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Adam Dunn officially files for free agency

The final out of the World Series means the offseason can begin, and so first baseman Adam Dunn and three other Nationals officially filed for free agency late last night. Because of a change this season to the Basic Agreement between the Players Association and the league, the exclusive negotiating rights for teams to sign their own free agents has been slashed from 15 days to five days. Dunn and the rest of the Nationals' free agents will be able to receive offers from and negotiate with any team in the league starting Saturday at midnight.

Along with Dunn, utility man Willie Harris, reliever Miguel Batista and outfielder Kevin Mench filed for free agency. Also, second baseman Adam Kennedy will become a free agent if/when the Nationals decline his 2011 option, which they are highly likely to do. (The Nationals can either pay Kennedy $2 million for 2011 or buy him out for $500,000.) Of those players, Batista seemingly has the best chance of returning to the Nationals.

By Adam Kilgore  | November 2, 2010; 9:26 AM ET
 
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Comments

Bye bye, Adam. Wish you well, except when you play the Nats, of course.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 2, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Here's hoping Willie prospers wherever he goes. Never more than an adequate player, but ALWAYS had his head in the game, and you never thought he was giving less than 100%, both body and mind. What more can you ask for?

Okay, OPS of .900 would be nice, too...

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

And I've had a soft spot in my heart for Batista since the day I looked up from the Senators Sausage line and saw someone on the mound who did not look at all like Stephen Strasburg. And who handled the whole "Miss Iowa" affair with humor and character.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Agree on Batista - what an intriguing fellow - and not a half bad pitcher for his age. I wish him well.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 2, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

We are in first place! Well, as much as any other club is. The fun starts now. Rizzo is going to have to turn over a whole lot of roster spots. I can only hope that the club senses the urgency. That they realize that the business model cannot rely on the newness of baseball being back in DC (going on 7 years) or the new park (going on 3 years); they need to build a club that can contend. If they build it, we will come. Not some rag-tag fugitive fleet of guys who MIGHT win 70 games, but they need a real MLB club. No more excuses.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 2, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Good luck, Adam. You were a great Nat!

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

This year will be a challenge for Rizzo. If we don't keep Dunn, I hope we won't be lamenting that fact all year. His BA with RISP was bad, but he protected Zim well, and regardless of that stat no pitcher wanted to pitch to him in that situation. I don't recall anyone giving Zim an intentional walk "to get to" Dunn. I also don't like that fact that the Nats are doing something the Redskins have been doing for years, which is creating a hole in your lineup when you already have others to fill.

Posted by: Kolchak | November 2, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

A necessary step for Dunn ... but not necessarily a step away from the Nationals. Everyone assumes he will leave, many assume it will be over money, but there is a basis for a baseball decision here. Does his offense and clubhouse presence outweigh his defensive shortcomings. Are 200 strikeouts a worse way to make an out than 100 strikeouts plus 100 outs made with balls in play.

I'm one who does believe that the way you make an out is important. Double plays are the worst and strikeouts with men on base are worse than balls in play.

Dunn's offensive game is valuable though. Making pitchers throw more pitches, hitting 40 homeruns, and scaring pitchers into throwing Ryan Zimmerman strikes is important too.

But some range and agility at first base would be extremely useful. I hope they sign him, but a lot depends on what the options are. I don't think we'll get Carl Crawford, but Crawford in left and Willingham at first would be one possible scenario that would make a Dunn loss less painful.

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 2, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Adam, your winning mojo and the gentle breeze provided by your many strikeouts will be sorely missed here. How will we possibly survive without it for the four years your agent was demanding from us? May you land somewhere else that so values the four strikeout game that an entire stadium full of fans rises to its feet in applause. Maybe if you're really lucky that will be where you're playing your home games - but I wouldn't count on it.

Posted by: FeelWood | November 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

SIGN HIM DAGNABIT!!!!

(not that my voice really will change anything, I just want to express my opinion)

Posted by: twinbrook | November 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, FeelWood, how are those sour grapes tasting?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, FeelWood, how are those sour grapes tasting?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

His BA with RISP was bad, but he protected Zim well, and regardless of that stat no pitcher wanted to pitch to him in that situation. I don't recall anyone giving Zim an intentional walk "to get to" Dunn. ...Posted by: Kolchak | November 2, 2010 10:54 AM |

Kolchak, Those are good comments. It is best to look at RISP over a career rather than single out one year as indication of a weakness, as supporters of low-budget Nats baseball tend to do.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6763/situational;_ylt=ArEIAOVfC7Hz4woVxq9Pf2aFCLcF?year=career&type=Batting

Dunn has just a .231 career average with RISP but has a .411 OBP and a .890 OPS with RISP. I'll take that. His OBP is 30 points higher with RISP than it is over all ABs.

