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Adam Dunn’s offensive value

Sep 29, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Adam Dunn's bat has directly contributed to 16 Nationals wins this season.

I know just about everything has been said about Adam Dunn and his future with the Nationals, and people may be growing tired of it. Dunn himself certainly is. But I've been doing some research this morning, and I want to pass along this one final bit of information, because I think it's pertinent to the debate.

If the ultimate issue with Dunn is whether his positive offensive performance outweighs his negative defensive performance, then doesn't the question boil down to this: How many games has he won with his bat this year, and how many games has he lost with his glove?

There's no easy way to calculate the defensive question, not without going back and analyzing every defensive play Dunn was involved in over the the last 158 games. I did, however, come up with one method of evaluating his offensive contribution: How many times his offensive production has been the difference in the Nationals winning a game.

How do you figure that out? Well, I decided to look up how many times this season Dunn's RBI total was greater than or equal to the Nats' margin of victory.

The answer: 16.

Is that a lot? Is that a little? Is that average? I had no idea. So I started running the same test with some other Nationals regulars. Ryan Zimmerman has done it 10 times. Ian Desmond has done it sixRead more ยป

  1. Sam - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    I love and respect your work Mark, but RBIs? Come on…you don't have to be a sabermetrician to understand that RBIs are an extremely flawed measure. They hardly tell you anything about the player. Dunn could just have easily had 80 RBIs (see: Zimmerman, Ryan).

  2. dryw - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Mark, this might be your best analysis of the year, which is really saying something. Ok, it's a slightly fuzzy stat, but it's way beyond anecdotal and looks to me like a good blend of using data but not being defined or blinded by it. Now, how do you get Rizzo, the Lerners, etc. to read your blog???

  3. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Sam: I understand the anti-RBI argument, and I agree with it in the broader picture. But in this case, doesn't it count for something? In order to win a game for your team offensively, don't you have to drive in a run? Unless you're just the guy who gets on base and scores the game-winning run. But even then, someone has to drive you in.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    What in the Wide Wide World of Sports will it take for Nats management to grasp the fact that they MUST SIGN ADAM DUNN? Is there a way to directly contact Rizzo or the Lerners?According to Ben Goesling's "Inside Sources" actually the Lerners are the only ones in the FO who want Adam Dunn, back especially Mark Lerner.The FO sees his fielding as having a negative effect in every single game.What I don't understand is Carlos Pena? A guy hiting sub-Mendoza? Two years older? And he isn't all that great a fielder? Down in the minors your minor league player of the year may actually be a WORST fielder than Adam Dunn at first base? And there is no way he would be as productive offensively? And Marerro is even worst fielding wise. They would either have to put Morse there who should be a pretty decent first bagger or trade for a young prospect who can field? I don't get it. Sign the guy to 3 by then Beaver award winner Justin Bloxom should be ready.

  5. raymitten - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    I think the real debate is to compare Dunn with Mike Morse, who is likely going to replace Dunn in the lineup full time if Dunn leaves. Why would Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee come to the Nats over any other team? They seem unwilling to spend market value, even for players like Dunn that WANT to play here. You can compare Dunn to another FA first baseman all you want to — its unlikely anyone is going to come here at below market value. They made a great grandstanding gesture by going after Mark Teixera. He wouldn't play here over the Yankees at any cost, and there's no guarantee that anyone with a job somewhere else is going to come here either. See Hudson, Orlando. Dunn is immensely valuable to this franchise in many ways. He needs to be signed. Is it an encouraging sign that Dunn is featured in an ad for 2011 season tickets? (The ad doesn't feature Strasburg, I notice…)

  6. Sam - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Mark: It counts for something, I suppose. And the odds say that Adam Dunn is more likely to do something productive than, say, Alberto Gonzalez. Sure…so, given the situations with runners on base, Dunn is more likely to drive them in. That is, essentially, what you just told us. And that is fine.At the same time, how many of those RBIs resulted from a weak ground out to second base? Or a fly ball to right field? Outs are bad, so RBIs derived from making outs should not be rewarded (unless, say, it happened in the bottom of the 9th or later with 1 out or less). Furthermore, you are giving Dunn credit that should belong to his team mates for getting on base (as you just pointed out).As a crude measure or just a fun fact, it is useful. To say that that is Dunn's offensive value is not right.

  7. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    What don't you understand about Carlos Pena? When did the Nats say anything about Carlos Pena (maybe they did and I missed it)? Don't confuse conjectures from the fans or from the media with the Nats' plans.Oh, and it's WORSE, not WORST…both times.

