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Kilgore on First Things First

Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore will join columnist Tracee Hamilton's online chat, First Things First, Friday morning at 9:30.

To participate in a discussion of the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports, click here.

By Alexa Steele  | October 29, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

AK -- Tracee's comment: "it was likely, if not automatic, that Dunn would be a Type A" Is simply not right.

It was a close call for Dunn to get Type A Status, Rizzo took a big risk. Dunn tied with Derek Lee and almost fell to Type B. The non-move of Dunn was a huge failure and the Nats got lucky that it was not worse.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 29, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how you can classify a non-move as a failure unless you know for a fact what moves could have been made. Whatever speculation and rumors have been floated about possible packages other teams offered for Dunn, none of that is relevant since the only people who know for sure what was offered are in the Nationals front office, and they (rightfully so) aren't sayin, except to say that none of them were good enough.
I don't know, that seems like a good enough answer for me. I'll trust the people who actually do this sort of thing for a living before I join the Greek chorus of internet geniuses without enough information.
That said, my two cents is it's still better than 50-50 that Dunn gets re-signed. And maybe then this won't seem like such a failure.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | October 29, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow mjhoya12. First you rip the "internet geniuses", then you offer that you think it's better than 50 - 50 Dunn re-signs with the Nationals. Snap, the pot just called the kettle black!

Dunn is fully gone. He'll be a full free agent in a few more days, we're offer him a one year arbitration deal, he'll decline arbitration, and he'll see what the Cubs, braves, White Sox et al have to offer.

And we'll get two draft picks between roughly #35 and #60.

An organization with its act together would have found a trading partner for Dunn in July and scored a better deal.

Why didn't it happen? Don't know, lots of speculation there. Was Rizzo over-ruled? Who knows. But getting two picks for Dunn is getting less than full value, and a right thinking, cohesive organization would have been able to craft a good deal with someone.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 29, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with mjhoya12 that we can not be sure what deals were offered to the Nats for Dunn during the season. All we have are the reports that are fed to us by Kilgore and the like. The reports were that the White Sox wanted Dunn, and they were obviously willing to part with Daniel Hudson because they traded him to Arizona for Edwin Jackson. The reports were that the Nats wanted Jackson, but then the deal never got done. Did Rizzo back out on Jackson? Did the White Sox back out on Dunn? Who knows? But it stands to reason that if the White Sox really wanted Dunn, and were willing to trade Hudson to get the piece (Jackson) to make that happen, then they would have just traded Hudson (and maybe a couple of prospects) for Dunn.

Now, instead of getting a young, MLB rotation ready starting pitcher (Hudson went 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 starts for Arizona) or whatever other deals were on the table, the Nats either get a) Dunn for one more year and we get to play this whole game again next summer, b) Dunn for several more years, c)lose Dunn and get 2 draft picks that may or may not turn into anything, or d) and I hope that there is 0% chance of this happening, not offer arbitration and just let Dunn walk for nothing. (I really can't see this happening but the possibility is out there)

Posted by: SpashCity | October 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

For the record I would give odds on the 4 scenarios as follows:

A) Dunn accepts arbitration - 35%
B) Dunn signs multi-year contract with Nats - 15%
C) Nats offer arbitration and Dunn signs elsewhere - 50%
D) Nats do not offer arbitration and Dunn signs elsewhere - 0% (please, o please)

Posted by: SpashCity | October 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland is right, or so says this internet genius. And how'd you know I was Greek? Dunn is gone -- he will get 4 years and a ton of money someplace -- and Rizzo had to make a deal but failed to do so.

Rizzo told the world over and over that he never actively shopped Dunn. That alone is damning. How in Hell could Mike not be pushing to get something for Dunn? Rizzo missed the chance to ink Dunn at a discount, he missed the chane to trade him for MLB ready talent and now he's looking at getting pick compensation which brings very little short term value to a club desperately in need of it.

I am just some schmoe, but much more learned baseball pundits than I were scratching their heads in wonder when Dunn was still wearing a culry W on his hat on August 1. Rizzo making the excuse that no one came to him with an offer he liked is weak. Maybe Rizzo's strategy was not to look desperate at the deadline, but now he is actually desperate going into the off season. Big mistake.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 29, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'll trust the people who actually do this sort of thing for a living

The guy with the most experience doing this for a living, part owner of the team, just walked out the door. The paper's lead baseball columnist (another person who does this for a living) says he would have stayed if the owners had been likely to be even good.

