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If not Adam Dunn, then who?

Last night, before Adam Dunn received an ovation each time he came to the plate and, in the process of trying "to hit every ball as far as I possibly could," struck out four times, Mike Rizzo sat with reporters and talked briefly about who will play first base in 2011.

Rizzo did not offer specifics, but he made clear that if the Nationals do not resign Adam Dunn, they will need to replace him a similar player.

"We need to get a four-hole hitter that plays first base," Rizzo said. "We understand that. We want it to be Adam Dunn. But if it isn't, we need to address that situation."

So then if not Dunn, who could the Nationals target? Below are the five players who could reasonably be expected to replace or approach replacing Dunn's production at first base and in the cleanup spot. They are listed with their age for the majority of next season/Baseball-Reference WAR/FanGraphs WAR. (Dunn would be 32/3.7/4.1).

Paul Konerko (35/4.7/4.5): Konerko is one of the few available first baseman who conceivably could be an offensive upgrade over Dunn. He hit .310/.390/.581 with 30 doubles and 38 home runs. (Konerko's .323 batting average on balls in play - 41 points higher than his career average - may have inflated his numbers.) But his advanced age would likely make him a temporary solution at best. And his defense would unlikely be an upgrade over Dunn's: His -11.9 UZR/150 ranks worst among qualifying first baseman in the majors.

Aubrey Huff (34/5.5/5.5): Huff played some outfield this season, too, but when he played first he played it exceedingly well according to the advanced stats, posting an 11.5 UZR/150. His offensive production (.291/.382/510 with 26 homers, 34 doubles and five triples) helped put the Giants in position to make the postseason. He played in Baltimore for 2 ½ seasons, so perhaps familiarity with the area would make Washington attractive. (Maybe that's a reach, but I wanted to point it out, anyway.)

Carlos Pena (33/1.2/1.1): The Nationals appear to be interested in Pena for what they perceive to be his outstanding defense. Pena, though, has a -2.6 UZR/150, which is actually worse than Dunn's. (Note: UZR/150 is not a be-all, end-all statistic, just one measure.) Offensively, Pena suffered a significant drop-off this season, hitting .198/.328/.411 with 28 home runs and 16 doubles in 470 at-bats. The decline could partly be owed to misfortune, as Pena's .223 batting average on balls in play this year is 65 points below his career average of .288.

Victor Martinez (32/2.9/3.8): The Red Sox have made him a full-time catcher, but prior to this season he split time evenly between first base and catcher. His offensive numbers suggest he could fit in as a cleanup hitter with the Nationals: He hit .300/.349/.488 with 19 home runs in 486 at-bats while playing through injury. A switch-hitter, Martinez especially brutalizes left-handed pitchers, hitting .396/.429/.732 this year. Martinez is also widely known as a fiery, unifying force in the clubhouse.

Prince Fielder (27/3.9/4.0): Fielder, unlike the above players, will not be a free agent this offseason. But the Brewers control him only through the end of the 2011 season, and his salary demands may prove prohibitive for the Brewers to sign him to an extension. He received a standing ovation as he left the field in his final Brewers home game, recognition that the city, like most of baseball, believes Fielder will be traded this offseason. Fielder is an elite slugger - he hit 32 home runs with a .481 slugging percentage. But if the Nationals are trying to upgrade their defense, Fielder's -11.0 UZR/150 is second-worst in the majors among first baseman.

By Adam Kilgore  | September 30, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

All of which says: Stay with what you have. Not only is Dunn an elite slugger, he is a fan favorite, he wants to be here, he is popular in the clubhouse and, as a result, even though players know it is a business, getting rid of him for someone unknown sends the wrong message to the team (specifically Ryan Zimmerman). It's just not worth the risk. SIGN ADAM DUNN!

Posted by: afpadc | September 30, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Great post, Adam, thanks.

Posted by: Section220 | September 30, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Apologize if this is a double post, but:

Great work, Adam, thank you.

Posted by: Section220 | September 30, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Curse you, double post gremlins.

Posted by: Section220 | September 30, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Dunn seems like a better and younger fit than any of those guys, except maybe Prince Fielder. Realistically, if the Nats can't afford Dunn, how are they going to afford Fielder? So let's just call Dunn the best of the options.

The pursuit of Cliff Lee is a diversionary tactic for not signing Dunn. We are supposed to say, "Oh boy, we can't have our slugger, but, wow, we get Cliff Lee. Yeah, I'd make that trade!" Of course, the Nats get neither one.

Most clubs would have routinely signed Dunn (a ho-hum move not taking a lot of anguish) in the last off-season to go with all the other additions the Nats should have made over the years. The youth infusion would still take place, meaning some of the vets could be traded for prospects. Then, signing Crawford and Lee would be realistic for the contending Nats. This is a poor strategy if the goal is lower-than-low payrolls instead of pennant contention.

By the way, you can't assume that Tyler Moore is your !B in 2012. He will be 24 when he enters AA ball in 2011 (Dunn was in his 4th year at the MLB level at age 24), so we will know more about Moore by next year. If Moore continues to develop to the point where he can likely step in, then you trade Dunn (or whomever the Nats settle for) when the time comes.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

SIGN DUNN!!!

Posted by: dph60 | September 30, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

All those folks who said "don't sign Dunn cuz he is 30" should study that list for awhile.

Fielder is younger, but if the Nats can't afford Dunn, then they really can't afford Fielder, both in terms of money spent and young players it takes to trade for Fielder. So it will be the most affordable of the old guys, most likely.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I really want Dunn but Victor Martinez playing 1B would lessen the pain

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 30, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what the age split is amongst those who want done to resign and those who want the team to go in a different direction. Frankly, it seems that all the old farts including my father want dunn resigned so they can have they're own modern day Frank Howard. Me personally want the team to win and Adam Dunn being here won't help with that.

Posted by: JDB1 | September 30, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Adam says: " Pena suffered a significant drop-off this season, hitting .198/.328/.411 with 28 home runs and 16 doubles in 470 at-bats. The decline could partly be owed to misfortune, as Pena's .223 batting average on balls in play this year is 65 points below his career average of .288."

When you hit the ball hard, it has a better chance of going through. However, I am sure Pena would like to believe that his .198 season was due to lots and lots of rotten luck.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to read all the dramatic postings when Dunn signs elsewhere. Can't wait to see the sad faces on Natinal fans when Dunn moves on to greener pastures.