  8. JaneB - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Mark, another reason to love your and your work. WHen do we sign up for a subscription for next year? Seriously. Sign Adam Dunn, absolutely. Keep Mark Z, too. I'll buy my next season of Insider as soon as you open the sales.Sam, a weak grounder to second, if it sends home a run, is the same as a sac fly or a bunt. If it's time to move the runner and eat your own stat, that's what you do. Anon at 12:12, this is good news for us. Because the Lerners write the checks. The FO doesn't. I can't believe Rizzo, a life long baseball man values defense over an offensive producer at THE POSITION you want to generate offense. But whatever.Two signings need to happen NOW. I hope the fans have influence with both.

  9. Dave - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Was going to try to add something to the analysis but could not really find what i was looking for. I would bet the run differential in Nationals Wins is much lower than the players teams you have listed, therefore easier for Dunn to be #2 in this list. But still a good indicator of his value to THIS TEAM.

  10. Sam - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    JaneB: correct. And sacrifice flies and bunts are, for the most part, unproductive. And out is an out is an out. Every batter's goal, when he steps into the box, is to not make an out. If it's not, then it should be. Outs make the game progress. Not making outs make the game last forever and give your team an infinite amount of runs.

  11. Steveospeak - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    I do agree that this might be the one exception to the RBI rule, but my guess is its not a great measure overall. I mean when Pena and Pujols have the same number and Pena might have had more opportunities (wins) but its not as though Pujols was on the Pirates. Also, RBI's aren't given in all situations. What if someone hit into a double play, but drove in what would be a game winning run. No RBI b/c of the two outs, but I'd say they were well worth it. I don't know a better measure but I agree with your premise that Dunn has positively affected more wins this year than any other National. Another reason why Dunn is so valueable (and why he gets so many extra chances) is his durability (which shouldn't be undervalued by the Nats). Dunn has played in at least 152 games every year since he has been a starter with the exception of 2003 (116). As we have seen with a number of our top players the past few years, Young, Johnson, Willingham and even Zimmerman that injuries can really set the team back. It's nice to know that Dunn will be out there pretty much every day.

  12. Dave - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Also interesting rumor i just read. Bruce Levine (espn) writes that "Adam Dunn is a top priority for the Cubs if they can afford him." We learned last month that Dunn likes Wrigley Field and Jim Hendry, but the slugger made it clear yesterday he's tired of discussing his future.Levine notes that Cubs ownership has indicated there will be a slight decrease in payroll for next year. Hendry might have to move a current contract or two to create flexibility.

  13. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    A question for the Lerners is, given Strasburg is out all next season, how much more will season tickets and game attendance drop without Dunn compared to having Dunn? Right now, people stay at the game or keep the TV on MASN to see Dunn hit in the late innings. I know whenever Dunn is about to bat, I will stay tuned to the Nats telecast until after that At Bat. This is less true with Zimmerman and not applicable for any other hitter.

  14. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Mark, why don't you use the universally accepted RAR that Fangraphs uses to measure offensive output via wOBA?Dunn is currently the 18th best offensive player in baseball with 31.8 RAR (runs above replacement) you take number and you divide it by 10 to give you 3.18 Wins on Dunn's offense alone.If I heard Dunn's defense cost the team games one more time I'm going to explode.Does anyone fact check, at all? -1.9 UZR is 1/10 of a game lost the entire season due to Dunn's defense.Those that keep saying he's terrible blah blah blah refuse to look at statistical evidence that proves without a shadow of a doubt Dunn is a capable fielder.Hell, Adam Dunn could hit at the level of Adam Kennedy and he'd still have positive value just due to the fact that he's never hurt.I'm so tired of everyone not understanding stats.Dunn's offense = Top 20 in the leagueDunn's defense = league averageDunn's worth? Top 40 player in the gameI swear if people keep believing the misleading drivel coming from Rizzo's lips, you'll soon believe Casey Kotchman is the best 1B ever to play the game.The fact that Mark even has to pose this question shows how blinded you people are by the snake oil gospel of Rizzo.It's a joke.

  15. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    I'd go after Werth. Sign him as a free agent for two years (until Harper's ready) and let Dunn walk. Play Morse at first. Wouldn't it be nice to see Morse get 500 at bats. His stats would be amazing.

  16. Steve M. - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Mark, you are right on with your RBI stat. If you divide RBIs in total runs he is above 16%. In contrast, Ryan Howard would be a 15. You do always have to look at what he is above the average which is why WAR and intangibles come in play. If Dunn was.20 higher in RISP, it would make a huge difference but as been pointed out for HR hitters, men on 1st or nobody on is a RISP on every at-bat but it never shows up as a stat that way for obvious reasons so it is looking at his stats in context.Anybody who doesn't want Dunn on their team can skew the numbers against him and trust me, like all players, he has areas to improve on like facing lefty relievers!As stated before simply, you win games by outscoring an opponent by at least 1 run for any given game. Dunn is a consistent RBI man.Dunn's WAR is 4.2 and this whole 1st base defense equation is blown out of proportion. Dunn lacks soft hands but he does have quick hands like a 3rd baseman on the hot corner. He has made some amazing reflex catches on line drives this year but missed what I recall 4 or 5 should have been caught hot shots on the ground. Carlos Pena has 6 errors this year by the way and had 10 last year. Dunn has 13 errors this year. Not a huge difference. The difference comes in those throws that bounce in the dirt which is where Dunn has to improve. I honestly believe he gets better year over year on that.