Posted by: markfromark | October 29, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The lead basbeall columnist told us at every turn how Kasten would get it done, how fortunate the club was to have him, how respected he is in the game, the grand legitimacy he brought was invaluable, etc., then Kasten came and simply failed in all important facets of the job. Lousy MLB club, lousy promotion, lousy radio broadcast, lousy PR, lousy farm, very little progress after years of control. So, neither the columnist (by predicting great things from Kasten) nor the baseball guy (Kasten not delivering great things) got it right. So, I am not sure that there is anyone we can look to these days.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 29, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Spash - I'd thnk Dunn's chances of accepting arbitration are close to zero.

Keep in mind, arbitration is a one year deal. That's it. And Dunn most definitely does not want a one year deal.

And so, for the record I would give odds on the 4 scenarios as follows:

A) Dunn accepts arbitration - 0%
B) Dunn signs multi-year contract with Nats - 8%
C) Nats offer arbitration and Dunn signs elsewhere - 92%
D) Nats do not offer arbitration and Dunn signs elsewhere - 0%

Posted by: Sunderland | October 29, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Again, this Greek internet genius decrees Sunderland to be correct. ZERO chance Dunn goes for a 1 year deal -- he's been callig for stability all year. And the Nats would essentially have to beat the market to keep him, maybe they do that, but history tells us they are not likely to be outspedning the Cubs/Chi Sox/Braves/et al any time soon. So, the less than 10% chance they ink him looks good to me too.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 29, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Throwing the argument out that because the Sox traded Hudson to the Diamondbacks, they must also have been willing to trade Hudson to the Nats is pretty weak. We have no idea what happened between the Nats and Sox. We have no idea whether he was on the table. We have no idea what was offered to the Nats for Dunn. We have no idea about a lot of things. Second guess ownership and the GM all you want, but to intimate that we are fully aware of all of the nuances of running a club, unless one of us is a former (or current) club owner or GM is just a fallacy.

I hope that the Nats find some way to sign Dunn, though I admit that the chances do seem slim that that happens. Hopefully, they will be able to pick up a bat and at least one arm in free agency. While that bat will likely not replace Dunn 1 to 1, hopefully the combination of that bat and the moves that they will make to fill the hole Dunn leaves at first will actually spread some of that production throughout the lineup, rather than concentrating it in the 3-4-5 holes.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | October 29, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

At the time, everything pointed to the likelihood that the Nats could have obtained Hudson for Dunn-not Hudson and the other top first base prospect the Nats wanted, but Hudson (or Jackson in a later scenario). Apparently the Sox were upset that the Nats reneigned on the deal. Of course, we'll never know exactly what took place, but all signs were that the Nats could have had one or either of these pitchers, but as usual, a la Bowden, they wanted an arm and a leg.
(pun intended)

Posted by: jcampbell1 | October 29, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I think whose blue PJs are going to fit pretty well.
Not shopping Dunn makes sense, IF they re-sign
him, but not now. Whatever they were offered, it had to be better than the 35th-best pig in a poke.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 29, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Kasten didn't get it done but I suspect he didn't have as much control as he needed to be effective.

The Nats aren't going to fall apart without Dunn, but they will get worse. His offense will be missed. The Nats could be back over 100 losses next season. Let just dismiss the silliness of signing Lee, Crawford, etc. We will get the usual retreads. Zimm must really regret his contract now - his prime years tied to a poor team that is probably going to get worse again.

Not much into conspiracy theories, but given the continual mismanagement and poor decision making, I almost have to wonder if old man Lerner promised MLB and Angelos to only field bad teams.

Posted by: CountDemoney | October 29, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I so wish Kilgore had been the author of the top post. Kilgore talking about Kilgore on a blog with Kilgore as a guest would have been awesome. Third person Kilgore is my favorite Kilgore.

For all those trumpeting the "You dont know what happened behind closed Nat doors" march, so what? This is a forum to discuss rumors and offer opinions.

Your opinion to state what others do or dont know is just as valid as my opinion to be irritated with the current dfh-Sunderland reply love affair above or another posters opinion to think Dunn and his matador defense should be traded.

I don't have an overall positive or negative opinion of the Nats front office, other than whoever was in charge of the camouflage Nats hat promotion should get a big raise.

But, if you have a player thats top 10 in OPS and will be a free agent, you should sign him to a deal or trade him. You dont lose that kind of immediate value for draft pick(s) where too many variables effect your return. The Nats have squandered the certainty of Dunn's production for the uncertainty of the draft (who will be available, where will the picks be, how much will the picks cost to sign, how productive will the picks become, how long until the picks become major leaguers, etc.)

Regardless of what was or was not known, it is mismanagement from some level in the organization (except the camo hat guy).

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | October 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I so wish Kilgore had been the author of the top post. Kilgore talking about Kilgore on a blog with Kilgore as a guest would have been awesome. Third person Kilgore is my favorite Kilgore.