Looking at RISP with 2 outs, he has a low career BA of .214 but a .429 OBP. Dunn has 34 HR in these two out, clutch situations, and 191 RBI in his 560 ABs with 2 outs and with RISP. He drew 203 walks. Now, all that's impressive. Obviously pitchers fear him in clutch situations. Pitchers do not think Dunn chokes, even though some Nats fans do.

With the bases loaded. Dunn has hit .292 in his career with a OPS of 1.032. Pitchers can't pitch around him with the bases loaded, so they pay a steep price. He has driven in 118 in 113 ABs with the bases loaded.

Fans of low-budget baseball pick on his RISP in 2010, when he only hit .217 with RISP. Still even in his down year for RISP, he hit 8 HR (multiply that by 4), with a .335 OBP, knocking in 64 runs. Yes, not up to his career standards, but let's look just one year earlier.

In 2009, Dunn hit .283 with RISP with a .454 OBP and a 1.019 OPS. In just 145 ABs with RISP, he hit 11 HRs and knocked in 66. Maybe not good enough to be a Nat, true. Otherwise, he is world class.

Unlike Pudge, he would be our HOF guy if he is re-signed and continues on his consistent path.

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is going to make somebody a heckuva manager someday. My thanks to him for his years in a Nationals' uniform.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 2, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

That's awkwardly phrased: I mean Harris will be a heckuva manager for somebody someday.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 2, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

They need pitching ... as the world series so aptly showed.

Posted by: periculum | November 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who knew that being able to draw a walk with RISP is such a valuable skill! No wonder Dunn thinks he's worth a four year deal! I guess the key is to have the bases loaded when you draw your walk so that you get an RBI out of it. Do you think Dunn will be able to demand contract language from his new team that will guarantee that he comes up with the bases loaded more often than not?

And hey, who holds the major league record for walks with the bases loaded anyway? That guy surely must be in the Hall of fame, right?

Posted by: FeelWood | November 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I took your meaning, Gregg, and I agree.

Good luck to Dunn (and I hope he'll be a Nat next year).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 2, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope they re-sign Willie Harris, as long as we don't have to see him start. He's the consummate bench player, and can perform adequately pretty much anyplace outside of the battery. Not too many guys you can say that about. Certainly not Adam Kennedy, who's pretty much confined to the right side of the infield. When you have a manager that loves the double switch as much as Riggleman does, having a guy like Willie is practically a necessity.

Posted by: TomServo | November 2, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I like Dunn but no way do I see him getting into the HOF unless, just like me, he buys a ticket.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | November 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

They need pitching ... as the world series so aptly showed. Posted by: periculum | November 2, 2010 1:19 PM |

If you give away your top run producer, will that help you attract pitching?

If you could only have hitting or pitching, I would go with pitching. That's a false choice, though. You could keep your hitting and add pitching in the same off-season. No law against it.

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"If you give away your top run producer, will that help you attract pitching?"

The mistake (yet another in a long litany of JimBo boneheads) here was not signing him to a 4 year to keep him under team control 2 years ago. In 2 years his replacement should be ready to come up from the minors.

They need pitching ... from 2005-2008 the farm system failed to produce a starter for the rotation other than Lannan. Meanwhile teams like SF, SD, and Texas have been building decent rotations around young draft picks. Not the Nats.

It has to start now.

Posted by: periculum | November 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

A walk with the bases loaded is a good thing. You still have the same number of runners on base and the same number of outs left in the inning, but you are one run richer. Better than a sac fly.

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"The mistake (yet another in a long litany of JimBo boneheads) here was not signing him to a 4 year to keep him under team control 2 years ago. In 2 years his replacement should be ready to come up from the minors."

peric,

There you go again with your theory that Lerner wanted to ink Dunn to a 4-year deal, but JimBo talked him out of it. Poor Teddy has to be forcibly restrained from spending money by a bonehead GM who is only focused on the bottom line and not wins. JimBo had to wrestle the checkbook out of Teddy's hands! Now it is Rizzo who is restraining Lerner, not JimBo. Free Teddy! Let Teddy be Teddy!