As for the rest of the "sluggers" on that list, when do they apply for AARP?

Oh, and:

Oh and just an FYI, under Buck the Fighting Showalter's are:

14-13 against the AL East (yes O's are over .500 against AL East)

18-8 outside of the division (a fantastic .692 winning percentage)


Don't be too jealous Natinal fans.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with SCNatsFan. If Dunn leaves, Martinez may be a pretty decent solution for filling that void. A couple of things to consider: AK says he is a good clubhouse guy (like Dunn). That solves a potential problem if Dunn leaves. Being a switch-hitter is also a plus. It makes the Nats more flexible and harder to defense. I don't know how old Martinez is, but if we avoid trading our prospects he could help us get to the players in the system who may fill that spot in the next couple/few years.

Posted by: fpcsteve | September 30, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

two words: Kevin Millwood

Wasn't that the Orioles big acquisition last year?

Sheesh. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The Orioles are much worse than the Nationals. You may need to go troll in Pittsburgh for a couple of years.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

46, 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, 38+, ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Kasten leaves, Dunn leaves, and if the rumors about Jim Bowden coming back as a consultant are true it only leaves you to conclude that the Lerners are going the Angelos route. Get the fans to fall in love with team and then field the cheapest team you can. Great teams are built with a combination of good veterans and young talent. The Nats seem to understand the young talent part, but seem confused about the veteran talent. Zimm, Pudge, Hammer and Dunn keep the young guys focused. Take a look at the young talented teams (Orioles before Showalter) that imploded because they had no veteran leadership. Pena swings for the fences on every pitch and he isn't an upgrade in the field.

Posted by: JAMNEW | September 30, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree Victor Martinez, 32 next year, is better than most of the older guys. Nats' fans would have to hope that the better teams, including the Red Sox, won't want him and that he will be willing to play for the Nats after playing for the Red Sox. He hits half the HRs as Dunn, but that's OK I guess. Martinez probably has the market value to get a multi-year contract, so you run into the same problem that made Dunn undesirable.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"The Red Sox have made [Victor Martinez] a full-time catcher, but prior to this season he split time evenly between first base and catcher."

No he didn't. He's played in 971 ML games, and in only 146 of them has he played 1B. Except for last season, he has always been used primarily as a catcher.

If Kilgore can't get that easily discoverable fact right, what other mistakes has he made?

Also, why would you sign a guy who's a multiple All-Star catcher (with a .299 lifetime BA with power) and turn him into a first baseman? Why would you suppose he would even want to do that?

As to Pena's inability to put the ball in play consistently this year, it's probably due less to "misfortune" than to a serious decrease in bat speed.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Can't see Bowden as a consultant with this franchise? Where did you read that?

They know Dunn is there best solution at first. They offered him a 3 year contract according to Boz (which he said came too late?). Its really up to Dunn now.

Posted by: periculum | September 30, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Kevin Millwood

Wasn't that the Orioles big acquisition last year?

Sheesh. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The Orioles are much worse than the Nationals. You may need to go troll in Pittsburgh for a couple of years.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 1:37 PM
---------------

Well that guy gave up 2 hits and 0 runs to the playoff-bound Rays last night.

Has a Natinals pitcher ever given up that few hits and/or runs? Of course not. No need to be bitter and/or jealous.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If Nats don't pony up the coin to sign Dunn, it tells you all you need to know about the Lerners: cheap, cheap, CHEAP!!! Too cheap to field a winner in DC, not worthy of the public trust that is bestowed upon owners of major league sports teams (something they don't seem to understand). Despite sucking forever, Nats are profitable, so there's no excuse. MLB should intervene & get Lerners to sell if they won't put something approaching a .500 team together next year. So far, Lerners are a disgrace to MLB & DC! For shame!

Look, I don't begrudge the Lerners' primary interest in profits; it works for them, & it's the American way. But they have no business owning a MLB club if that's their attitude (which it sure seems to be!).

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 30, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

UZR is next to useless with regards to 1b defense. Saving infield throwing errors doesn't factor into the equation at all. It only measures range and errors made by that player. To say that Adam Dunn struggles with throws in the dirt is an understatement. Nick Johnson was tremendous at saving errors. Carlos Pena is a master of the scoop as is Mark Texeira who according to UZR is a terrible firstbaseman when we all know otherwise. Get Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman a real 1b...please.

Posted by: ouvan59 | September 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is the best option of those presented, not to mention the most popular player in DC. If Lerners give him a lowball offer & fail to sign him (most likely), it insults not only him but DC fans as well. If Lerners won't (not can't, won't) field something close to a .500 club next year, commish should make them sell.

Club has been profitable despite sucking forever. Lerners have no excuse! They have been cheap, shameful owners so far. Anybody remember Bob Short, who moved the last version of the Senators out of town? Lerners seem to be his reincarnation. Sad for DC baseball fans to get stuck with such an owner for a second time.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 30, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

SIGN ADAM DUNN!!!!!

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | September 30, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

They offered him a 3 year contract according to Boz (which he said came too late?). Its really up to Dunn now. Posted by: periculum | September 30, 2010 1:53 PM

The Nats offered Dunn 3 years very recently, according to Boswell, after letting him dangle for a whole year. What loyalty (or resentment) does that elicit? Now he has put up another terrific year, and he is close to free agency. It is up to Dunn, based on all the offers the guy receives, where he wants to play.

Does all that count as another good try for the Nats?

Oh, btw, if the Nats have finally made Dunn a good offer, all that previous talk about not wanting him because of his defense was BS.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is the best option of those presented, not to mention the most popular player in DC. If Lerners give him a lowball offer & fail to sign him (most likely), it insults not only him but DC fans as well.

=================================

nyskinsdiehard is right. Let's not forget, this negotiation will set the tone for the next Ryan Zimmerman negotiation, not to mention, future efforts to keep Strasburg and Harper in town. There is no reason why Washington or any other town has to simply be a stopgap for a player until he has enough seniority to leave and go to New York or Boston. DC is a great city with a lot to offer, and ownership has plenty of money in the coffers to sign our best players. SO SIGN DUNN ALREADY!

