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More hard luck for Livan Hernandez

Morning roundup


Yesterday afternoon, Livan Hernandez faced a familiar situation. He walked off the field after a sterling performance, baffled hitters in his wake, left to wonder how his start would be reflected in the scorebook. He pitched well enough to win, but that meant precious little.

We all know how devalued the win statistic has become as a means to measure the value of a pitcher. And advanced metrics have shown Hernandez to be fortuitous this season -- more balls in play have been outs than is typical, fewer fly balls have been homers. Go ahead and explain it to Hernandez. He cherishes the Ws in his stat line, and he deserves more than he's received this year.

Twelve times this season, Hernandez has produced a quality start and swallowed a loss or a no-decision. In 10 of those instances, Hernandez allowed two earned runs or less. No other Nationals starter has 10 quality starts, period - John Lannan ranks second on the team, with nine.

Hernandez is not alone in having hard luck in the win department. He's not even the unluckiest Hernandez - Felix Hernandez has 27 quality starts in 30 starts but just 11 wins to show for it. But in the simplest way, Hernandez's standout year could look much better than it does.

FROM THE POST

Boz drops a bomb today by coming to the conclusion Adam Dunn is probably done in Washington.

Wilson Ramos went yard for the first time, but the Nationals lost 3-2 to the Mets on some close calls.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Harrisburg 10, Altoona 5: Harrisburg took a 1-0 series lead. Tom Milone allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks, striking out seven. Stephen Lombardozzi went 1 for 4 with two walks. Jesus Valdez went 2 for 5 with three RBI. The Senators scored five runs in the second and five more in the eighth.

Frederick 10, Potomac 9: The P-Nats scored eight runs in the top of the first, then surrendered seven in the bottom of the first. Danny Rosenbaum allowed seven earned runs in one inning on four hits, two walks and a hit batter. Derek Norris went 2 for 3 with two walks and a game-tying home run in the ninth. Jamar Walton went 1 for 4 with a home run and four RBI. Robert Jacobsen went 1 for 3 with a home run.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Mark Zuckerman considers what the Nationals' priority should be this offseason.

Nyjer Morgan is fueled by his passion, Jennifer Langosch writes.

Nationals Baseball wonders how Ryan Zimmerman will fare in the MVP voting this year.

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 9, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Has Ian Desmond's surge made him a Rookie of the Year candidate?

Comments

Like CiL in the prior thread, Boz's column made me sick too. There is only one hitter of this caliber willing to sign with us, and we are running him off. Given the history of this ball club, I seriously doubt that this is driven primarily by defensive concerns. No, it is about keeping a ridiculously low payroll while blowing smoke at fans and chanting the "we'll be better in a few years just trust us and give us your money to buy season tickets." I am only one ST holder, but no, I am not going to do that again. Have done it for years, but not this time. I can see promise. But I also see perennial unwillingness to spend what it takes to put forth a real MLB caliber team. If they do not sign Dunn, and at this stage a signing looks unlikely, then I do not sign my ST renewal. Not even with 4 for the price of 2. I will go to some individual games and continue to follow the team I love. But I don't trust ownership to give value in return for my money, and I am tired of being taken advantage of by cheap owners.

So, Mr. Lerner, when you actually spend the money to field that team you have been promising for years, I will rejoin the ST base. It will not be hard to do, because your ST base is going to be minuscule. You may be myopically viewing this as a decision on one player. You should be viewing it as the proverbial last straw in a series of disappointments for the fans. You should be viewing it as a trust that is about to be broken. Ask The Danny about fan rebellion. You don't have nearly the base that the Skins did, and, as you run off Dunn, you are running off still another of the few long time ST holders who remain. I strongly suspect I am not alone.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 9, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Ol' Jim "Captain Quick Hook" Riggleman does it again. Half an inning after his sidekick, Pat "The Human Stop Sign" Listache stopped Morgan from scoring EASILY from second with what would have been the go-ahead run, the Captain pulled Livo when he was still mowing 'em down and when he was set to face the weakest hitter he saw all day. After he brought in Burnett, the Mets sat career .045 hitter Lucas Duda down in favor of a guy who at least bats a couple of bucks and a quarter or so to face Burnett, and Dunn's snail's-pace glove did the rest.

