Nationals Baseball: Dunn, the only man on the Nats with a glove.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dunn, the only man on the Nats with a glove.

At least that's how it feels sometimes. I was perusing Bill Ladson's Off-Season Blog Saver (aka him answering questions from his inbox) and the first couple pertain to Dunn and his fielding. I agree, it is bad. True, it wasn't terrible last year, but it could easily be terrible in 2011. But why have the Nats singled out replacing Adam Dunn as a cure for all their defensive woes? Well for them it's easy, they don't want to give him as long a deal for as much as he wants, but why does everyone else feel that way? Here's a quick list of the Nationals that were good in the field last year: Ryan Zimmerman. Here's a longer list : RRRyyyyaaannnn Zzzzimmmmeeeerrrmmannnn. (Ok Danny Espinosa looked pretty good but he barely played). If the Nats want to be GOOD in the field just flipping Dunn for a Derrek Lee won't be nearly enough.

Other things from Ladson's column

He equates the Dunn situation to the Soriano situation after 2006, and they do have a lot in common. Both featured a 30yr old low-average, high-power, bad-fielder that K's a lot looking for a long-term deal. However there are important differences. Soriano was coming off his best year ever and a year that was an outlier in comparison to his most recent 2 years. Dunn is coming off a typical Dunn year right in line with 7 of his past 8 years. Soriano was putting his glove in a far more exploitable position than Dunn. Soriano was going to get PAID, where as Dunn is looking for that extra year at a fair salary. In short Dunn is better at the plate, cheaper in the pocket, and willing to be hidden in the field.

A Ladson reader wants to know how "Dunn's errors outweigh his offensive production". The important thing to remember is that they don't. They lessen the overall value of Dunn, but they don't turn the positive asset that Dunn is, into a negative one.

Ladson drops this shocker (stop sipping that drink while your boss is standing right in front of you!)
Rodriguez believes that he has a least four more years as an everyday player
(I warned you! Now look at your boss! He's completely covered in your spit take!). I'd believe this if it was about ALEX Rodriguez. If it weren't for the name, Pudge Rodriguez would actually have NEGATIVE four years left as an everyday player. Next year he should be no better than a 30-40% time back-up to a young catcher a team hopes to develop and it's not going to get better as he gets older. You aren't Benjamin Button, Pudge. (I actually think your life would make an enjoyable movie)


Hoo said...

I can't tell which is a bit more depressing to me this offseason. The dumping of Dunn or the idea that the Nats have enough pieces to get a #1 starter in a trade (or that they want to trade for a #1). Trading for a #1 only works if the Nats think they're 1 or maybe 2 years from the playoffs. But that seems wishful thinking as the players traded are projected to fill key spots in any 2012 or behind playoff scenario.

One thing that does intrigue me is what the Nats do with Flores. His comeback is progressing and what happens to him in the spring? Keep him on injured reserve through part of the year? Then Nats cut Pudge for Flores/Ramos in July? Trading Flores doesn't make much sense given that he's really damaged goods. But if he returns suddenly the Nats have a bounty of catcher with 3 big prospects.

Harper said...

I think the latter fits into the former. If Flores does well, it makes Derek Norris more expendable. If Derek Norris keeps impressing in the Fall League it helsp solidify him as an anchor piece in a deal for a #1. It'll take more sure but for both Law ans Sickels he was around the 20th best hitting prospect last year. About 5-10 of the guys above him have moved into starting roles so with a good fall he just might be a top 10 hitting prospect, despite the injury riddled 2010.

Hoo said...

Norris is the best tradeable asset given ability and others in the Nats system. But there will be several other pieces that the Nats will have to replace through the FA market.

On another note, I'm swinging through NC shortly and didn't you post on NC BBQ once? (basically going from Raliegh to Charlotte via Chapel Hill)

Bryan said...

Hoo - If the Nats get a #1 (say Lee) and Stasburg comes back as himself, and one of the youngish propect arms pans out, I'm not sure how the Nats are all that different from the Giants.

Would they need serious luck in getting every single every day player to over perform or hit the average? Sure.


Wally said...

I agree with your ultimate conclusion that improving Dunn's defense at 1B doesn't materially alter the Nats overall defensive ability, and so it really is a red herring to some degree I don't, though, agree that Zim is the only one currently good. NoMo wound up with a positive UZR last year even with his high profile screw ups, and his average UZR over last 3 years is quite good (admittedly with some LF in there). Pudge/Ramos appear good also, and there is every reason to believe that Espy's D will translate well to the pros. Even Hammer was trending up. Desi is the wild card. The stats don't like him, but my eyes did, putting me in a tough spot.

But your main point that 1B defense doesn't matter that much is spot on.

Harper said...

Hooo - sure did. in fact there is a whole unfinished blog about it (this actually pushed me to try to finish it this weekend

Are you starting from Raleigh or RDU? I assume your path is pretty much I-40 then I-85, right?

Bryan - Even if that happens, they still (currently) don't have the balance in the lineup that the Giants did. It could pan out of course, if Desmond and Espinosa play about average, Morgan picks back up, Ramos plays virtually full time and is at least average. But right now there is still the possibility of multiple holes. (Plus their bullpen was killer)

Wally - the D it COULD be good next year, for all the reasons you state, but then again it should have this year. Until they are sure they've put good D in almost every position they can't say that they are focusing on D. I will agree that Morgan and Espinosa should both be good next year. If Desmond picks up then that soldifies the middle of the field which is the most important thing