Posted by: jksesq1 | September 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Anybody remember Bob Short, who moved the last version of the Senators out of town?"

I sure do, and I was in high school on Long Island at the time.

Himself as GM? Ted Williams as a manager? (After it was announced he was going to manage the Senators, a reporter who interviewed Teddy Ballgame found out he didn't know the ML had added four new teams and each league had split into 2 divisions).

Trading Aurelio Rodriguez and Ed Brinkman for Denny McClain (allegedly so the Tigers would vote in favor of his moving out of Washington). Calling DC a bad baseball town, then moving to Texas where combined attendance the first two years was significantly worse than the last two seasons in DC. Ruining a promising kid pitcher named David Clyde by force feeding him into the starting rotation at 18 as a publicity stunt.

By the time he had to sell the team he'd turned himself into a national joke. It wasn't often in those days that the owners of last place teams were regularly covered by TIME and Newsweek, but Short was. They did not treat him with kid gloves.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners may be more like the Griffiths than Short. The difference is the Griffiths were cheap because they really did not have a lot of money.

Short was just despicable and incompentent.

And speaking of Short, let's recall what was going on 39 years ago tonight.

Posted by: KenNat | September 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The Nats aren't going to "lowball" Dunn. Is $10M to $15M a year a lowball offer? But the Nats aren't going to sign him for 4 years. Nor should they. Should they have stepped up to the plate for 3 years earlier? Probably, but I haven't heard that Dunn is looking for anything less than 4 years. We don't know the specifics of what is being offered, so we can't play this blame game. I expect the Nats to be active and I hope the COLLECTIVE 8 that they put out on the field next season is an upgrade to this season.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 30, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

An earlier article quoted Zimmerman as saying how frustrated he would be if Dunn was not back. Zim has family in the area and has expressed an interest in remaining here his enire career; but if Dunn is not resigned, we need to recognize that he could leave as well when his contract is up. The Yankees ought to be looking for a third baseman around then, as arod ages. Is this another part of "the plan?"

Posted by: ammonite88 | September 30, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Coleman was also a part of that deal. He went on to win quite a few games for the Tigers.

----
Trading Aurelio Rodriguez and Ed Brinkman for Denny McClain (allegedly so the Tigers would vote in favor of his moving out of Washington). Calling DC a bad baseball town, then moving to Texas where combined attendance the first two years was significantly worse than the last two seasons in DC. Ruining a promising kid pitcher named David Clyde by force feeding him into the starting rotation at 18 as a publicity stunt.

Posted by: Fairfax6 |

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 30, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, btw, if the Nats have finally made Dunn a good offer, all that previous talk about not wanting him because of his defense was BS.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 2:30 PM"

Well, all of the talk about not wanting Dunn because of his defense has come from the media, not from Rizzo. All Rizzo has ever said is the same thing he said yesterday, namely "We need to get a 4-hole hitter that plays first base. We understand that. We want it to be Adam Dunn." No talk about defense there, is there? Not even any innuendo.

So, EdDC, congratulations on your great discovery. The media spews BS. Who woulda thunk it?

Posted by: FeelWood | September 30, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

45yo here.

Sign Adam Dunn.

The 3 year offer reported by Bos this week is a smokescreen. Now, when Dunn leaves (which he will), the Nats can say that they made him a 3 year offer, which they did. Oh, he'll leave because with a week to go in the season, why not check out free agency. There's no downside for Dunn. And he'll sign somewhere else because I do not believe that the Nats will offer the most years and the most money. Dunn will get a better offer.

The Lerners/Nats need help on this one. It's one nothing to want a better first baseman. Heckn, I'd rather see Adrian Gonzalex playig first, but he's not available. And it's one thing to want to someone better for 1B, it's quite another thing when the guy you have looks like the best option - as a hitter, he's as good or better than anyone available; he's younger than these guys; and worse defensively than most on the list (if not all). But he'll want to longest deal and probably the most money, so, he'll end up somewhere else.

Posted by: comish4lif | September 30, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman is known to hang out at Alfonso Soriano's luxury apartment in Chicago whenever the Nats are in town. If Dunn signs with some other team, Zim will have another luxury apartment to visit on road trips to some other town, with another buddy to hang out with. He'll survive.

Posted by: FeelWood | September 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@Fairfax6: It's not Denny McClain. It's Denny McLain. What one might call an "easily discoverable fact."

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 30, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@JDB1 - if you don't want Dunn, what solution do you propose for 1B?

Posted by: comish4lif | September 30, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Coleman was also a part of that deal. He went on to win quite a few games for the Tigers."

Yes, he did, I'd forgotten about him.

62-38 his first 3 years in Motown.

Nothing like trading a 20 game winner for a 20+ game loser (McClain). Then again, McClain is light years ahead of Coleman in felony convictions. And could Coleman ever lose a pennant (1967) by getting his toes stomped on by a guy he owed money to?

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

n earlier article quoted Zimmerman as saying how frustrated he would be if Dunn was not back. Zim has family in the area and has expressed an interest in remaining here his enire career; but if Dunn is not resigned, we need to recognize that he could leave as well when his contract is up. The Yankees ought to be looking for a third baseman around then, as arod ages. Is this another part of "the plan?"

Posted by: ammonite88 | September 30, 2010 2:44 PM
--------------

He could always just sign with the Fighting Showalter's and get the best of both worlds. Staying in the area and playing on an actual MLB team.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Signing or not signing Dunn is not the destination for this offseason, it's just one step along the journey to building next year's team. Many other moves need to be made, and will be made. Crucifying Rizzo if he should choose not to sign Dunn as if first base is the only position at play this winter would be a supremely stupid thing to do. Which is probably why the lot of you are doing it right now.

Posted by: FeelWood | September 30, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

SorenKierkegaard:

Glad I could brighten up your humdrum day with my minor spelling mistakes.

By the way, it's Søren Kierkegaard.

Life is beautiful, you should get one.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry fairfax6, there are a few of those grammar police on here. Quite sad actually.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so Mike tells us we need is a leadoff man, a 4 hole hitting 1B and an Ace. Even if he landled all of that, we'd still be looking at third place in our Division. This club has been terribly run, after almost 5 years of Lerner rule the roster has question marks all over it and the farm is midling. Rizzo is as much to blame for this woeful club as anyone in Nats Town.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 30, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson was really a fine fielder and a decent hitter too, but alas unbelievably brittle.