Chalk another loss up to the Riggleman/Listache team and the bizarre on-field decisions they make.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | September 9, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It's not a Dunn or none decision.
It depends what else they do.

If they do not sign Dunn, I won't be terribly upset. He's ours, and he's lovable, and he has plenty of positives, but he also has plenty of negatives.

So if we lose Dunn and the FO does little, then I'm annoyed. But if we lose Dunn, get Lee or Pena for 2 years, *and also* get a solid outfielder, then I think we have little to argue about.

However unlikely that may seem.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I just read Wilson Ramos's quote in the gamer about the insight he'd gained about Dickey's pitch selection while catching him in the Twins organization.

It apparently directly contributed to his homer.

Do you think he shared that wisdom with his teammates, who were completely flummoxed all day? If not, why? If so, it did remarkably little good.

Posted by: Meridian1 | September 9, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

its really not all that complicated outside of the pitching staff:

need to get Ramos and Rodriguez switched for next year - play the younger dude more, and figure out if he is the answer and keep Pudge around because you can't have too many of those kinds of players. sorry Wil...no stick.

get Crawford from Tampa Bay for right field; move Bernadina to center and put up with Willingham and others till Harper shows up in a couple of years. Nyger just isn't a long term answer making all of the mistakes he does.

Gonzalez, Desmond, Zimmerman and Espinosa stay....Dunn stays for two years until the youngsters from the farm can play, and then he's gone. If he can find a deal better than 2 years, go for it....we'll get by...hell we are going to lose 100 games with him.

In 2 years, the team is faster and younger and plays better defense.

Posted by: outrbnksm | September 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

ARE WE STUCK WITH RAY KNIGHT IN THE BOOTH? HE IS JUST TERRIBLE.

Posted by: motogp46 | September 9, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

As zendo pointed out yesterday, the Nats do well in free agency, finishing second with several excellent players, like Mark Teixeira and Aroldis Chapman. With that in mind, it would be great if the Nats gave a terrific effort in the off-season on both Dunn and Carl Crawford. If the Nats finished second in getting both of those guys inked for the next few years, it would have the following advantages:

1. The Nats would almost have a fearsome, run-producing lineup. They would just miss playing interesting ball every game of the season in 2011.

2. By offering tens of millions to both Crawford and Dunn, no one could say with any legitimacy that the Nats are cheap.

Why settle for one or the other, when you can finish second for both, and add some genuine excitement to this town?

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The one thing to consider is the gate receipt. I would think that Dunn is a bigger draw than Pena et al. There is an old adage that says “you have to spend money to make money”. You can rely on the Philly Buses rolling into town only so often.

Even without SS the pitching staff looks decent Zimm will be fine, Lannan is starting to look like his old, Livo is Livo, Maya will figure it out. So with the starters in ok shape this leaves only three positions in doubt 1st, and two outfield spots. Those three holes filled in the right way could make this team a playoff contending team next season.

Resigning Dunn could go along way with the fans and his teammates. If you could poll the players they probably would say they would rather have Dunn than anyone else. Team chemistry is important when trying to build a winner. I have a feeling Willingham is on the verge of decline, so best to get off that train while the Nats can. Morgan shows Passion, but no plate discipline, when you can make an argument that Maxwell might be a better hitter, it is time to move on.

We can dream of an outfield of Bernie, Crawford, and Sizemore, and Dunn playing first. We can dream that the nats would go after an win the services of Yu Darvish. But the sad fact is the Nats track record says they will blow their chance at salvaging the 2011 season and beyond.

Posted by: hansenjo | September 9, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Having reflected on zendo and EdDC's astute analysis of the outstanding Nat approach to free agency, I realize I need to revise my thinking. Instead of just walking away from my ST package, I need to let the Nats bid for my patronage. Sadly, given the product they are likely to field next year, I fear they will come in second to MASN. Then, instead of spending a few grand at the ballpark next year, I will watch the game on TV, which will come in first on the bidding. Sorry Uncle Teddy, but I can watch a losing team at home for the cost of cable and snacks and beer from my own fridge. Then, I can attend one or two games in the cheap seats to still enjoy the Park on a nice day. This will be my equivalent of signing a low-performing retread for Dunn. Then, if the long-promised contending team actually arrives some distant year, I can jump back as a ST holder. In the meantime, I will have saved a much greater portion of my disposable income than the Lerners saved by not signing Dunn. So finally, I'm on board with my version of The Plan!