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

FeelWood. Take a deep breath and relax. Adam Dunn is very likely going to get a 4 year deal, and he is not some wildly unreasonable person for wanting such a deal and the clubs (there will be more than one) that line up to give those 4 years to him will not be insane to do so. Knock his RISP average or some other ancillary stat all you want. The 40 bombs and 100 RBI every year in a world where a handful of players can mash like that will carry the day -- your protestations notwithstanding. That guy in the middle of an order is a difference maker and few teams are gonna care if he can do much more than stand on 1B and catch the ball when thrown directly at the letters on his unie (which will likely read: Chicago).

And anyone who blames Bowden for Dunn not being inked beyond 2010 is practicing some revisionist history. Bowden was under fire for having given Dunn a second year after he was non-tendered by the DBax. There was no way the Nats were going to give Dunn more than 2 years. The mistake for Dunn not being signed beyond 2010, if it is a mistake, is Rizzo's for not getting a deal done for the guy in the Spring. Or, if Rizzo did not want the guy, then it is hs mistake for not trading him over the summer.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 2, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder where Zito will end up next year? I'd say on the basis of the Giants' choice to leave him off the playoff roster and Bumgarner's performance, Zito will not be in SF next year. I wonder if that decision will wash up on our shores...

Posted by: fpcsteve | November 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC,

"There you go again with your theory that Lerner wanted to ink Dunn to a 4-year deal, but JimBo talked him out of it. Poor Teddy has to be forcibly restrained from spending money by a bonehead GM who is only focused on the bottom line and not wins. JimBo had to wrestle the checkbook out of Teddy's hands! Now it is Rizzo who is restraining Lerner, not JimBo. Free Teddy! Let Teddy be Teddy!"

There you go ignoring everything hardworking reporters like AK, BG, and MZ tell you? Do you even read any of these posts? Ever? The only guys in the FO who wanted to keep Dunn were, you got it, THE LERNERS and Kasten ... the FO and Rizzo wanted to execute the trade for Dan Harren or Edwin Jackson.

He apparently was OVERRULED? By whom sir, by whom?

Sheesh, I hate when people don't read and form opinions in a vacuum.

Posted by: periculum | November 2, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

peric -- those facts you state about Stan and the Lerners wanting Dunn to stay but Rizzo (and I thought your complaint was with Bowden not giving him more years) not wanting him -- can you throw us a link or something to back that up? I may very well be wrong, but I thought Bowden had to convince ownership to make the commitment to Dunn not that he stopped them from giving him more money. And if the choices were keep him and re-ink (Lerners/Stan) or trade (Rizzo) -- then why did neither camp win out?

Maybe Rizzo does not want Dunn but the only reason I would think Rizzo will do without him is becasue he thinks he can get another guy to produce at 1B more cheaply and have more coins to throw at SP needs or whatever else (needing to fit the budget which is controlled by the Lerners), no?

fpsteve -- there are about $64M reasons that Zito is going to be a Giant next year. :-) Pretty pricey innings eater. Ouch!

Posted by: dfh21 | November 2, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Zito's contract is a beast. Talk about a contract somebody would like to revisit or rework. But I thought I read in a recent post (or article) that SF had tried to make a deadline trade with the Nats involving Willingham. I agree--Zito is an innings eater. But he has a decent track record and is ordinarily a competent pitcher. I guess I went wrong in my first post where I was thinking the Giants might make some financial arrangements in order to move him. Fire sale...

Posted by: fpcsteve | November 2, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

peric,

Don't worry, I read all that and more.

You are mixing up two things: what happened 2 years ago with recent attempts to sign Dunn.

Two years ago, I'm sure Dunn would have been signed for more than two years if JimBo had received support from above. No sportswriter says that Lerner and Kasten wanted Dunn to be signed for 4 years but JimBo successfully opposed them. You can't find a link cuz there isn't one.