For all those trumpeting the "You dont know what happened behind closed Nat doors" march, so what? This is a forum to discuss rumors and offer opinions.

Your opinion to state what others do or dont know is just as valid as my opinion to be irritated with the current dfh-Sunderland reply love affair above or another posters opinion to think Dunn and his matador defense should be traded.

I don't have an overall positive or negative opinion of the Nats front office, other than whoever was in charge of the camouflage Nats hat promotion should get a big raise.

But, if you have a player thats top 10 in OPS and will be a free agent, you should sign him to a deal or trade him. You dont lose that kind of immediate value for draft pick(s) where too many variables effect your return. The Nats have squandered the certainty of Dunn's production for the uncertainty of the draft (who will be available, where will the picks be, how much will the picks cost to sign, how productive will the picks become, how long until the picks become major leaguers, etc.)

Regardless of what was or was not known, it is mismanagement from some level in the organization (except the camo hat guy).

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | October 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I swear I hit submit 12 times. I'm a little disappointed there is only 1 dup. I guess I'll just have to push submit harder next time.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | October 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat off-topic, but with a high probability of losing Dunn at 1B, here's the replacement candidates I like...

Adam LaRoche [AZ-trade]: 31yo, LH hitter, steady glove & bat; Could cost a ML arm & 1-2 prospects.
Adrian Gonzalez [SD-trade]: 29yo, LH hitter, solid hitter / average glove; Could cost a ML infielder, a ML pitcher & 1-2 prospects.
Derrek Lee [ATL-FA]: 36yo, LH hitter, decent glove & bat, becoming a bit brittle; Costs nothing but $$, probably looking for a 2-yr+ contract.
Michael Morse [WSH]: 29yo, RH hitter, but under team control. Move would allow team to go after LH/SH hitting OF as replacement in RF.

Possible replacements I don't like...
Carlos Pena [TB-FA]: 32yo, LH batter, in decline both offensively & defensively; Costs only $$, might accept a 1-yr contract, but brings nothing to the table, imo.
Prince Fielder [MIL-trade]: 27yo, LH hitter, good bat, bad glove, carries a heavy $$ expectation as well ($10.5M Arb in 2010); Could cost a ML IF, a ML SP & a prospect or two.
Josh Willingham [WSH-Arb]: 31yo, RH hitter, no real MLB experience at 1B; In final Arb year, looking for extension.

Posted by: BinM | October 30, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Looking at contract-controlled players only, here is my guess at the 2011 Washington Nationals Opening-Day roster (derived from current 40-man)...

Fielders (13)
CA- Pudge (R/R).
1B- Morse (R/R).
2B- Espinosa (B/R).
SS- Desmond (R/R).
3B- Zimmerman (R/R).
LF- Willingham (R/R).
CF- Morgan (L/L).
RF- Bernadina (L/L).
INF (3)- Either Flores (R/R) or Ramos (R/R)[CA], Gonzalez (R/R)[IF], Kennedy (L/R) [IF].
OF (2)- Maxwell (R/R), Harper (L/R).

Pitchers (12)
SP (5)- Livo(R), JZimm(R), Lannan(L), Marquis(R), Maya(R).
RP (7)- Clippard(R), Peralta(R), Slaten(L), Balester(R), Severino(L), Barrett(L), Storen(R).

With that as a baseline, the immediate needs are SP, #4-5 hitter, LH/SH hitter, OF, IF just to hold level. The current lineup is skewed to the RH side, & needs a LH bat in the 3-6 slot to be 'balanced', imo.

Posted by: BinM | October 30, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

BinM, thanks for taking the time to lay that out. It just shows how much work Rizzo needs to do this offseason. The only place we seem to have organizational depth is at catcher, with Pudge, Ramos, maybe Flores, and Norris. It will be interesting to see if Rizzo actually completes a trade of significance, where we give up some player(s) of actual value.

FWIW, I believe Flores will show up soon on a winter league roster. The Nats (and potential trading partners) need to better assess his health before the offseason begins in earnest.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 30, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

LDO--I agree with you that you are entitled to your opinion, that's cool. However, I just have an issue with everyone giving blanket, it-must-be-so pronouncements. Bull, no one knows. I'm not saying you are any less entitled to your opinion than I am--espouse it until the cows come home. But don't tell me that Rizzo screwed up because he could have gotten Hudson, or the Lerners wouldn't allow a deal, or whatever else you can't possibly know. I'm not saying that if there was a deal for Dunn where they could have gotten Hudson, and Rizzo didn't do it, that it wasn't a mistake. I'm just saying we don't know.