Posted by: NatsFly | September 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

hansenjo - Very few players bring people into the stadium, and for most it's a short term thing (see Strasburg, Stephen).

Winning brings people into the stadium.
Always has, always will, except in Tampa.

We can lose with or without Dunn.
We can win with or without Dunn.
He's a piece, but like pretty much everyone else, a replacable piece.

Gonna be an interesting winter.

At least though we did get a very good and encouraging start to the offseason with the draft.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 9, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

They just have to re-sign Dunn. Who else could appear on Top Chef and be that hilarious?

OK, seriously, I agree with FergusonFoont above that Riggs totally blew that game yesterday. The Mets were ready to have a player (Duda) who's only had 22 career MLB at-bats face a 15-year veteran pitcher with one out in the 7th of a tie game, at home. Anyone with a brain knows that if a manager takes his starter out, the other team will pinch-hit for the pinch-hitter. And that's exactly what the Mets did.

Now, instead of Livan vs Duda (career MLB: .045/.192/.091), we now get Burnett vs Nick Evans (career MLB: .246/.289/.393). Sure, Evans is no Pujols, but he does have 3 years of MLB experience PLUS seven years minor league experience to Duda's four.
How does taking out Livan make any sense whatsoever?!

BTW, if Acta was still the manager and he did this yesterday, this blog would be teeming with "Acta stinks" or "Acta's the worst manager ever" rants. But besides a small number of people that feel the way I do about Riggleman, he seems to escape the vitriol that everyone gave Acta even though he is doing the exact same thing.

Posted by: erocks33 | September 9, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I've been saying it for month's now Riggleman is a nice guy but he's not the guy that should be running this team but he's cheap and he ain't gonna rock the boat. Jim Riggleman will not raise hell with the front office,Buck Showalter wouldn't put up with the Lerners cheap azz spending. The Nat's are playing with fire as far as their dwindling fan base is concerned,the Strasberg injury strips them of a guaranteed draw every five days so they had better wake up, they can keep Riggleman if they dare then it will be more of the same next season not exactly a reason to go out and renew your season tickets.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 9, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

As Boz tells it, the reasons why the Nats aren't going to re-sign Dunn are premised on the rosy scenario that all their "prospects" pan out--i.e., that Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, Bernardina all become legitimate major leaguers and awesome defenders. Sounds great, but how often do those dreams play out as hoped? Especially when you're talking about the Nats.

On the other hand, in not re-signing Dunn, the Nats would be creating another huge hole that they need to fill with someone else. Is Dunn a perfect player? Of course not. But do we think that Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, etc. are going to be perfect players? Again, of course not. Almost all players have holes. Dunn is a great power hitter who also happens to make better the others who hit around him in the lineup. And he wants to play here; nothing has been leaked out by the Nats (and it surely would be leaked were it the case, just like the info that got into Boz's column) that his salary demands are unreasonable.

As to the argument that Dunn doesn't draw people to the ballpark: I disagree, but that's also besides the point. The issue at this point is actually whether *not* signing Dunn would drive people *away from* the ballpark, given where the Nats are on their development curve. I don't have any doubt that it would.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | September 9, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Very few players bring people into the stadium, and for most it's a short term thing (see Strasburg, Stephen). Winning brings people into the stadium. Always has, always will, except in Tampa. We can lose with or without Dunn. We can win with or without Dunn. He's a piece, but like pretty much everyone else, a replacable piece...Posted by: Sunderland | September 9, 2010 10:45 AM |

Some of us believe there is a connection among winning, attendance, and getting or retaining the best players you can. Any excellent player is just one "piece," but you need as many excellent pieces as you can get to build a winner and attract fans. Of course, a perennial 40/100 guy who can play first better than Dunn would be a valuable piece. But the more likely scenario is some fallback to an older, reasonably competent guy at 1B.

Carlos Pena, at 32, is often mentioned. He sounds about right for our Nats. Someone (Kev29?) mentioned a week or so ago that the Nats have a $3 million comfort zone in signing players, and Pena might fall above the comfort zone as a proven player over the years. But wait: Pena is hitting just .203 on the season. If he drops below .200, he will surely get into that comfort zone for the Nats. He is very signable!

