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Adam Dunn is on a tear for the Nationals

There is a remarkable stat that says quite a bit about Adam Dunn and his career. For the past eight seasons, Dunn has hit at least 20 home runs before the all-star break. Dunn was named an all-star none of those seasons -- his only all-star game appearance came in 2002, the year before that streak began.

Last night, after he belted two more homers to give him five in the past three games and 22 for the season, Dunn was presented with his streak and asked what he thought it said about him. "Whatever, dude," Dunn said. "I don't know what to tell you. All-star game, I don't know."

What that stat says is that Dunn is one of baseball's most underappreciated sluggers. Since 2000, Dunn ranks fifth in home runs among all players. Everybody on that list has been an all-star at least twice.

With the National League logjam at first base, Dunn would have had a hard time cracking the game this season, which is a shame. His robotic consistency makes it hard to pick the best season of his career, but in some ways this might be this one. He is finding more holes and hitting more line drives, which has led to a .285 batting average, far and away the highest of his career, and a .593 slugging percentage, also the highest of his career.

Lately, Dunn has been smoking balls to the Red Porch seats, just left of center field. Anything to that?

"I just think that I've hit a lot of mistakes, actually," Dunn said. "I just think I've hit a lot balls that are where the pitcher intended to be. You get one of those an at-bat, and you've still got to capitalize on it. That's kind of what's happening right now.

"I don't have one approach, dude. I'd love to tell you that I'm trying to slap it to left. I just try to hit it on the barrel."

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 10, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
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Comments

Sign him Rizzo!

Posted by: jim_arrows | July 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! DON'T TRADE ADAM DUNN!!! Is that clear enough?

Posted by: rachel216 | July 10, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There is one very obvious difference in Adam Dunn this year. He's swinging the bat. His walk rate is lower than it ever has been in his career.

Past years, he average about 112 walks per full season.

This year, he's at 39 walks through 86 games, a pace where he'll end up with fewer than 75 walks.

The result is, he's swinging the bat more, taking his OBP down a bit, but his AVG and SLG are both up. And with your cleanup hitter, you care a lot more about SLG than you do OBP.

OBP is down .013 from his career average.
SLG is up .069 from career average.

And yes, thus far, this is his best season.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 10, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a hideous team without him, and they have no one in the wings to replace him, so they should keep him.

Posted by: markfromark | July 10, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

He certainly is swinging more, but I don't think necessarily its a new-found aggressive approach. This has a lot to do with the great job Willingham has done protecting Dunn (though he was out of the lineup last night and Dunn still mashed 2, almost 3 bombs), and him just getting better balls to hit. Too bad the AS Break is coming in the middle of his heater.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | July 10, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Get. It. Dunn.

That is all...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

we really have no one to step in if we lose Dunn. Not sure what Rizzo/Kasten are waiting for unless Boswell is right and Uncle Teddy is milking this and doesn't want to spend the money. Do not want him traded with talk of re-signing after the season. How did that work for Ariz. after they picked him up a couple years ago? Lets get this DUNN!

Posted by: sjm3091 | July 10, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I have never posted in this blog before (although I am a lurker), but in the hopes that Nat's management pays some attention here I want to add my voice to the rest...SIGN HIM! 40+ home run guys with his attitude and demeanor do not come along every day. He protects Zimmerman just as Willingham protects him. He is worth the money it will take. Just do it!

Posted by: afpadc | July 10, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

In the "post-steroid era" there are simply only a handful of 40+ homerun hitters period, much less one that freaking WANTS to stay in DC. Sign Dunn now.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

They gotta sign him. If he does continue to have the best year of his career, they're gonna pay far more than if they sign him now. He's a good guy, works hard, plays hard. I think he is one guy on the team that Eckstein has definitely helped. I don't believe his average is an aberration. I think he'll continue to hit for better average. His bad defensive rap is now worse than he deserves. He will never be a gold glover, but he's saved his infielders a ton of throwing errors this year, and I think if he continues to work at it, he's going to continue to improve at 1st before his age causes him to decline. Sign him. 4 years 70-75 mil. He deserves it.

Posted by: chekhov1 | July 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

2 points on last night's game before I exit stage left:

1. Relieving Burnett in the 7th was unnecessary and made no sense. Burnett got the first two outs easy and gave up a weak single to the 3rd batter. And Riggleman immediatley took him out. Why? Burnett was pitching fine. Riggleman just loves to overmanage.

But that wasn't all. He had to pull his classic double switch. So he brought in Storen to pitch and Gonzo to play 2nd and Gonzo took the pitchers spot in the lineup which was due up in the bottom of the inning.
Again unnecessary. All Riggleman had to do to accomplish the same thing was leave Burnett in to finish the inning and pinch hit Gonzo for Burnett in the bottom of the inning and then let Gonzo take over 2nd if that's what he wanted. Riggleman does stuff that not only is unnecessary but makes no sense. Is Burnett supposed to feel that he isn't even allowed to give up one single? Ridiculous.