Do I wish they had gotten some young talent for Dunn rather than rolling the dice that he would be a type A and getting two picks that may or may not pan out? Sure do. But I'm not going to say that because he didn't make a deal that he clearly made an error. If he couldn't get young talent for Dunn, then I think it better that he rolled the dice. I'm not happy with not re-signing him.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | October 31, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

But Cav, the point is that Rizzo should have made a deal. That's his job. His job with an asset like Dunn in a walk year is either trade him for value or re-sign him. Letting a guy of high value walk is a mistake.

It's not as easy as just saying "we don't know what he was offered". It's his job to create the deal with trading partners that make sense for both teams. To just let Dunn walk and take two draft picks between roughly 35 and 60 is getting a lot less than commensurate value.

I'm not saying I know what deal could be made. I'm not saying I know why a deal was not made. But I am saying not making a deal is the equivalent of making a bad deal.

And LDO's post was awesome (bringin' him into the love fest), especially the third one.

Posted by: Sunderland | October 31, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It does not take any speculation to state that Rizzo, who by his own admission, was not making calls trying to get a deal for Dunn, made a big mistake. Rizzo not pursuing a deal was a huge error. He had the best slugger on the trade market and he felt content to sit back and field offers, if they came in. Does anyone think that his approach was a reasonable one?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 1, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse


In AFL news, Harper went 3 for 5 Saturday with a double and a jack. He's now 6 for 17 for a .353 average, with 2 doubles a homer and 4 RBI.

Doesn't seem outclassed so far, does he?

Posted by: Drew8 | November 1, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

It does not take any speculation to state that Rizzo, who by his own admission, was not making calls trying to get a deal for Dunn, made a big mistake. Rizzo not pursuing a deal was a huge error. He had the best slugger on the trade market and he felt content to sit back and field offers, if they came in. Does anyone think that his approach was a reasonable one? Posted by: dfh21 | November 1, 2010 8:17 AM

From a baseball standpoint, of course you are right. No question about it.

From a business standpoint, I can see hanging onto Dunn for the season. The Nats did not want to turn off their fan base, and hurt their financial formula that puts them into the top three in MLB profits every year. They had already shed Guz and Capps, so payroll was not a problem. Just getting a minimal 20-22,000 attendance a game would guarantee their annual return to that top three status.

However, if they dumped Dunn for inferior talent (and you would not get full talent back for a half-year rental), then that would send a loud message to the fan base that the Nats are not willing to produce a major league product.

As it now stands, the Nats can say with credibility that they are trying to re-sign Dunn. Dunn's loss will get diffused into all the other off-season moves, as we all look forward to the "new look" roster changes and the 2011 season.

Posted by: EdDC | November 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think that they failed on the money test too, EdDC. They would have saved about $4M in salary and $2M or so in signing money for the draft picks, had they moved Dun at the deadline. Whether or not they would have taken a big hit in attendance loss if they had moved Dunn is arguable, but it would have had to be a LOT less people showing up to make up something like $5.5M on a net basis (which generously assumes the player(s) in return for Dunn would have cost $500K for the remainder of 2010).

My wild, unsupported by any facts theory is that the Lerners are too timid to make a move. Fear of buyer's/seller's remourse eats them alive in siutations like this. It was much more tolerable for them to not make a move when it was Soriano a few years back, as the club was in a fledgling rebuild process, but after years of last place and holes all over the MLB roster, taking a couple of draft picks is far from ideal.

And if they do re-ink Dunn, it will be at a number as high as any team is willing to pay him, as opposed to having locked him up in March at a discount when the guy was begging for a deal. And they could have taken a tarde for the guy at the deadline and then just gone and gotten him back in free agency, if they loved him so much (which they seemingly don't).

I just have not yet been able to look at the Adam Dunn situation from any angle that makes me think management has its stuff together.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 1, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

dfh21,

All good points. Yes, the Nats could have saved a few million by dumping Dunn at mid-season, and I agree with you that they could have gained more in short-term profits by doing so. Nonetheless, it would have hurt their brand. The Nats' reputation among enough of the public is earned by a team philosophy of building from within, preaching patience, and not doing anything overtly that would draw too much attention to their low-budget operations. Preserving the brand is worth Dunn's half-season millions.

The Nats are not as desperate as the Pirates. The amount spent on Dunn for the half-season preserves the notion that they are not just out for the bucks. If they dumped Dunn from a woeful last-place team, leaving fans with an even worse and much more boring team, then that would indeed overtly draw attention to their excessive frugality. It would have created too many doubts.

The Nats do not need many loyal fans to preserve their profit formula. By the same token, they don't want to damage their brand too much among the few loyal followers they have.

Posted by: EdDC | November 1, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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