I prefer Dunn tp Pena. Dunn could be HOF at his current pace. Pena is older, a much lesser hitter, and not an elite player. Dunn has had just one season at 1B. He is sure to continue to improve. And if Dunn were a superb fielder, he would be way out of this club's price range, if he is not outside the affordability range already.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland,

Dunn might never be an Ovie type draw, like you said not many can. However, if they don't resign Dunn a clear fan and more importantly a clubhouse favorite it could harm the trust between the FO, the players and its fans. Not signing Dunn and falling back into past patterns by signing a cheaper un-improved version of the same shows lack of hope and promise. Lack of hope and promise does affect the gates.

Posted by: hansenjo | September 9, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I try not to get frustrated with "Lerners are Cheap" argument but I don't agree with it. I think the decision to sign or not sign Dunn will be made on a range of factors used to calculate return on investment - cost of contract, defense, offensive production, chemistry, prospects, impact on ticket sales, etc.... It's hard for me to imagine that all those factors would not lead to a significant offer made to Mr. Dunn. I want him signed. But if they can't sign Dunn, they need to acquire another star of equal or greater value. There are not a lot of guys like that out there.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 9, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

In searching for leaks about Dunn's unreasonable contract demands, Kevin apparently missed this bit of coverage. Or maybe he just dismisses the source (Ladson) ad hoc. Whatever, you would think Kevin would realize that the issue with Dunn is not the salary, it's the years.

WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn said Tuesday there hasn't been any progress on a contract extension, although his agent, Greg Genske, and the club continue to talk.
Dunn is in the last year of a two-year, $20 million contract with the Nationals, and he is looking to get a four-year deal.

"If we can't get something done, obviously, I would like to see what my option are," Dunn said to MLB.com. "I want to stay in one place. It's something I want to do. I never asked for anything like [a four-year deal] ever in my career. It's one thing that I want -- the longer-term contract. That's all I ask for."

Posted by: FeelWood | September 9, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-thought I'd chime in tosay Boz has some nice points in his post-live right now!-regarding Dunn vs. Pena and future production.
Yea, I wish he was a better fielder, too. But if you read the Philly blogs, Ryans' "d" is been poor this year (after last years' uptick) and they seem to have done OK the past few years.
And yea, seems like Dunn NEVER gets that "clutch" big hit. But all the runs (just like wins) count.....and I really just don't see how they can be so cavalier about losing him.
I've said this before, as well:the Slows can afford to sign Dunn for FOUR years at market rate-heck, even higher....AND have the deal be a bad one! And STILL have the money to sign another premium FA.We are NOT a poor team or limited fan base!
HEY! Mebbe we could come in second on resigning Dunn, too! "We tried to keep him, but-someone, anyone, please!-topped our offer! We where THIS close, I tell ya'...
Jeez...who woulda thought that a bit of "Dan Snyder-itis" would be a GOOD thing for a franchise?
Go Nats...

Posted by: zendo | September 9, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

After getting past the disturbing headline, I read Boz's article and agree with it -- he says ownership should keep Dunn, and for all the right (IMO) reasons.

I'm with Dunn on this -- how good does he have to play to get a little love? If he were on a contending team, he would be an all-star; he is likely to end up in the Hall of Fame. It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to think we can get someone better. Remember when Flores led the team in RBI's with 62?

Finally, I agree completely with NatFly. People do not just pay to see their team win, independently of who the players are. In baseball especially, there must be a bond between the (paying) fans and the players on the team. Without that, you don't just get the Redskins -- you get the Baltimore Orioles. If the team makes Dunn happy (here in DC), they will make me happy. If Dunn walks away, I will not renew my season tickets. Like NatFly, I am just one fan, but . . . .

Posted by: ammonite88 | September 9, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and a last point-off to work I go!-I can't speak to the ST thing. I gave mine up after we stunk in our 1st year at the new park and did NOTHING in the off season. The Slows insisted "Wait til we get our new stadium....".
STILL waiting.
Of course, I'm still a die hard. I catch games at the yard when I can, or want to. But there is plenty of dough to spend WHEN the Slows do the same.And I DESPERATELY wanna call the Lerners the "Slowly-ies", y'know? Or the "Finally-ies". I really like our young players, but....We'll see
Go Nats.

