However, the silver lining to 59-102 is the opportunity to add Stephen Strasburg to the organization.

There aren't too many guys out there with his physical skills coming into the league.

101 mph fastball that he can locate well at age 20?

Posted by: leopard09 | February 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

>101 mph fastball that he can locate well at age 20?

They better get him before his arm falls off. It happens. In college.

Posted by: Brue | February 12, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@leopard:

A few points of clarification - 1) ML yearbooks are filled with slugging, no-field 1B (Dick Stuart, Dave Kingman, Jason Giambi, etc.); 2) DaMeat is actually better than Dunn as a 1B, in terms of career numbers; 3) Guzman will not hit 20 HR in the NL, unless he's traded to COL or develops an undercut swing; 4) Olsen is hardly an "Ace", but will probably battle Lannan for the OD assignment.

On the positive side, 1) yes, Dunn should provide RZimm & Dukes (or whoever else flanks him) with better pitches to hit; 2) Strasburg (if he maintains his current draft rank) needs to be signed, and 3) the team could flirt with .500, if they stay healthy.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"The news conference-slash-television..."

This cracked me up. We *say* "slash" when we're speaking, but I think you can just hit the / key. LOL!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 12, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

and "[ellipses]" = ...

Sorry...this is just too funny.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 12, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I also get giddy, NatsNut and BinM.

That was also my favorite Brue post, natbisquit. In fact, I nominate it for Post of the Day.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he was dictating the post, NatsNut.

Also, the story lead-in make me think of this:

This is the story, of a boy named Brady.

(Sorry about the earworm.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Not to rain on anyones parade here, but what IF Dunn is one of the remaining 103?

Posted by: TimDz | February 12, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@NN, 1a1:
Whoo-hoo - "And you can... party, party, join us, join us - Chase your blues away" (ShinChan closing theme). Had to make an anime reference, 'cause nothing else seemed to fit.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I see that Manny made some comments about how much he looks forward to putting Dunn and Johnson in the same line-up, I wonder if he intends to split them up of put them back to back. I personally think the kind of hitter a guy is makes a whole lot more difference then which side he hits from.

So vs Righties;

1. Milledge
2. Dukes
3. Zimmerman
4. Dunn
5. Johnson
6. Flores
7. Guzman
8. Hernandez
9. Lannan

and Vs lefties;
1 Milledge
2 Dukes
3 Zimmerman
4 Johnson
5 Willingham
6 Flores
7 Guzman
8 Hernandez
9 Lannan

Posted by: estuartj | February 12, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz:

Whatev, dude - He's on the roster, and the 2003 tests were not subject to sanction/suspension under the CBA.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

@ BinM: I was just asking...from a standpoint of reactions from others. I'm with you on the whatev's, but I gotta think that others, media types especially, may make a stink.
I know that A-Rod will be crucified up in NYC, especially since he told Pixie Katie that he never used steroids...I just wondered what others thought of this possibility.

Posted by: TimDz | February 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@estuartj:
I like Milledge as a possible leadoff hitter, but would argue that Dukes & Flores both need to be lower in the lineup.

Nationals v. RHP
1) Milledge (CF) or Harris (CF)
2) NJohnson (1B) or Guzman (SS)
3) Dukes (RF) or RZimmerman (3B)
4) Dunn (LF/1B)
5) RZimmerman (3B) or Willingham (LF)
6) Guzman (SS), Willingham (LF/1B), or Flores (C)
7) Flores (C) or Willingham (LF/1B)
8) Hernandez (2B)
9) Pitcher

Nationals v. LHP
1) Milledge (CF/LF)
2) Guzman (SS)
3) RZimmerman (3B)
4) Willingham (LF/1B) or Dunn (LF/1B)
5) NJohnson (1B) or Dunn (LF/1B)
6) Belliard (2B), Flores (C) or Dukes (CF/RF)
7) Kearns (RF/CF) or Dukes (CF/RF)
8) Flores (C) or Hernandez (2B)
9) Pitcher

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is NOT an everyday player.

Posted by: estuartj | February 12, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz: A-fraud's problem is that he desperately wants to be the "golden boy" that Selig needed him to be, but he's flawed, just like everyone else. If the SI article holds true, he jerked Katie around (with his denial re: PED's).

With the leak, MLB should just come clean & release the names of the other 103, imo. That way, they can maybe have some closure on the "Steroid era".

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the press conference. Dunn is HUGE! Jim and Manny were about the same height as him SITTING DOWN. Yikes!!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 12, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Well at least one advantage of having Dunn at 1B is that his glove will be about 2.5 feet closer to 3rd than any other player's would be.

MONGO catch!

Down side is he'll have to stand on 1st base when the pitch is thrown to be there in time.

MONGO run!

Posted by: estuartj | February 12, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I heard that your momma was one of the 103.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 12, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

[sorry, actually wasn't planning to hit submit on that] :)

Posted by: natbisquit | February 12, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Playing the dozens, NJ style...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I heard that your momma was one of the 103.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 12, 2009 9:57 PM

____________________________________________________________

I doubt that...no steroids in heaven...

Posted by: TimDz | February 12, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Things said in jest are often meant to be said in truth...things that were typed but not meant to be submitted...

Posted by: TimDz | February 12, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Please I had a vision in which Jesus appeared and the dude is totally jacked now. I bet he's on some hgh or something.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 12, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Still: NO PITCHING!!!!

Posted by: johnbear1 | February 12, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

JimBow told nats.com that the team is no longer pursuing Orlando Hudson. Of course, he never played for Cincinnati....