The Lerners have handled the Dunn situation pretty badly and we will never really know whether it was simply because they were cheap... or because the team's baseball brains could not get past their understandable concerns about Dunn's defensive shortcomings and uncertain clutch hitting.

I personally think Dunn would be a terrific DH in the AL. An NL team needs a first basemen like the aptly named Mark Grace, who can hit for average, has some power and can field the position well enough to make gold glovers out of his SS, 3B and 2B. For old timers like me, think of ex-Senators manager Gil Hodges as your model.

Posted by: khrabb | September 30, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, I don't believe you can heap much of the current woes on Rizzo; by having poor drafts with minimal results the players just haven't been here and all that happened on someone else's watch, not Rizzo's. Add 2-3 major leagers from the 06-07 drafts (I don't believe even one made it from 06) and this team would look alot different.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 30, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

oops, I misspelled league. Don't want the grammar police to get me.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 30, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

dfh21 - a 4 hole hitting 1Bman, a CFer who is a real leadoff man, and a real top of the rotation starter would certainly put us in the game. I'd take 3rd place while Stras is rehabbing, Harper is coming on, and the middle infield is figuring it out. I'd signoff on that plan.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 30, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"I personally think Dunn would be a terrific DH in the AL."

He's stated he does not want to DH. A number of players don't feel comfortable sitting on the bench half the game, they feel they can't hit their best under those circumstances.

Not to mention becoming a DH would probably mean signing for a good deal less money.

The prospect will doubtless seem a lot more attractive to him in 3 or 4 years, but for now he wants to be a position player.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Only a third rate operation would even be having this discussion at this time. There really is not anybody significantly better than Dunn in that list, even if they wanted to come and the iron wallet would open enough to entice them--each less likely the better the player. Even a second rate outfit would have gotten Dunn signed months ago, or traded him at the break. Absent a breakthrough in the next few weeks which I do not expect, I am through shoveling money at these guys. I will still follow the team and even attend a game from time to time but not like I have for the last several years.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 30, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Harper is coming on . . ."

Actually, the instructional league reviews aren't good:

"Former scout Frankie Piliere of AOL Fanhouse watched Harper make his debut in the instructional league and found the young slugger struggled to hit quality pitching.

"'While he may be an impressive talent, he is not ready for competition like the Arizona Fall League later this year as some have speculated,' Piliere wrote."

He's still only 17. I can't see him playing in the majors until 2013 at least.

Story can be found here:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/fantasywindup/post/2010/09/the-bryce-harper-express-finally-hits-a-speed-bump/1


Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 30, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Jurgen -- I should have been more clear, with the add of the leadoff guy, the 4 hole iB and a front end rotation starter, the Nats would be SHOOTING for third place in the Division. The fact is that none of the clubs in the NL East is going to stand pat. The Phils are light years ahead, the Braves have a ton of pitching, Heyward, McCann, Prado and may get Dunn for all we know to bolster an already decent lineup, the Marlins have young talent all over the diamond, Josh Johnson's golden arm and will spend some ramping for the move to the new park, and the Mets are the Mets -- money will be spent to make them legit again.

Rizzo did not do near enough last year is the problem. An inninngs eater, a scrap heap closer and part timers Pudge and Kennedy were the big adds. We held Willingham, who is not liekly to repaeat or stay helthy -- sad to say. Dunn is still here and we'll be looking at draft picks for him that MAY turn into something in 2016. Not moving Dunn at the deadline for big league ready pitching or the like was inexcusable. Not taking on salary via trade last season for something close to an Ace, just plain dumb. The club is timid at every turn. It is no wonder at all we are finishing last again.

And now we STILL have a mile to make up to play 500 ball. In this big market and new public money park the payroll coins are few and far between and the pieces the Nats need to compete have not been assembled. Rizzo has to take blame for that failure to some large extent. Yet all I see in here is "we trust Mike" stuff, I am not sure he has earned our trust.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 30, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Man, this organization is run so poorly and cheaply, it makes me want to throw up. Everybody in the orgainzation raves about the guy all year but, they wait until there is a week left to offer him a contract and it's 3 years and not the 4 years he wanted. And I'm sure they low-balled him.

More Bush League BS from the Lerners.

Posted by: Section505203 | September 30, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't be too jealous Natinal fans.

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

oh Poopy, we're not jealous in the least. a lot of Nats fans didn't give a flying fig about the O's before 2005. we care even less now that we have our own team. and that's really what irritates you, isn't it? that we have our own team, and don't care about the O's.

Posted by: ceejay3 | September 30, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Good hitters hit... once they adjust. All indication are that Harper WILL hit, so it's probably just a matter of when he is ready. Marero and Norris can hit. It's the other parts of their game. Harper needs to find a defensive position along the way. Hopefully it is RF because that is the spot that the Nats are leaving open.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 30, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Adrian Gonzalez isn't being mentioned. The Padres won't have the $$$ to sign him after next year and will trade him at some point. If the Nationals farm system has any extra young pitchers, that is usually what the Padres want in return for their top players. AG would be a good fit -- young, good glove and solid stick. Not as much power as Adam Dunn, but better defense and less strikeouts. He's wasting away in Petco Park and has no real offensive protection.

Posted by: lance_dc7777 | September 30, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

dfh,

I am with you but also sympathize with Rizzo (as I did with JimBo). It's like you have $5.43 and you go into Safeway to buy your family's next few meals. Of course, you are going to be timid, weighing each decision carefully and passing on most items.

By the way, some items can't be found at Safeway. You have to go to Whole Foods to find the equivalent of a Cliff Lee. Rizzo doesn't even have Whole Foods' address.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The Orioles?
Home: 34-43
Road: 29-52
Sub.400 for the year.
Oh, yes. That is clearly a superior team.

Hmmm, I'll take the Nats.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sign Dunn! He's great in the clubhouse, fand love him, stays healthy, is a consistent 40/100 guy, he works hard on being a better first basement and though he strikes out a lot, so do the rest of these guys. He probably takes more walks than most too. If the Nats replace him, they are going to start mimicking the Skins who always end up filling a need that they created themselves, thus not progressing, but treading water instead.