Posted by: zendo | September 9, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

On Dunn's relatively low RISP average in 2010, it's not a career thing. Look at 2009 and his fabulous RISP average and other years. Look at his fabulous career with the bases loaded too. What a hitter! Lots of good data here:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6763/situational;_ylt=AvemaZSBM.fSz74IRrHfkI2FCLcF?year=2009&type=Batting

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"On Dunn's relatively low RISP average in 2010, it's not a career thing."

Okay, then it's a decline thing.

Posted by: FeelWood | September 9, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

For all the people calling for the Nats to re-sign Dunn, ask yourself if he's who you want at 1B in 2013 or 2014? If the decision were to sign Dunn to a 2 year deal or not, I think almost everyone would say yes. But he knows if they sign him for just 2 years it's because they don't see needing him past then and his prospects for a decent contract with another team at that point are greatly diminished.

So if they don't re-sign Dunn, I wouldn't assume it's because they are cheap. It may be because they are looking more than 2 years out.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | September 9, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The only bad luck for Livan is being on the Natinals.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 9, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you guys are good at coming up with excuses to avoid giving Dunn a new contract! Lerner is thankfully enabled.

Is Dunn in decline at the ripe ol' age of 30? Well, he is on a pace to hit his usual boring 40 HR and drive in 108 runs. He is hitting .268 with a .363 OBP. His OPS is .915.

Dunn leads the Nats in games played, HR, slugging average, OPS, RBI, doubles and total bases. He is now tied for the club lead in walks, after trailing Zim for much of the year. Some decline. Yeah, we don't need all that production!

Players of Dunn's caliber rarely fall apart at age 33 or 34. I've given dozens of examples, but if you "beleive" that, then there is no convincing you.

If you think Dunn is too old and in decline, what until you see his low-budget replacement.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think Boz did a great job this morning of laying out the reasons for and against signing Dunn. As several people have pointed out here, the only way to evaluate this decision is to see what they do to replace him. I think there's a good argument to be made that the Nats would be better off with a better fielder at first who could also contribute with the bat at something resembling the level of production they've gotten from Dunn.

I just don't think that guy is available and I don't think you can come up with a platoon system that passes the test, either.

And I don't buy the argument that you shouldn't commit to a long-term deal with Dunn because of declining production. There's no real sign in my mind that he's declining at all and if he does decline three or four years out, is that the end of the world, if he's given you 4-5 good years and you've got other hitters on hand then (like Harper) to pick up the slack?

So, I'd keep him, and I'll be surprised if I feel like his replacement will change my mind. But we can always hope.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

EdDC:
Agreed - If the Nationals let Dunn get away, they'll go to a "Plan B" 1B/LH like Pena or Derek Lee for 2-yr/$7-9M per. What they'll get for the 'defensive upgrade' is an older hitter in decline offensively & more succeptable to injury.

I sure hope he can save 40+ runs per year at 1B, because that's what the team will give up on the offensive side should Dunn walk away.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC -- I don't think Dunn is in decline. I'm just not sure that he's the best we can do in 2013-2014, particularly given his liability in the field. I do think he's the best we can do in 2011 and probably 2012, however, so if he leaves, there'll definitely be a hole for a bit. And yes, his replacement is almost certainly going to be older and more in decline (or out-of-place like Morse).

The question for the Nats is who's gonna be at 1B in 2013/2014? If it's someone in their system (Marrero or Tyler Moore) then they just need a stop gap for next year who can help transition in 2012. That's the Pena option. If it's a top-line FA, say Adrian Gonzalez who could be available in 2012, then again, they just need a 1 year stop-gap (maybe Morse or Willingham?). If the answer is Dunn, he'd have been signed already.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | September 9, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

OK, I get it now. Dunn may have a bad year in 2014, so it is better not to sign him, leaving a hole, as you put it, for a few years.

Of course, players of Dunn's caliber tend to have terrific years at age 33 and 34. In other words, the 2014 season may not be as awful as you fear if you go by what quality sluggers acjieve at that age. But I see your point: why take any risk at all? Doing nothing is the safest bet, especially if finances are of paramount concern.

