Nationals Baseball: Done is Dunn with Washington, or something like that.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Done is Dunn with Washington, or something like that.

Dunn turned down the Nats deal of arbitration yesterday. It was no big surprise, but it virtually guarantees that he won't be back for the Nats next season. For one, if he and his agent really surveyed the free agent market and thought there was no chance he could get what he wanted (which is a 4 year deal) they might have accepted arbitration. At worst it would have given Dunn a nice little one-year deal of around 15 million, and at best it would have given him back leverage in dealing with the Nats for the best 3-year deal he could get. By turning the Nats down, we have to assume that Dunn feels he can get that 4 year deal somewhere. (I agree - but not at 15 million a year. I see something closer to 4 years 50 million)

Also now Rizzo is "free". As long as arbitration was hanging over his head, Rizzo couldn't move forward because Dunn could force his way back onto the team. If Rizzo signed a random firstbaseman, all of a sudden you'd need a place to put Adam. We'd have to start talking about OF rotations and other things that make Ozzie Smith wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night clutching onto a stuffed Fredbird. With no contractual obligation to Dunn anymore, Rizzo can finally make that Carlos Pena deal that will make the 2011 Nats fans swoon once every 5 at bats. After he makes that deal there is no reason for the Nats to resign Dunn.

Dunn is gone. No matter how you slice it that's a lot for the Nats to make up.

A .264 / .378 / .533 line, with 76 homers and 208 RBIs, leading the Nats in OBP, SLG, HRs and RBIs over that period. That's also 3rd in the NL in homers, 5th in RBIs, Top 20 in OBP, and Top 10 in SLG.

Trying to encompass that into one adjusted offensive stat he had an adjusted OPS of 141, Top 10 in the league.

That's what you are trying to replace in the lineup. The fielding true, does hurt him. If we use an all encompassing stat that includes fielding, like WAR, Dunn is more of a Top 50 player the past two years... but then again that's against positions where you can really help a team with good fielding. Among first baseman he'd still be around a Top half guy overall, and last year he flashed the potential to be a top 5 guy. In other words - even factoring in the defense he's still helped the Nats a great deal in winning.

Carlos Pena can make up some ground in the field, but unless he experiences a renaissance at the plate, he's not going to match Dunn's total contribution. Anyway you slice it, with the loss of Dunn the Nats now need at least two more bats. They might be hoping that "bat" come from improvement from a young player or a comeback by Morgan. There's a chance, sure. I'd feel alot better for the team if they instead looked at a free agent OF, though.

Goodbye Adam. It's been fun. Hope you get that 4th year you've been looking for.


Anonymous said...

Your title can also imply that Dunn decided to stay with Washington

Harper said...

Change my blog post titles! But they are sacrosant! (is that the right word?) Changed - no need for any confusion.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! Yeah, you need at least two bats...

Hoo said...

I'm not worried about this at all. We can use that money to bring in that top of the rotation ace starter that was promised to us.

And they can use the money from the salary dumps, especially if W'ham and Harris goes.

Bryan said...

Why do they keep getting rid of my favorite players!?

Donald said...

I'm not sure it's 100% sure that he's leaving. Clearly, if he can get 4 years at a decent salary from a NL team, he takes it. If the decision is between 4 years from an AL team and 3 from the Nats, does he take it or not? Also, what if the choice is between 4 yrs / $50m vs. 3 yrs / $45m? I'm not sure the Nats would go that high, but they might.

Harper said...

Hoo - ok, now who is that starter going to be? Because next year's class is no more inspiring.

Bryan - they hate you. Or at least Bryans with a "y". You could make money off this though - a lot of people would pay you to buy a Nyjer Morgan jersey.

Donald - I do think he'd go 4/50 over 3/45 for that security it offers. If I'm right, the only way Dunn comes back is if it's clear in 2 weeks or so that 4 years just isn't out there AND the Nats haven't signed someone else already. I think the former is unlikely but possible. I think the latter is next to impossible. Rizzo is going to be aggressive. Said so himself.

Wally said...

It is going to be tough to replace his offense. He probably is worth more to them because their lineup has so many holes (and he is one of the few people that the 10,000 STH want to see). I still think Adam is looking at 3/$40m when all is said and done.

Agree that Rizzo will move quickly on a 1B, especially because he can't find any pitching. Although the market seems frothy in general, and I wonder if he is going to face sticker shock even for old 1Bs. Pena at 1/$5m may seem much better than Dunn's 3/$40m, but what if it is 2/$18m?