Posted by: Kolchak | September 30, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

dfh21 - I hear you and I agree. Hopefully Rizzo and the Lerners have learned something over the last couple of years. The Marlins should never be able to outspend a Washington team, nor should the Braves, but they both are well stocked with young talent with their systems. The Nats have started with nothing in the Minors and that has killed us. But the system is now a little better stocked with talent, at least in the lower levels. The Nats with their market and with at least some level of talented inventory, SHOULD be able to start playing with the big boys. Philly is a long jump ahead of us. They are buying talent like the Yankees. Anything other than a World Series is a failure for them. They are in the middle of a nice run. Can they sustain it? There will have to be a drop off in a couple of years. My goal would be to get in a position in a couple of years. I love Dunn, but it's still about pitching and more pitching. We've probably identified 2 of the 5 guys for our rotation in Straus and Zimmermann. Both are in recovery mode. Both will be better in 2013 than they are in 2011 (if there is any 2011 for Straus). Once we sign, develope, or trade for the other 3 starters, will be the key to our success. I think the baseball guys with the Nats know what they need, so hopefully they can figure out a way to get it done, sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | September 30, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

No doubt I'm supremely stupid, but at least I'm not spending my time reading and responding to a bunch of people I think are supremely stupid. So I'm not entirely brain dead.

Posted by: markfromark | September 30, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I love Dunn and hope they re-sign him - but if not - maybe they could move Morse to 1B and sign a stud rightfielder to replace Dunn's offense. I think the simplest and most logical move though is to sign Dunn for three years and keep everyone on the team happy and moving forward in a positive direction. Signing Dunn, then snagging a legitimate #1 SP would make me content going into next year. I think the infield is set, the catching situation is set, the bullpen is set or very close to set, and the outfield could be set with Bernandina, Morse, and Willingham - so to me it's getting very close to a formidable team.

Posted by: AsstGM | September 30, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Jurgen and ED -- I hear you. I am just uber frustrated at Boz and the media generally for the 3+ years too late imploring the club to get quality MLB players. Paying high prices for blunder-filled losses. With Nats brass selling us a bill of goods all along on the farm being priority one and then not even hiring a full front office/scouting staff until last winter.

The fact is that LAST YEAR the club could have chased Holliday, but never made a play because it was not the right time, they could have traded to take on salary for Juan Pierre or Derek Lowe or any number of guys in big contracts, they could have added Randy Wolf via FA -- actual MLB tested players. If we had done that kind of work last year, adding a few nice cogs, this year would likely have been much less awful and we'd be saying, "Hey, add an Ace and the 4 hole hitting 1B and with some better glove work in 2011 we have a shot to make some real noise." But Marquis, Capps, Kennedy and Pudge were the adds. Rizzo did not spend the little he had to play with wisely. This year he has something north of $25M coming off the books, which is great, but why should I have faith in the guy to spend it well?

Posted by: dfh21 | September 30, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And I'm a little annoyed by Boswell's recent articles. It's as though he has been deferring to StanK, and he was given permission to leak that Stan would be leaving, and then once Stan announced he was indeed going Bos chastised the FO. Not by saying "the Nats should have spent more money from day 1, they've done this wrong, they've been cheap".
No, Bos writes "now is the time to spend money", as if what Stan did was awesome.

Seriously, it just seems like Bos is afraid to say anything bad about Stan.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 30, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Dunn will sign with the Nats. He does not want to play for an AL team and there simply are not a lot of NL teams that have both the money, need, and the philosophy to outbid the Nationals. Perhaps the Cubs, Giants, Astros, or Mets will make a play, but the Nationals have a solid chance of beating out each of those clubs.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

He could always just sign with the Fighting Showalter's and get the best of both worlds. Staying in the area and playing on an actual MLB team.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010
--------------------------------------------

What MLB team would that be, Poopy?

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 30, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

biscuit - pretend along with me.
An AL club offers Dunn 4 years and $48M. The Nats offer 3 years, $36M.
You think Dunn signs with DC?

Turning down guaranteed money?

Not likely.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 30, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Trade for and extend the contract of Adrian Gonzalez. Give up as many of our 60 pitch, 5 inning starters as SD requires.

Do not give the Donk $13 million a year. What a waste of money. He should pay Rizzo $10,000 a game to play 1B. Then he should double that for every strike out.

What a one tool wonder. With those terms, Dunn would only cost the Nats around $5.5 million a year.

Posted by: howjensen | September 30, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

RE-SIGN ADAM DUNN

Posted by: skcs1994 | September 30, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

If Dunn doesn't want to sign a 2 year contract the Nats should go after Victor Martinez.

Posted by: 4U2Know | September 30, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a happy christmas. Sorry I can't buy into that 4 year $48M argument. Sure he'd sign with someone else for more money, but that does not mean someone will offer him more money. Many here are convinced that the Nats are just too cheap to be top bidder. I don't think you have to be top bidder, but I'm not convinced they won't be. They were top bidder in 2009. 29 teams had the opportunity to bid more for a 29 year old Dunn. He signed a two year deal here. Now a 31 year old Dunn will sign a 4 year deal for $48M? Not buying it.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 30, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Why did the Nats wait until the last two weeks of the season to offer Dunn a 3-year deal when they had all season to sign him, but would only offer two years? To try to appease the fans who accuse them of being cheap when he leaves for greener pasters. A 30-year old slugger who consistently hits 40 HR's and knocks in 100 runs is one of the rarest commodities in baseball. He's also put up those numbers on some less than talented teams. Something tells me he'll end up getting a 4-year deal for somewhere north of $50M to play 1B for a team like the Cubs who are willing to pay for talent.

Posted by: wizfan89 | September 30, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

He could always just sign with the Fighting Showalter's and get the best of both worlds. Staying in the area and playing on an actual MLB team.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010
--------------------------------------------

What MLB team would that be, Poopy?

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 30, 2010 5:07 PM
==========================================

Angelos_peter wins the thread.

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 30, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

So, bottomline, no one is better than Dunn. I can only think of one reason they haven't resigned him already: Stan Kasten. I think Kasten can't stand anyone who is an independent thinker and who isn't a suck up. He's also probably pissed that Zimmerman has been so vocal in supporting Dunn staying with the Nats - I mean, who does Zim think he is, butting into Front Office business? No options are better than Dunn; he's done absolutley everything this team has asked of him; he's durable and improving at 1B; he wants to be here (which is amazing after the way this organization has treated him) - SIGN ADAM DUNN! Just do it.