Toward the end of this 2010 season, yes the spin does have it that Teddy wanted Dunn signed while Rizzo was opposed to it. I saw that report. However, the organization did not get together and make a cogent decision on Dunn until it was too late. The time to have acted was last off-season. If Rizzo is given the usual minuscule budget for this off-season to work with, maybe he would prefer to add elsewhere even as he subtracts Dunn from the Nats. However, Lerner cannot get off totally without responsibility here. If Lerner had expanded Rizzo's budget, perhaps Dunn could be signed as well as others on Rizzo's wish list. Who knows? There have been no news reports on that speculation.

I do know that you don't get to be in the top three every year in MLB profits, as the Nats do, without careful planning, and disciplined adherence to small budgets. Signing Dunn might wreck Rizzo's plan to build elsewhere, given the usual small budget. But that is different than thinking Lerner and Kasten "wanted" Dunn, while Rizzo doesn't "want" him.

Posted by: EdDC | November 2, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I like Dunn and I think if we let him go we will only find ourselves looking for what he brings to the park soon after. You cant build a team if you allow your good players to go. Is dunn the type of player that can carry the nats to a playoff contender? Maybe not but I think he would be a piece of the puzzle.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 2, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I like Dunn but not for the next 4 to 6 years. His defense will only get worse and he will have to be a DH in a year or 2.

Move Derek Norris to first now that we've got Ramos behind the plate. A 2012 lineup of:

Espinosa 2b
Desmond ss
Zim
Harper rf
Norris 1st
Bernardina cf/lf
Ramos c
Burgess lf/cf
Stras

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | November 2, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Feelwood: Dunn gave us a great 2 years and I just don't get your hating on him. He pretty clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats well over halfway through the season, and he certainly should have been (or traded, at the very least). The Nats blew it. He is an excellent slugger (who strikes out a lot, duh!) a great clubhouse presence, and a fine professional. Don't know what your issue is, but it is just bush league not to wish such a pro well.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 2, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

"Dunn gave us a great 2 years and I just don't get your hating on him. He pretty clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats well over halfway through the season, and he certainly should have been (or traded, at the very least)."

Don't know where you're getting this. There have been no indications from Dunn's camp that he would accept less than a four year deal, either back in spring training, at the trade deadline, or now. Boswell, a writer many people put credence in, has said that the Nats have had a three year offer to Dunn out there since late August. He's clearly not interested in it, or he'd be signed now. So where's your evidence that "he clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats"?

Posted by: nunof1 | November 2, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Is he the best in the game? No, but let's look at Ryan Howard who the Phillies paid 19mil last year:

143g - 550ab - 31hr - 157k - 59bb - .276 - .353 - .505 - .859

Dunn:
158g - 558ab - 38hr - 199K - 76bb - .260 - .356 - .536 - .892

Better fielding %, more putouts, less errors

For the money, clubhouse presence and pure offense, Dunn is easily worth it.

Posted by: Alisterio | November 2, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn, Riggleman. Undone.

Posted by: fitzroysq | November 2, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I'll be glad when Dunn signs anywhere else and is finally in the Nats rear view mirror. As a "clubhouse presence" he has never played a single season on a team that was .500 or better. Never. That's a presence we can live without.

Posted by: howjensen | November 3, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

If the Nats do not re-sign Dunn they will just be showing the fan base how much they are not interested in winning. Dunn strikes out alot, is not the best defensively but he helps others on the team. He is a good player and teammate. The Nats need to keep players that can help them on th4e field and in the stands.

The current ownership needs to show they really want a winner in DC.

Posted by: mrcox54 | November 3, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I think the Nationals should sign Dunn without question! For one thing, he wants to stay here! Another reason is that he puts butts in the seats. There are no other players on the team that fans anticipate will hit a home run or do something positive each time up. Yes, he strikes out a lot but name me any great power hitters that don't!

Posted by: burnie4241 | November 3, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Letting Dunn get picked up by another team is a HUGE mistake. He has been a constant on this team every year talent wise, and also in regards to being a great teammate!

Posted by: mtnryda | November 3, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Nats have had a three year offer to Dunn out there since late August. He's clearly not interested in it, or he'd be signed now. So where's your evidence that "he clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats"? Posted by: nunof1 | November 2, 2010 10:13 PM

Let's say you worked for Ajax Company on a two year contract. During the last year of that contract, you have been seeking an extension, and you wanted 3 or 4 years of job security. You were getting nowhere, even though your productivity was clear to many both inside and outside of Ajax.