Oh, you say finances are not as important as your anticipated Dunn decline in the year 2014? If that is the case, where was all the worry over signing Livan at 35, Batista at 39, Pudge at 38, and Peralta at 34?

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Boz thought Dunn would accept a 3 year $40 million deal here. If the Nats will not extend a 3 year deal to the most reliable 40 HR hitter showing no signs of decline who is a real HOF possibility and who wants to stay here, then what pro in his right mind would come here? Answer: older declining players who want to eke out another year or two. That is not a replacement for Dunn, that is a gross downgrade in the team. Oh, I forgot, we are supposed to be happy with "in it right to the end" not actually SIGNING a young star.

Feelwood: a one year low RISP is no sign of decline. That is a situational hitting stat, in part a product of luck and in part a product of getting people on (and not picked off) ahead of the hitter. His hitting stats are, as ever, consistent and his RISP will go back to average, as all things do in baseball. Remember that year when we were the 1 run wonders? Won all those games against all odds? Didn't last, we reverted to average won/lost stats in such situations. D&D: yes, I would happily take Dunn as 1B in 2013, and that is all he is asking for. There is no indication that he will decline much, if at all, in 3 years. So, we are going to sign an already declining Pena who is 2 years older as his replacement? It is time for the fans to declare BS on this!

Posted by: NatsFly | September 9, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

If it's a top-line FA, say Adrian Gonzalez who could be available in 2012, then again, they just need a 1 year stop-gap (maybe Morse or Willingham?). If the answer is Dunn, he'd have been signed already.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1

Delusional. A one year stopgap to what? You act like this team is the Yankees and they can wait for the pick of the litter. This team's been in last place for the last five years. Nobody decent wants to come here. They tried to give Jermaine Dye 3 million bucks this year and he told them he'd rather sit home for nothing than come here!

Posted by: Brue | September 9, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Count me on the side of those who aren't buying the "he'll go into decline" theory. I'll throw out a few names--Killebrew, F. Howard, Stargell, McCovey--who had their best years in the 31-33-year category. And if Dunn does go into decline at age 34, like Hondo did, we'd have gotten three good years. A counterexample is Boog Powell, who didn't age well, but he had already started his decline at age 29.

And isn't there just as good as chance that age and injuries will start to erode the fielding skills of Pena and Lee? Recall how quickly Nick Johnson's fielding declined.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 9, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Given the option players are gonna sign with the O's, what with their respected manager, magnificent front office, and storied history.

Who wants to sign with the Expos, I mean Natinals.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 9, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, we only have Zimm for 3 more seasons. So do you want to tell Zim he can't have Dunn, cuz Dunn at age 34 has a chance of having a bad year in 2014, the year after Zim leaves? Will Zim see the logic in that?

When you have a player of Zim's quality, you surround him with other quality players in their prime--as Dunn is. You don't tell Zim that Tyler Moore might be ready to play 1B in a few years. And if Tyler Moore does get MLB-ready at some future point (he was in A ball this season), you could always trade Dunn down the road.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Boz thought Dunn would accept a 3 year $40 million deal here."

According to Ladson, Boz is wrong. Dunn is still holding out for four years.

WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn said Tuesday there hasn't been any progress on a contract extension, although his agent, Greg Genske, and the club continue to talk.
Dunn is in the last year of a two-year, $20 million contract with the Nationals, and he is looking to get a four-year deal.

"If we can't get something done, obviously, I would like to see what my option are," Dunn said to MLB.com. "I want to stay in one place. It's something I want to do. I never asked for anything like [a four-year deal] ever in my career. It's one thing that I want -- the longer-term contract. That's all I ask for."

IMHO, the choice right now is not Rizzo's, weighing Dunn's offense vs defense as Boz suggests. The choice is Dunn's. He wants a four year deal, and he doesn't want to be a DH. But there's no way he can get both of those things. He needs to decide which one he wants more. My prediction is that he'll decide he wants to play the field for as long as he can, and he'll end up signing a three year deal with the Nats. But contrary to Boz's assumption, he's not there yet in his decision process.