Posted by: PostIDJYP | September 30, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is going to get his 4 year deal from some club. The Cubs, Braves, Mets, Sox, Chi Sox, Stros, Mariners, O's and maybe other clubs will be in on him. He is worth more than half of Ryan Howard or Mark Teixiera, expecially to clubs competing in the divisions with the Phils and Yanks, respectively. A club can get Howard-like production for less than half the financial commitment and spend the extra money on pitching to try to keep up with the Phils. The guy is a dead bolt lock reliable masher and the only 40 HR hitting guy available. He is going to get more than $15M per over 4 years. How could Boston as an example let the guy walk to another club for less than $50M when the Yanks owe Tex well more than twice that amount?

The Nats offer is a fig leaf -- they know he won't take it. He can't take it until he sees what offers are out there on the market in a few short weeks. This is his big pay day, this is the contract that he wants to set him and his family up for good. He HAS to listen to the other clubs out there - and does anyone think that he might find a comparable offer from the Braves as an example and the chance to play playoff baseball every year more attractive than the same money/years from the Nats? If the Nats want him, they blew their shot to get him on any kind of discount, so now after stringing him along all summer they have to wow the guy. Odds are widlly in favor of them not wowing the guy. He's very likely gone folks. I just hope he does not end up in our Division.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 30, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

* $60M I cannot type.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 30, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I met a guy over near 395 and S capitol St that said he could play first if given a chance. He also said he wood work for food so I guess the asking price is in the range the Lerners are expecting to pay. If interested just drive down the ramp from 395 to S Capital toward the bridge, He usually at the bottom of the ramp with a squeegee and a squirt bottle look him up.

Posted by: vwallen@bellatlantic.net | September 30, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

ooooh, you did NOT just post your real email address in here, did you?
Good luck with that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 30, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

One thing to keep in mind that lots of posters on this site are negative on Dunn out of sympathy to low budgets. Nothing wrong with that--the fans are just supportive of the Nats. So Dunn is inconsistent, strikes out too much, can't field, is old, etc. The front office is also sympathetic to a low budget approach, because they have to be. So this adds up to a low ball offer, maybe like $40 mil or less over three years. Many Nat fans are convinced Dunn won't get any better offers from other clubs.

Other clubs have a totally different outlook--much more positive--and see Dunn as an asset. This leads me to think the Nats' offer will get blown out of the water.

Posted by: EdDC | September 30, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

At least with the Natinals not having a game tonight they can not have to worry about LOSING yet another game.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Sign Dunn. Can't believe this is even in doubt. I will have had it with this organization if they end up not signing him.

Posted by: crawfamva | September 30, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I just keep getting this vibe that he's going to wait until he's free, and Baltimore gives him 4 years at whatever he wants. It's that unshakeable vibe I have from time to time.

Posted by: Brue | September 30, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

As soon as he lowers his asking price, the deal is Dunn.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | September 30, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Sign Dunn. Fans follow a team because they like the players. If you keep trading all the time there is no loyalty - either way. The Yankees spend a lot of money, but they always have a core of long time players that fans relate to. The Nats need to do the same. And besides, it isn't like the Nats are going to win a pennant one way or the other. Let us feel like we've got some friends on the team.

Posted by: clocker58 | September 30, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

" It's that unshakeable vibe I have from time to time.

Posted by: Brue | September 30, 2010 8:54 PM |"

Just get your drink on. That'll give you the shakes eventually. Surprised you haven't figured that out by now.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 30, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

"Fans follow a team because they like the players. If you keep trading all the time there is no loyalty - either way."

Maybe that was true in the 1950s, but no more. As Jerry Seinfeld says, these days fans are just rooting for the laundry. If their laundry beats the other laundry, they're happy. Simple as that.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 30, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Dunn should command between $14-16M/year on the open market, with AL teams teasing higher value if he'll DH. The Nationals might have been able to secure him for 3 years, with a possible 'home-team' discount ($12-15M/year) back in May, had they been paying attention and willing to spend the $$$.

Sadly, I think he's gone, and Rizzo will be hard pressed to replace both the LH power at the heart of the order, as well as plug the other holes (a #1SP, a leadoff hitter, an upgraded bench, and now a starting 1B) at current salary levels.

Unless the Lerners' wake up to the reality of what it takes to run a MLB team & bump the player budget up accordingly, this team will continue to look like crap in terms of wins & losses.

Posted by: BinM | September 30, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hope they sign Dunn! If not, then somebody who can fill in - didn't know Huff looked so good, hmmm...

Well, worst case, Nats improve by 9 games, added some nice young pieces, and, for the 4th year in 6, turned in a better record than the Balto. Angelos! A late season hot streak wasn't enough to catch the Nats!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

And Red Sox, Yanks will be re-tooling and getting even stronger in 2011!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by: sonshinefcc | September 30, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The one thing the Lerners had better understand is that they are playing with fire by dragging out the Dunn signing, this fan base is dwindling by the day, HELLO!!! this team is i don't know how far away from being a contender if you don't sign him you are going to regret it. I was one of his biggest critics but truth be told Dunn is the best option this team has going forward; if Rizzo can sign a decent bat and a starter and if this team can develop some toughness (Don Baylor?) and eliminate the errors (i know, a lot of if's ) this team could win 75-80 games next season.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 30, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The one thing the Lerners had better understand is that they are playing with fire by dragging out the Dunn signing, this fan base is dwindling by the day, HELLO!!! this team is i don't know how far away from being a contender if you don't sign him you are going to regret it. I was one of his biggest critics but truth be told Dunn is the best option this team has going forward; if Rizzo can sign a decent bat and a starter and if this team can develop some toughness (Don Baylor?) and eliminate the errors (i know, a lot of if's ) this team could win 75-80 games next season.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 30, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

If we can get him for three years, the Lerners ought to do it... With so many other 1B out there this year, other teams will not really be knocking themselves out to get him...especially if he does not want to DH in the AL. If the Nats can really go out and get a Grienke or a Garza for prospects, we'll be onto something. Add Werth from Philly and we're probably a wildcard contender.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | September 30, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

SIGN Donkey DUDD.....who has been on 2 LAST PLACE teams here..and will be on another one in 2011...WITH or WITHOUT him......