Then, one month before your contract was about to expire, bingo, Ajax says OK to a 3-year deal! After leaving you dangling all that time! However, by that time, you were assured that you were going to get a long-term deal from other companies because of your continued fine performance.

So you consider Ajax as an option, while waiting to see what better offers, from more successful companies, might pour through. If no one comes through, you can always fall back on good ol' Ajax.

Question: Did Ajax act like they really wanted your services? If so, why did they wait until you were just about to become a free agent? Or is Ajax just making it look good for others in Ajax who value you?

Posted by: EdDC | November 3, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to Dunn, I enjoyed him as a Nat. How bout Jason Werth in right and Morse on 1st. Throw in a "name" $tarter that doesn't act like Marquis and we can head to spring training as soon as the Super Bowl ends.

Posted by: FlaNatsFan | November 3, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn is a tremendous power hitting DH. If he has to play regularly for you in the field you are going to lose unless you have 7 other great fielders around him. He is a better firstbaseman than he is an outfielder and he is a terrible firstbaseman. Ask Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond how many errors they would have had with a competant firstbaseman for them to throw to.

I have no doubt that he was a good clubhouse guy and a joy to be around but you can't win with him putting a glove on regularly. And he will never be a truly great hitter until he learns that sometimes you need to put the ball in play. Sometimes a walk is more damaging than it is helpful. It's why Dunn's RBI numbers never match his power numbers.

Posted by: ouvan59 | November 3, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It seems that all of the Washington teams' management are the same. If the Nats don't re-sign Dunn, he'll go off and become a Hall-of-Fame player somewhere.

I guess they're (Nats) are making cap space room for Tony Gwynn. Unbelievable.

Posted by: carterm1 | November 3, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Unless you are getting a significant upgrade defensively, along with a solid bat, why wouldn't you sign him? You can always trade later if the situation warrants.

Posted by: shanks1 | November 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Nats have had a three year offer to Dunn out there since late August. He's clearly not interested in it, or he'd be signed now. So where's your evidence that "he clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats"? Posted by: nunof1 | November 2, 2010 10:13 PM"

My evidence is the same writer you cite: Boz has repeatedly said he had consistent indications that Dunn would have signed earlier in the season (or the off season) for 3 years. Dunn himself has said he wanted more than a 2 year deal, but has never said he needed more than 3. In the same article Boz reported the August offer, Boz also noted that the offer was made absurdly late, when the deal could have been done earlier. He was citing this as a screw up by the Nats. The team has botched this one, pure and simple. But hey, they were in it till the end, right?

Posted by: NatsFly | November 3, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Nats have had a three year offer to Dunn out there since late August. He's clearly not interested in it, or he'd be signed now. So where's your evidence that "he clearly could have been signed for 3 years by the Nats"? Posted by: nunof1 | November 2, 2010 10:13 PM"

My evidence is the same writer you cite: Boz has repeatedly said he had consistent indications that Dunn would have signed earlier in the season (or the off season) for 3 years. Dunn himself has said he wanted more than a 2 year deal, but has never said he needed more than 3. In the same article Boz reported the August offer, Boz also noted that the offer was made absurdly late, when the deal could have been done earlier. He was citing this as a screw up by the Nats. The team has botched this one, pure and simple. But hey, they were in it till the end, right?

Posted by: NatsFly | November 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

You know, the sad fact is that Rizzo may be better letting Dunn go, assuming Rizzo has the same tiny budget to work with. For the same money he would pay Dunn, he could get two players. Sure they would be of lesser talent than Dunn, but they could be of greater talent than what he now has in some positions. What choice does he really have to make it all work with a small budget? Blow his whole wad on a new Dunn contract?

Don't expect players like Crawford, Lee or Werth. We do have to keep low expectations, given the budget. Rizzo could always catch lightening by picking up some players with some upside who actually pan out for the Nats. The Giants and Rangers got some breaks that way. With Dunn's freed-up money, plus the money made available by Guz and Capps, the Nats can shore up their roster a little. I am not saying this is wise--it isn't. It is more like a formula for mediocrity or less. I'm just saying that if you are on a shoestring budget, this is probably what you have to do.

It is probably in Dunn's best interest to leave too, also sad to say. He will get more respect around baseball, and probably enjoy his career more, if he plays for an organization committed to winning.

Posted by: EdDC | November 3, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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