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

>Still: NO PITCHING!!!!

Olsen and Lannan = 1.5 starters. 3/4 each.

The rotation is beyond shaky.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

You apply to 5 universities and 4 don't offer you the scholarship package you want.

You decide to go to the one that does.

That's where you "want to be".

No problem with that.

Welcome aboard Adam!

Posted by: nattydread1 | February 13, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

There's video on the team site for those who missed the press conference (not sure whether the whole thing is there):

http://tinyurl.com/cgyhdh

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 13, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

... I'm happy enough to have A Dam Dunn in the house, but his waffling on whether or not he wants to be a Nat has me concerned. But that may turn out to be all for nought - depending on his on-field performance. A positive response to "What have you done for me lately?" goes a long way to assuaging negative feelings. Also, his up-front and transparent honesty to the very question can only be seen as a positive.

... as for his on-field results, you gotta be more than just healthy to be a MLB fielder. The proof will be in his OBP, his K's and his dingers. That's a balance that even a Colombian cartel operator would have to be concerned with.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey, natscan, it's good to "see" you!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 13, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

... hey natsfan1a1, how could I stay away. It took me a couple of months but I finally realized I was - AM - a Nats fan, pure and simple.

... I'll work on the 'pure' part; I'm sure you guys will make sure I stay 'simple'.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I would not worry about 'waffling'. There was no sense in him denying that he was looking at other teams. We would have had to call him D-Fraud if he claimed he wanted to be a Nat from the start. I did not interpret it as waffling. I interpreted it as a strong desire to play on a winning team. I can't see any harm in that.

From his perspective he just left a team in the Reds that had not been very good in recent years. He ended up signing with a team that earned the first draft pick. Of course he had to be convinced that was going to be a good idea.


Posted by: natbisquit | February 13, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Another welcome back Natscan, very glad to "see" you again. Don't ruminate on the past - we got our man, pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, and all is well with the world.

Natbisquit, congrats on the in print Post of the Day this morning - very cogent comment.

Posted by: Traveler8 | February 13, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I was cogent? What did I say?

Posted by: natbisquit | February 13, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know the full story as to why Dunn is nicknamed the Big Donkey?

I'm very psyched about this signing. As for those who worry about this not being Dunn's first choice, seriously, how were the Nats going to be anyone's first choice after losing 102? We'll be his first choice once he starts helping us win some ball games and is happy here. If not, he's gone in 2 years, no biggie. The big news is that the Lerners actually did something for a change. Hopefully that trend will continue into the future, even if we're done for now.

Posted by: mvk20 | February 13, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

You said something about Sheinin's mom being on steriods, Natbisquit.

No, seriously, it was your first post in this chain.

Welcome back Natscan!

Also, Boz called Dunn a "big galoot." I think that should be one of his nicknames.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 13, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Actually I prefer the homage to Frank Howard--"Hondosaurus".

Posted by: driley | February 13, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that the line-up is far stronger than the rotation, I wonder how much the extra runs will help the staff.

1. They may actually pitch with a lead more often. In this sense, they won't be trying to be so fine with everything. If you're up by 3, a solo bomb doesn't matter. Go after the hitters and don't worry about mistakes.

2. Even the knowledge that their offense can hit their way back into games will allow pitchers to loosen up on the mound.

3. Manny may not be so quick to yank guys if the team is up by a few. Again, a guy can afford to have a rough inning when the team is up by a couple runs. Hopefully the terrible results from last year's complete reliance on the pen after the 5th will also play a part in Manny sticking with guys.

I don't think the rotation is going to be as dismal as feared. On the other hand, I'm an eternal optimist.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 13, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm sticking with Mongo.

I was fairly optimistic prior to this signing (remeber I predicted 82 wins if NJ and SH are healthy), but now I'm almost giddy.

Our least productive positions last year compared to league average was 1B and LF, those are now are two strongest positions (at least on paper). Even if (ok when) Nick goes down we are still dramatically improved at those positions with the addition of Willingham.

The biggest thing to me is that we aren't dependent on NJ being healthy or Kearns finally "resurging" to be competitive.

Add in probable (ok possible) breakout seasons from Dukes, Milledge, Zimmerman and Flores and I think .500 ball is not just pie in the sky optimism, but a real attainable goal.

The key now is (and always has been really) pitching. IF Hill is healthy, IF Cabrera can stabalize, IF Lannan and Balester have breakout seasons, IF Hanarhan can close, IF Jordan Zimmermann is ready for the bigs....so many IFs...

However, having more offense means starters can stay in longer instead of always gettin pulled in 1-2 run games. It let's guys learn faster and save the bullpen for when they can be most effective.

Still hoping, and still believing in 82 wins, LETS GO NATS!!!!

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Based on the big IF (that of NJ remaining healthy), what happens to NJ near the trading deadline if the Nats are considered out of the running for a playoff spot?

If he remains healthy, are we to assume he is gone after this year? If that is the case, I would assume that he would be traded.

Then again, does the FO take a chance and try to re-sign him?

Posted by: TimDz | February 13, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

We know that you're a pure fan, natscan, but never simple.

In other news, I missed natbisquit's PoD in the dead-tree edition. Will have to go back and check it out.

mvk and driley, in a segment on WTOP this a.m., they said that Frank Howard had also been known as the Big Donkey (Google sez that it was courtesy of Leo Durocher).

estuartj, is that as in Candygram for Mongo?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 13, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

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