Donald said...

You are probably right, but I think it's a PR nightmare for the Nats to bring in Pena before Dunn's actually gone. It'll look like they are forcing him out which won't go over well -- particularly if he ends up then signing with another team for 3/36 or something similar that was well within the Nats reach to match.

Hoo said...

Harper: My disdainful sarcasm didn't quite translate very well. How's this: Is Randy Johnson throwing these days? He fits the mold of rehabbing former #1 starters affiliated with the D'backs.

I'm quite bitter about letting Dunn walk. I doubt the ability of the Nats to land a #1 SP and am losing hope for a real upgrade at an OF batting position. Pena + Crawford in exchange for Dunn could work for me. Pena+ Werth minus Dunn-W'ham is not so good for example.

Anonymous said...

Stats in this case lie. Buried in Dunn's stats were a lot of meaningless hits and HR's bunched together in a couple hot streaks. On an everyday basis he killed a lot of innings and scoring opportunities with ineffective at-bats. I was never confident he could get a clutch hit or keep an inning going. I could also say that for almost everyone in the lineup except Zimmerman and maybe Morse and Desmond. We need some contact hitters. Watching Bernadina's uppercut swing was brutal, as well as Pudge's double play grounders all year.

Harper said...

Wally - I do think Pena will be more expensive than Rizzo was planning but I don't think it'll deter him as long as it's a 2 year deal. (If Pena demands 3 things would get interesting)

Donald -The best PR is winning and if Rizzo feels signing Pena is part of a plan that gives the team the best chance of doing that then he'll sign him whenever. Which is what I think he thinks.

Hoo - Read it too quickly. Sarcasm was there. My fault. I've said before let's wait till the end of FA before judging Rizzo but it does seem like no meaningful offense will be added. We haven't heard anything anyway.

Anon - Last year was a bad year for Dunn with RISP, but the year before was great, and the year before that was right in line with how he did at all other times that year. That'll happen. But you have a point about Adam. Fact is - he's the type of player that will kill rallies as much as he'll blow open games. I don't see him as one that changes his approach based on the situation and I can see the appeal of that. Still, there's no way to interpret these stats and say Dunn isn't an offensive force.

Anonymous said...

Harper... On Dunn's stats it's okay to have those rally killing at bats from a slugger if his is surrounded by alot of other offense. But our whole line up was like him except without the power. I still contend that if you watch him every day, you can't be confident of him in a clutch situation. Some RISP at bats are more clutch situations than others - i.e close games vs blowouts for example. When he is going bad at the plate he misses it by a mile. And there's no sense drawing the walks, which he wasn't as good at this year, when it takes 2 or 3 hits behind him to bring him in. Those hits don't exist behind him. Also regarding the stats that lie .... I don't care what the stats say, the eyeball test says he is a terrible defensive 1st baseman. He rarely saves a ball that is not perfectly thrown to him whether it is low or high or to the side. Not sure if the stats count that as opposed to just fielded balls off the bat, but he can't reach or salvage anything on the throws.

Hoo said...

Kilgore is saying Dunn close to 4/56 for White Sox. Wow. That's a heckuva lot more than I would have guessed.

I wonder if the team could have gotten him for 4/45 this summer?

Rizzo/Nats have really, really mispriced the FA market year. Boz is crushing the team right now, with pretty good reason. And Boz notes that the odds are against Pena for rebounding in next 2 years.

Hoo said...

Dunn gone, Zim to follow:
All is not lost for us. Adam LaRoche is now a target! Our ownership sucks.

From kilgore

"I'd be disappointed for me," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "I'm very happy for him. Obviously, if he's going to go there, he's going to get a four-year deal, and that's what he deserves. He doesn't get the amount of respect he deserves for what he does every year.

"There's no question he wanted to be here. So it's unfortunate. I couldn't be happier for him that someone's recognizing his work."

Dunn's signing will force the Nationals to move on to their other free agent targets. The most likely free agent first basemen the Nationals will pursue are Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Lastings Milledge is now available. OK, we haven't sunk that far (yet).

DezoPenguin said...

And now we have Jayson Werth (good!) for 7/$126M (NOOOOOO!). I mean, that's one less OF spot to be played by Morgan/Bernadina/assorted flotsam and jetsam, but wow, overpay much?