Posted by: FeelWood | September 9, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Dunn at 4 years is one more year than Dunn for 3 years. I'm down with that. Let's make Dunn our HOF player, and six years in his prime would do that.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so, Boz! Make it happen Nats - get 'er Dunn! I hope Adam decides to stay a Nat for the future.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | September 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Cap,

You say Frank Howard was in decline at age 34? Yes, he was, but he still managed to hit .279 with a .367 OBP, with 26 HR and 83 RBI. That's going to be better than most guys you can find to replace Dunn, especially at Nats' low salary levels. Anyway, Dunn is much more of a prodigious hitter over a longer period already than Frank Howard was, which makes decline at age 34 more unlikely for Dunn.

And if Dunn does have that Frank Howard level of decline in 2014, I'll take it in exchange for three more great Dunn seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Those years count too.

Look at it this way: Dunn has three great seasons by the end of 2013, with one more year left on his contract. Zim's contract is up at 2013. Dunn says to Zim, hang in there with me, Harper, SS, Des and the other guys. Zim says yes to that. If Dunn is not there, there's less reason for Zim to stay. So that's a big plus, even if Dunn gets the dreaded decline in 2014 (which is more unlikely than likely to happen).

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Prrof positive that I have better things to do in life than read Nationals Baseball is that he's actually thinking about Zim's chances in the MVP voting this year. Man oh man, that is a huge waste of blog space.

Zim is a very nice player, he's a star in the making, but he's not a top 10 MVP guy, and he's not arguably the best player in baseball. He arguably not even the best player in his Division -- Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez? There's being a homer and all, I get it, but this is delusional homerism.


Posted by: dfh21 | September 9, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry EdDC, given the way this crowd treats "older" players who could "be a risk" Zim won't be here past 2013. He will go to the HOF in blue pinstripes, not Nats red white and blue. This outfit is AAAA all the way, and Zim is a pro. He is getting a real close look at how they operate. Ownership/management is showing zero consideration for its players, zero consideration to its fans and zero consideration to anything except the almighty dollar. And the funny thing is, by pinching every penny and fielding an AAAA year after year after year, they are killing the proverbial gold egg laying goose which will cost them in the long run.

Ownership/management are so focused on their theories and plans and, of course, the money that they seem to have not noticed that their ST base is eroding to nothing. Oh well, I am done ranting for the day. It is not like Rizo and Uncle Teddy give a damn anyway, and none of the rest of us can do anything other than vote with our feet and quit enabling this behavior.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 9, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Poopy, the Flying Showalters may be enjoying a nice bump now, but to hear you speak of their "storied history" since the 1990s makes me laugh out loud.

Please quit trolling here, and find some nice Browns, I mean Oreos, message board to corrupt.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | September 9, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey, atleast Baltimore had a baseball team in the 90's and wasn't patiently waiting for their THIRD team.

*cough*Washington*cough*

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 9, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Prrof positive that I have better things to do in life than read Nationals Baseball is that he's actually thinking about Zim's chances in the MVP voting this year. Man oh man, that is a huge waste of blog space.

Zim is a very nice player, he's a star in the making, but he's not a top 10 MVP guy, and he's not arguably the best player in baseball. He arguably not even the best player in his Division -- Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez? There's being a homer and all, I get it, but this is delusional homerism.


Posted by: dfh21 | September 9, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse


First, the blog posting didn't seem enthusiastic about Zim's chances. Second, if you don't think Zim is one of the ten most valuable players in MLB, I just don't know what to say to you.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2010&month=0

Posted by: Section220 | September 9, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

EdDC,

You know I wasn't really disagreeing with you. I was taking the worst-case scenario and trying to suggest that a decline in the 4th year of his contract--however steep or likely that might be--would not negate the big production we could expect from him during the 1st three years.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 9, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Cap, we don't disagree at all. You are correct that Dunn is a significant positive, even in 2014. He won't fall off a cliff in 2014 as all the players you cited demonstrate. Your lone exception, Frank Howard, had a very nice year at age 34, even if it was a year in relative decline. Adam will probably have another Dunn-like year in 2014. I really cannot understand why everyone is so worried about 2014!