And with the left over sheckels...IF there are any.....sign the USUAL DREGS; HAS BEENS and DAMAGED GOODS free agents you always bring to the banks of the Anacostia River....

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 30, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

SIGN Donkey DUDD.....who has been on 2 LAST PLACE teams here..and will be on another one in 2011...WITH or WITHOUT him......

And with the left over sheckels...IF there are any.....sign the USUAL DREGS; HAS BEENS and DAMAGED GOODS free agents you always bring to the banks of the Anacostia River....

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 30, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

RoyHobbs4 wrote:
You win with pitching and defense.

One year Soriano hit 46 homers. Dunn hit 39 and again is at 40.

The team wasn't within 25 games of first place.

Bats can be traded for or acquired in free agency.

Pitching arms can't for the most part unless you are willing to give up $100M to Sabbathia or Johan Santana.

Spend the money on acquiring a right fielder for 2011 and a first baseman that can field the position.

Power in the range of 25 homers is fine if you get a guy that can get on base and work with Espinosa and Desmond to cut down on the errors this team racked up in 2010.

Dunn is a DH. He is a lumbering 260 pound guy that can barely get around the bases.

He may feel he is a capable fielder, but that is only in his own mind.

He was horrible in the outfield and wasn't much better at first base.

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 30, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

howjensen wrote:
So let me get this straight. The Phillies JV played the Nats Varsity, one night after the Phils clinched the pennant. The 4th string closer threw a 90 MPH fastball to the 3rd string catcher and Dunn hit a HR. The Koolaid Crowd immediately went nuts, demanding the Lerner's fork over $40 million to Dunn. Is that about right?

That is laughable. Actually, that is pathetic.

In 10 MLB seasons (2001-2010) here are two facts. (Assume the Nats split their last 4 games and finish with 92 losses.)

1. The Donk has NEVER played on a winning team. Sorry, 22 games for Arizona do not count.
2. Donk's teams have AVERAGED 90.3 losses a season.

Yes, baseball is a team game, so it's not all his fault. But come on, NOT ONCE has he led a team to even an 82-82 record. That is NOT coincidence.

Dunn's Top Three priorities, as expressed by Dunn:

1. Be "comfortable" with his surroundings
2. Make $40 mill for 3 seasons
3. Avoid the DH position

Have you EVER heard Dunn talk about winning a World Series? Never. Yet, two seasons after dumping Dunn for a bag of chips, the Reds might be in one this year. Coincidence again?

Dunn could win a ring with the NYY or Boston. Nope, won't DH, don't want the ring.

Reality check: The Big Donkey is a side show circus act used to draw in casual fans on losing teams. Hit a monster shot once in a while, then glorify his meaningless achievements.

To declare that "Nats fans want Dunn signed" is a gross exaggeration. This fan wants a winner. In his entire career, that's the one thing that has always eluded Dunn. Waste $40 million on a one tool player and it will elude him here, too.

Use your brain, Rizzo.

Heeeeee HAW Heeeeeeeeee HAW

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | September 30, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Greinke?
Garza?
A-Gon?
Lee (Cliff or Derek)?
Pena?
Crawford?
Martinez?
Shields?
Werth?

If any Natinals fan realistically thinks any of those guys here (not that the Natinals would give any of them a market-value contract anyway) than I will most certainly have whatever it is you are smoking.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 30, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Trade Strasburg and a MI for Fielder.

Posted by: 3greenowls | September 30, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

sorry but no room in the circle for angel-O's, besides the off season is all about speculation . . .its not like some organization is gonna actually acquire Atkins and Millwood to kill their season . . .oh THEY DID . . .awkward

Posted by: jpt1002 | October 1, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

39 years ago tonight,I was at the last Senators game.I got an autograph from Tom McCraw,who later got the last hit in the team's history.(In 2005,I got him to sign another 1971 program as he was back in Washington as the Nationals' hitting coach.)
I also got an autograph that night from Bill Veeck,who had tried to buy the Senators but was shut out by the other owners.A really nice and gracious man.When I see how critical so many are about the current state of the Nationals,I always take a moment to think of the alternative.Nothing.It was so long I had stopped believing we would see baseball here again.I do think we'll see a competitive team here.There are expectations;the Senators had none.I can't complain for the sake of complaining.That gets you nowhere.Now,a good fielding first baseman will move them forward.

Posted by: seanmg | October 1, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Aubrey Huff all the way. Another ex-Marlin to help battle our nemesis of the NL East. He hits well, has power and is an excellent fielder. Go for him Rizzo!

Posted by: richs91 | October 1, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

seanmg, congrats and happy anniversary. 39 years ago tonight I was at the last Senators game, too. One of the idiot college kids who charged the field that night, resulting in the forfeit. Also at the first Nats game on April 1, 2005.

Man are you old, lol. Too bad the Donk didn't go out like Hondo did.

Posted by: howjensen | October 1, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Get off the stupid pills you non-baseball people. You sign Dunn then you hit the market for outfielders (get rid of Morgannna and bench Bernadina) and a starting pitcher. Check with the A's for pitchers as they're ready to do a fire-sale like always and go after Ethier and Kemp from the LA War of the Roses. Otherwise Ethier will end up on the Phillies if they don't re-sign Werth (who they're looking to give only a 2 year deal). You can count on that.

Posted by: Dog-1 | October 1, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"I love Dunn and hope they re-sign him - but if not - maybe they could move Morse to 1B and sign a stud rightfielder to replace Dunn's offense."

I love this idea. Morse has got soft hands and, like Dunn, is a big target. As a converted SS I guarantee he would have twice the range at first as well. There is absolutely no excuse for Morse getting fewer than 300 plate appearances this year.

And as likable as Dunn is he's frustrating as well. He won't expand his strike zone even if the situation dictates it. The man has never played on a winning team. He was traded to a team leading its division and they managed to play under .500 the rest of the way and miss the playoffs. The Reds get rid of him and win their division a year later. His valued is much higher in the American League and he needs to get over the fact that he doesn't like to DH.

Posted by: ouvan59 | October 1, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"I love Dunn and hope they re-sign him - but if not - maybe they could move Morse to 1B and sign a stud rightfielder to replace Dunn's offense."