Next, Niger Morgan's steal in the 7th again was foolish and unnecessary. Dunn was at bat. If Dunn doubles or homers, Morgan scores. If Morgan gets thrown out, inning over and Dunn doesn't get to bat. If he steals, the Giants may take the bat out of Dunn's hand with first base open, which they should have done. The steal made no sense at all. But it's all about Nyjer. The guy just doesn't understand time and place. He doesn't get it.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

One more voice to the choir - Sign Adam Dunn. Whether it's a 3-yr at $16-18M deal or a 4-yr for slightly less per year ($14-15M), make the commitment and sign him. Consistent 40/100 guys don't just fall out of the sky... He makes both Zimmerman & Willingham more effective hitters, and there isn't anyone in the system ready to replace him.

Posted by: BinM | July 10, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Lastly, as far as Willie Harris, don't be fooled by his 3 hits last night.
His only at bat in the game that mattered was his strikeout with the bases loaded that could have really cost the Nats. This guy has no place being in the starting lineup. And to have Harris, Nieves and Kennedy, who is also a waste of a roster spot, in there together is really absurd and borders on felony managing.

To say that any player needs to rest right now (Willingham, Pudge) with the 3-day all star break coming up after the weekend is a joke. The Nats won in spite of Riggleman last night, not because of him. And he has proven to be a really poor manager, making really poor decisions and by my count has probably, by himself, cost the Nats at least 10 games this season.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what everybody else is saying: SIGN THE MAN ALREADY!!!

I have tickets tonight. I look forward to seeing a ball or two fly outa the park live rather than just on TV, even if I did miss Strasmas and a 2 HR performance by a night.

Posted by: NatsFly | July 10, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, but happy to see that the Rangers outbid the Yankees for Cliff Lee. The price was steep (2 former #1 picks & two others) for what will likely be a rental, but that's the price to be paid when a team doesn't have the 'street cred' of the Yankees.
There might be a lesson in this for the Lerners going forward; Sometimes, you have to make the "offer they can't refuse", and that the other guy can't match.

Posted by: BinM | July 10, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Watching Dunn right now is a pure pleasure. I've been at 2 games this season where he's blasted 2 homers, last night and against the Dodgers. And both were a complete treat.
How this guy isn't in the all star game or home run hitting contest is a total mystery. He is en fuego.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

>>There might be a lesson in this for the Lerners going forward; Sometimes, you have to make the "offer they can't refuse", and that the other guy can't match. Posted by: BinM

Nails. That's exactly what I said all along concerning Chapman and ODog. We aint the Yanks. We've got to pay a premium. Just pay the tab (or the overtab) and sign some of the players instead of always coming in second and patting yourself on the back for putting up a "good" (but not good enough) offer.
The Nats are going to have to overpay to get some good players. Get used to it and pay up. In the end those players will wind up making you money rather than costing you money......ala Strasburg.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW anyone know why Rowand replaced Torres last night?

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"BTW anyone know why Rowand replaced Torres last night?"

Bob Carpenter said it was a groin sprain.

Posted by: zadok1 | July 10, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Like pretty much everyone else on here I'm saying sign him. Now. ASAP.

He's as consistent as it gets. There should be no fear that his production is going to fall off a cliff. He's going to keep doing exactly the same thing for at least a few more years. Like others have noted, there is no one even close to being able to replace him in our system.

I also don't buy Ladson's incessant trade Dunn for defense argument. Up the middle is where we are getting killed defensively, and none of those guys are contributing significantly on offense. Only Desmond is a long term keeper there. If management wants to improve defense they should futz around with the middle infield and CF, and keep Dunn at first. His defense there has improved, and I'll wager it gets at least a little better.

It'll cost a fortune to keep him if we let him hit free agency. The dude wants to stay! Just sign him already!

Posted by: autobits | July 10, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is a way below average 1B on defense, but he makes up for some of that by being such a big target for throws.

On offense of course he is one of the best. Is he any worse at bat than Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira? The cliche in sports is that the players tell you when you have to sign them, and Dunn has clearly said that the Nats have to. Unfortunately, the price is higher now than it would have been in the off-season, as most of us predicted.

Of course the Nats see themselves as this impoverished franchise, in the smallest of markets--smaller than Cincy, KC, etc. But it seems like they have to sign Dunn and Harper. Maybe they will skimp on a couple of the other highly regarded draft choices who may want above slot. Harper gets signed just because of what he does to the bottom line for the Nats (money, not winning, is the bottom line for this franchise).

Posted by: EdDC | July 10, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to say one more thing to the Lerners. I understand the idea of getting deals, getting value for your money, and I'm not going to pile on with a Lerners-are-cheap diatribe. I'll just say that the idea that you can consistently get value for cheap is a fantasy. Bowden believed that and we ended up with a roster with Wily Mo, Milledge, and Dukes. The other teams have their smart talent evaluators too.

You already got your deal with Dunn. We have gotten more than we paid for from him already. Instead of trading him in for a turn at the craps table just realize that you have a valuable asset in hand and keep it.

Sometimes you have to spend money to make it. He makes the franchise more valuable and marketable. Bottom line.

