February 11, 2009

Adam Dunn is a Nat

You knew that was coming! If it was possible, Jim Bowden would drag Hal Morris out of retirement and sign him to a minor league contract. If you are an ex-Red from the period of 1995-2005, you have a second career ahead of you in Washington.

In all seriousness, I actually like this move for the Nats. It's a 2 year deal for $20 million for a guy who wanted a 6 year deal and $100 million. You get a guy in his prime who is going to be motivated to play for a better contract in a couple years when the economy turns around. Sounds like he's going to play first base, so the defense issue won't be as problematic.

Adam Dunn comes with his flaws (shaky defense and baserunning, tons of strikeouts with men on base in scoring position, and some horrific slumps that make you wonder if he will ever get another hit again), but here's what he's done in the last 5 years:

2004 - 105 runs, 46 homers, 102 RBI, .956 OPS
2005 - 107 runs, 40 homers, 101 RBI, .927 OPS
2006 - 99 runs, 40 homers, 92 RBI, .855 OPS
2007 - 101 runs, 40 homers, 106 RBI, .940 OPS
2008 - 79 runs, 40 homers, 100 RBI, .900 OPS

In other words, he's going to give you power and production for about $10 million a year. 40 bombs and a 900+ OPS. Not bad. You could say he's a poor man's Ryan Howard, but he's really more like a middle class man's Ryan Howard. He's not going to be a reliable #3 hitter or anything, but you can do worse than having a guy like Dunn somewhere in your lineup. Yea, he strikes out a ton, but he also gets on base at a ridiculous clip. If he's drawing 120 walks a year, you are going to have a bunch of guys coming up with men on base.

Now, I will guarantee that DC fans turn on Dunn in a hurry. He's an incredibly divisive player, and "old school" fans will complain about his low batting average and the strikeouts and the bad defense. I'm not going to lie that I'm happy that the Reds have moved on from the Adam Dunn era and are choosing to build the middle of the order around Votto and Bruce. But I certainly wouldn't have a problem with Dunn still being out in left field for $10 million on this current Reds team. There aren't many guys with his power in major league baseball.

Anyway, here's what the Nats look like heading into 2009:

C - Jesus Flores
First Base - Adam Dunn
Second Base - Anderson Hernandez
Third Base - Ryan Zimmerman
Shortstop - Cristian Guzman
Left Field - Josh Willingham
Centerfield - Lastings Milledge
Right Field - Elijah Dukes


Scott Olsen
Daniel Cabrera
John Lannan
Colin Balester
Odalis Perez

Let's be honest, that's an awful team that will probably be lucky to win 60 games, but they haven't had that bad of an offseason. They've added Olsen, Willingham, Cabrera, and now Dunn. You could make a case that those are their best four players now. Between Dunn and Willingham and Milledge and maybe even Elijah Dukes, they have some things to work with in that lineup. And if Zimmerman has a bounce back year, he could be a young cornerstone.

At some point, the Nats are going to have to start developing some players. Jim Bowden has been a disaster so far as the Nats GM. I don't know how he still has a job. The guy has been there for a few years, and there isn't really anything to show for it as far as young players that they've developed. I like some of his acquisitions (Olsen, Milledge, etc), but I've come to realize that Bowden is a guy who lives to acquire intriguing players but never really has a plan of action to actually win ball games.


Stan said...

As a Reds fan I could not be happier that Dunn is gone. You mention old school fans not liking him, but no one liked him.

Here is what Nats fans have to look forward to:

Dunn arrives at training camp fat and lazy. There is a decent chance he hasnt worked out since he was last seen loafing for a ball.

If there is a man on base when he is batting you can count on a strike out. This is a guy who went almost two full seasons without a sac fly.

If your team is down 11-2 because Eric Milton started that day Dunn will hit a homerun, two homeruns or maybe a grand slam.

Your manager will never know what position in the order to bat Dunn so he will hit anywhere from leadoff to 8th. This isnt Dunn's fault but it drove me crazy.

If he happens to be playing left and the ball is more than two steps either way you may as well start watching the hitter leg out his triple.

Also 10M isnt a bad deal but The Nats are going nowhere so why waste the money? Put it in the farm system or something.

Of course when Jim Bowden is running your team you can expect these kinds of things.

k said...

As a Reds fan this is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Nats fan, how are you feeling this morning knowing that Bowden has re-assembled a team that went nowhere the first time around in Cincinnati!?? What in the wide world of sports is going on here? How has ESPN not picked up on this story? Wouldn't every sports fan rather hear about a crazed GM that might be the most stubborn person in the world as opposed to the 9,542nd story about steroids? This is incredible to me that Bowden is being allowed to do this. No Pokey Reese on this team? Can the Nats pick up Barry Larkin? Let's pull the Mayor out of retirement! I might become a Nats fan this season just for nostalgic purposes.