The Nats hope Dunn falls to them at below market value. If not, they will get some player that is already in decline. We won't have to wait around to 2014 to see the decline. What about Nick Johnson? He could be healthy by next season. He is affordable even by Nats' standards, and will only be 32.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Pujols (Stl)
Tex (NYY)
ARod (NYY)
Howard (Phi)
Utley (Phi)
Votto (Cin)
Hamilton (Tex)
Cabrera (Det)
Gonzalez (Col)
Bautista (Tor)
Ramirez (Fla)
Swisher (NYY)
Beltre (Bos)


Those are all guys who for 2010 I'd take over Zimmerman and that's only thinking about it for .5 seconds. I'm sure I'd come up with alot more given some time.

Sorry Natinal fans but Zimmerman ain't no MVP this year.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 9, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

It's that time of the year again, apparently:

http://tinyurl.com/2vexo52

Neatness counts.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 9, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

We really did used to get a much higher class of troll in here. What's driving the gamer comment trolls over to the NJ? Probably the same thing that drove half the best commenters off, I suppose. *Sigh*

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 9, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's my issue. Say you absolutely knew that Dunn would perform in 2013 exactly the same as 2010. Would you want him as your starting 1b that year or not? If your thought is, "well, it depends on the alternative" then you're in my camp. I don't unequivocally think he's the best 1b we can have. He puts up decent offensive numbers and will almost certainly still be around the same in that regard a few years down the road. But he's one dimensional.

I think most of the angst around losing Dunn is the assumption that we'll end up with worse and we're only letting him go because we're cheap. But if we keep him, are we settling? I grew up watching the Mets. Dave Kingman put up huge offensive numbers (along with K's), though not as consistently as Dunn. But he didn't help them win. Keith Hernandez in 1986 was a field general that made everyone on the team better defensively. He was probably the MVP of the team that year over the course of the whole season, and he had no where near the power that Dunn has. I know I'm comparing apples to oranges to an extent, but who really thinks Dunn is a top-tier 1b? If he were, would the Nats have gotten him in the first place? Would he still be here through the trade deadline?

Posted by: DavidandDonald | September 9, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

DandD:
The Kingman (1975-77, 1981-83) - Hernandez (1983-89) transition for the Mets was shedding an aging one-dimentional player (HR hitter) with serious flaws for a younger, multi-dimentional player. Not a good correlation to the Nationals situation, imo.

The Nationals FO is looking at dumping a proven LH power-hitter/RBI threat, with fair skills at 1B (Dunn), for what may be an aging GG-winner with rapidly declining skills either on offense or defense (Pena-TB, D.Lee-ATL, Konerko-CWS), or a same-aged, but much less offensively capable substitute (LaRoche-AZ).

It just seems like the ownership/FO is very unwilling to commit to a 3-4yr contract in excess of $15M/yr for a player over the age of 30. They'd seemingly rather spend $5-8M a year for players like DaMeat, Guzman, LoDuca, Kearns, etc., rather than commit to a player who may cost twice that, but could actually help the team improve over most, if not all of his contract.

It's just a sad case of being 'penny-wise, but pound (or dollar) foolish', imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

DandD:
The Kingman (1975-77, 1981-83) - Hernandez (1983-89) transition for the Mets was shedding an aging one-dimentional player (HR hitter) with serious flaws for a younger, multi-dimentional player. Not a good correlation to the Nationals situation, imo.

The Nationals FO is looking at dumping a proven LH power-hitter/RBI threat, with fair skills at 1B (Dunn), for what may be an aging GG-winner with rapidly declining skills either on offense or defense (Pena-TB, D.Lee-ATL, Konerko-CWS), or a same-aged, but much less offensively capable substitute (LaRoche-AZ).

It just seems like the ownership/FO is very unwilling to commit to a 3-4yr contract in excess of $15M/yr for a player over the age of 30. They'd seemingly rather spend $5-8M a year for players like DaMeat, Guzman, LoDuca, Kearns, etc., rather than commit to a player who may cost twice that, but could actually help the team improve over most, if not all of his contract.

It's just a sad case of being 'penny-wise, but pound (or dollar) foolish', imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Just pray that Tony LaRusso gets bored with St. Louis and bring Albert Pujols with him to the Nationals next year. Riggleman has got to go! Just look what a good manager with a winning attitude will do for a losing club at Baltimore! Alas, this is only a pipe dream!

Posted by: JohnWWW | September 9, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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