Posted by: autobits | July 10, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW anyone know why Rowand replaced Torres last night?"
Bob Carpenter said it was a groin sprain.
Posted by: zadok1

OK thanks. Was at the game and was wondering about that.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 10, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"I'm going to say one more thing to the Lerners."

auto: it sin't "Lerners" plural, it's "Lerner" singular, as in Papa.

I think right now Mark Lerner is along for the ride, and I'm hoping he picks up some good advice from Ted Leonsis along the way as we all wait for Pspa to pass on to the great PX in the sky. But for now, better or worse, it's Papa calling the shots. Remember, he grew up watching Clark Griffith's rag-tag teams.

This means, unless I'm mistaken, that Dunn will be traded. Too expensive for Papa (Clark Griffith reincarnated) to stomach.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 10, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd be surprised if a deal for Dunn is completed prior to him becoming a free agent.

A deal could have been made last off season, for sure.

But why would Dunn and agent ink a deal now?

There are three things that I would think Dunn wants.
- Big money
- Long term
- To stay in the National League

So if we offer 5 / $100 sometime soon, I would think we have a chance.

But who among us has confidence that the Nats FO is going to do that?

Outside of a high dollar & long term offer, Dunn would be foolish to ink here, and now, when in 3 months he can have other bidders to push up his market value.

The windows gets a little more closed as each day passes. And IMHO, the window is virtually closed. We're going to be in limbo until winter.
And we're going to lose him.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 10, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

As far as re-signing Dunn is concerned, I think that Rizzo is going to wait until after the non-waiver deadline on July 31st.
We need to be realistic here. If someone offers a ridiculous haul for Dunn (a AA Pitcher and ML ready RF etc.), he may need to pull the trigger and take the chance that the team could re-sign Dunn in the off season (the Orioles did that with BJ Surhoff in two consecutive seasons) or possibly make a play for Adrian Gonzales.
I think if Dunn is still here on August 1st, we will see the deal made. I would hope for no more than 3 years though.

Posted by: TimDz | July 10, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to play Seinfeld for a moment: what's the deal with the grammatical correction posts?

I'm pretty inconsistent about posting here, but even so I have seen that this is a major trend in quite a few comment posts. So what' up with that?

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited toward those helpful individuals, but it just seems to me like it should be understood that blog comments, and even to a lesser extent the blog posts themselves, are a medium with a bit less formality. Maybe we can just focus on the content each of point or argument, and keep our grammatical scalpels to ourselves?

I don't know, maybe I'm the only one bugged by this. I could also just hire an editor to help my uneducated butt.

Posted by: autobits | July 10, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

autobits: "Bowden believed that and we ended up with a roster with Wily Mo, Milledge, and Dukes."

Singing:, "I'm talkin' Wily, Milledge and the Dukes..."

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 10, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I can understand, after an ownership group consisting of (basically)non-baseball people purchase a team, and want to maximize the dollars they spend for talent. However, when irrefutable evidence is presented on paper, (historically), coupled with performance on the field and in the clubhouse, then Papa Lerner must pay attention and pay the talent. As has been said, Dunn not only is a 40/100 ballplayer, and has been for years, but the protection he gives to Zim is priceless. Pay the man what he is worth! Quit trying to build a team on the cheap. Lerner should realize by now, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! Re-sign Adam Dunn NOW! Lock him in for 4 years!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | July 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Now if Dunn could just spread them out a little and hit them with men on bases we just might have an All Star.

Posted by: bobilly2 | July 10, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm late getting to this, and obviously I only speak for myself, but since I'm one of the posters in question, I'll take a swing at this.

I don't agree that "less formal" = illiterate. I think it matters, and I think the high correlation between stupid-ass moronic comments and lousy spelling and grammar is evidence of that. I am much more likely to bust somebody's orthographic chops if what they're posting would be nonsense even if William Safire had edited them, and I tend to write off certain hopeless cases. I won't go off on people who really don't seem to know any better.

Yes, it's pompous and arrogant to correct another adult's English, but I don't want to give up this particular blog. It used to be an oasis of civil and literate baseball knowledge, and is now probably a lost cause, but then, so are the Lerners, and yet here we are.

And while we're at it -- HEY ADAM--
Did Dunn really say "I just think I've hit a lot balls that are where the pitcher intended to be."? Because it would make more sense if he said these mistakes were "NOT where the pitcher intended them to be."

*************
I'm going to play Seinfeld for a moment: what's the deal with the grammatical correction posts?

I'm pretty inconsistent about posting here, but even so I have seen that this is a major trend in quite a few comment posts. So what' up with that?

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited toward those helpful individuals, but it just seems to me like it should be understood that blog comments, and even to a lesser extent the blog posts themselves, are a medium with a bit less formality. Maybe we can just focus on the content each of point or argument, and keep our grammatical scalpels to ourselves?

I don't know, maybe I'm the only one bugged by this. I could also just hire an editor to help my uneducated butt.

Posted by: autobits | July 10, 2010 3:36 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 10, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

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