I love this idea. Morse has got soft hands and, like Dunn, is a big target. As a converted SS I guarantee he would have twice the range at first as well. There is absolutely no excuse for Morse getting fewer than 300 plate appearances this year.

And as likable as Dunn is he's frustrating as well. He won't expand his strike zone even if the situation dictates it. The man has never played on a winning team. He was traded to a team leading its division and they managed to play under .500 the rest of the way and miss the playoffs. The Reds get rid of him and win their division a year later. His valued is much higher in the American League and he needs to get over the fact that he doesn't like to DH.

Posted by: ouvan59 | October 1, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I like Dunn and I hope we resign him. Then I hope we move to the AL where he can be most useful as a DH.

If we lose Dunn, we will not lose much by putting Morse at first base. If we want to talk about VORP, I think Morse will save us more runs with his glove than the difference between the two that Dunn would get for us with his bat.

The only problem with that scenario is that Morse is right-handed. There are very few right-handed first basemen because of the obvious advantages in wearing the glove on the right hand at that position, which helps a left-hander to guard the line and to keep his glove out of the runner's way when receiving a throw from another infielder.

Remember, though, we have a logjam coming up at first base, with Marrero and Moore looking up from the minors and earning shots with their performance this year.

And is anyone surprised that Bryce Harper is having a little trouble his first couple of games, after his first long layoff from baseball in his life? He'll come around quickly, I think, particularly if his youthful arrogance gets knocked down a notch or two, which will make him a little more teachable.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | October 1, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Natbiscuits
The Lerners have many excuses

Offensive decline
46, 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, 38+, ...

Defensive liability

Farts in the locker room

Parks in Mark's (Mini Me's) parking spot

Takes extra Luggage on road trips (cost $)

Posted by: frediemac1 | October 1, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

FergusonFoont

You must work for the Natinals.

I knew they would use Morse at 1st base back in July. What a cheapskate organization. REALLY CHEAP!
Oh and Marrero at 1st base? HE SUCKS! LOL

Posted by: frediemac1 | October 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Damn cheapskates. That O is gonna be downright O-ffensive next season.

Posted by: JamWhitt | October 1, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals have ignored the fans desires and cut Dunn loose. They will make a good target for second guessing if the Nats lose MORE games next year. Bad move Nats.

Posted by: chopin224 | October 1, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"The Nationals have ignored the fans desires and cut Dunn loose. They will make a good target for second guessing if the Nats lose MORE games next year. Bad move Nats."

I hope to God that Rizzo isn't making his baseball decisions based on what we think. I hope he is making his decisions based on his experiences as a baseball man. Wins are what will bring the fans to the ballpark. We have Adam Dunn right now. Personally I would love to see the Nats move Morse to 1st. Trade Josh Willingham, move Roger Bernadina to left and sign someone like Jason Werth, who is a good defensive outfielder.

Posted by: ouvan59 | October 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

> This fan wants a winner. In his entire career, that's the one thing that has always eluded Dunn. Waste $40 million on a one tool player and it will elude him here, too.

Posted by: GRIMReaper55

It's always the cheapest form of commentary to criticize the best player on a bad team.

Posted by: Brue | October 1, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

What is being missed in all this Nats management bashing is what a waste it is to spend a ton of dough without a farm system in place. Few teams can afford to just buy a winner. True, the Nats' drafts rate low, but at least we now have Espinosa, Desmond, Ramos, Storen, Clippard, Bernadina, Strasburg, et al. I too think we should sign Dunn, but I also think this is the offseason to judge how "cheap" the ownership is.

Posted by: mhall4 | October 1, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Personally I would love to see the Nats move Morse to 1st. Trade Josh Willingham, move Roger Bernadina to left and sign someone like Jason Werth, who is a good defensive outfielder."

Morse at first instead of Dunn? He has almost no experience playing there in either the major or minor leagues. He will be 29 years old next April. Riggleman managed to find an effective role for him as a spot starter/bench player. As a regular, he's mostly demonstrated why he's a career minor leaguer.

Josh Willingham is coming off knee surgery. He'll be 32 next February. His trade value will be zero until next June, at the very least.

Roger Bernadina was handed a starting job this season, and has shown no reason why he should be able to keep it. He's hitting .249 with no power, and he strikes out much too often for a Punch-And-Judy hitter. He'll be 27 next year. On a good team, he's a fourth or fifth outfielder who gets 175-200 at-bats.

There is no chance Werth comes here without a contract at least $5 million higher in value than a contender would pay him. When you ask someone to go from the penthouse to the outhouse, it takes a lot of extra cash to make them ignore the smell.

I've seen so many people fall in love with career minor leaguers like Morse and Bernadina this year I can only assume you're suffering from a sort of cognitive dissonance. Too many years of watching awful baseball has obliterated your ability to determine if players are any good or not.


Posted by: Fairfax6 | October 1, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't suggest that Morse is our answer at 1B, but his OPS is .850. That's worth more than a cup of coffee. With Bernadina, I agree. He's only 26, but a lot of hype for a guy with a sub .700 OPS and a poor SO/BB ratio.

Posted by: mhall4 | October 1, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"I wouldn't suggest that Morse is our answer at 1B, but his OPS is .850."

Not as a regular. Then again, I'll admit I find OPS to be a completely worthless stat, baseball's equivalent of QB ratings.

Let me put it this way. Give Morse an everyday job that nets him 500-550 at-bats, and you'll get a sub-.240 average, 15-18 home runs, and 150+ strikeouts. He has enormous holes in his swing, and it won't take long before other teams figure out how to sucker him into swinging at pitches he can't possibly touch.

Two other clubs gave up on him. One of them was the White Sox, one of the better teams of the last 10 years, the other Seattle, which definitely had openings he could have filled in the years he was in their system. At the time he was traded to the Nots last year, the Mariners were using Wladimir Balentien in left field. He ended up hitting .213, and they got rid of him a month after dumping Morse.

Very hard to believe both those teams dumped someone who's going to end up a productive everyday ballplayer.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | October 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If they really go after Pena and pay him well, then I'm buying the talk that Boras played Rizzo and the Lerners and sold them on taking on one of his lesser clients to get Harper done. Pathetic.

Posted by: one2 | October 1, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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