  17. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Is it an encouraging sign that Dunn is featured in an ad for 2011 season tickets? (The ad doesn't feature Strasburg, I notice…)Uh Raymitten? That's the Lerners not the FO in case you haven't been keeping track. The guys you claim are too cheap to pay market value? Needless to say I don't think that's true in this context. Yes, they want to take a frugal approach to capital risk. Must we point you to the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers who are the most efficient in terms of payroll dollars spent per win? The Rangers may have the best minor league system in the majors. Both have much lower payrolls than the Nats. Okay? And the guys up the street? Up 95? The Orioles, are the least efficient wasting millions on players and getting paltry win totals.Its about having the brains to go with the money. Something I think the Lerners are counting on from this FO. Look at the guys Rizzo hired in the last offseason. To ensure the Nats will be efficient in spending their payroll dollars. As for Dunn they should just sign the guy for 3, if he is willing to work on his fielding in Viera all winter long. They really don't have any better options cheap or expensive period.

  18. Steve M. - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Anon @ 12:47, I go after Werth with the 5 other teams that will be pursuing him aggressively, but you can't bank on getting him or Carl Crawford or Carlos Pena which is why you keep Dunn and still go after Werth since you lose Willingham after 2011 anyway most likely.Mike Morse is an extremely gifted bench player and while I think he is good as a starter, Werth would be a step up, and I am greedy so I want Werth, Morse and Dunn on this team next year!

  19. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Werth is looking for a 4 year contract. Look at Werth's age. Now tell me do you still sign him for more than 2?

  20. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Crawford (who is 28) is the only guy most teams (except for the Yankees and the Cubs) would offer a 4 year contract to.

  21. Steve M. - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Steveospeak, actually Ryan Zimmerman is clearly by all stats the #1 in WAR and clutch under pressure on this team. If 2 walk off winners and game saving defense can't prove that, the SABR stats are clear. Zim's WAR is 7.3 compared to Dunn's 4.2

  22. Feel Wood - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    There is one – and only one – debate going on now relative to Adam Dunn. And it doesn't center on his offensive or defensive worth vis a vis other players the Nationals may or may not have next year. And the only statistic that's at play in this debate is contract value. Mike Rizzo wants to sign Adam Dunn, and Adam Dunn wants to sign here. But right now the offer (reportedly three years, if you can believe Boswell) is not as high as Dunn's agent thinks he can get on the open market. Boswell seems to think that the two sides are past the point of no return, but I fail to see where he gets that. In any kind of negotiation, one side never just submits to the demands of the other. There's back and forth, and there usually has to be some impetus to bring the two sides together (or not). In the Strasburg and Harper negotiations, that impetus was the Aug 15th drop-dead date. With Dunn there is no drop-dead date, so the impetus will have to come when the open market sets Dunn's value. Either no other team will step up with a better offer than the Nationals and Dunn will be forced to accept their three year offer, or some other team will outbid the Nationals. If that happens, though, there's nothing to say that Rizzo can't counteroffer with something higher. Dunn could refuse to listen, but if he really does want to stay in DC as he says he won't do that. And there's nothing to say that Rizzo won't make a higher counter-offer if he's forced to. But until he is forced to, why should he? If Dunn signs now or on the day before spring training starts, it makes absolutely no difference to either him or the team. For all we know, Rizzo and Dunn's agent may already have a gentleman's agreement on signing Dunn, and they're just waiting for the market to open in order to establish the price. And of course if they did have such an agreement they would deny it, because announcing it would just alert the other teams to not bother bidding. (And of course all those who will now jump up to denounce this as a conspiracy theory will be the same people who were advancing this very conspiracy theory in reverse in the Nats-Teixeira negotiations.)So when it all comes down to it, all this fan angst and supposed debate over the relative worth of Dunn's defense is totally irrelevant. Unless some other team makes a totally stupid offer (a la Soriano) Dunn will be back next year. That's why neither he nor Rizzo seems very concerned about it right now.

  23. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Luckily the Cubs can't afford Dunn but they can afford Carlos Pena which is why Rizzo is mistaken if he thinks he will get 2nd best.If Dunn was still a Leftfielder I think we all would be in agreement that you let him go. The fact he did such a smooth transition to 1st base is why his stock has risen.

  24. dj in Fl. - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Well said JaneB. Thanks for the research Mark.Lets get him signed to a fair contract and then start upgrading positions where there are certainly more talented players available. We can work our way back around to first in a couple of years. Right now we have plenty more to work on.

  25. KNowITall - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    dj in FL is right that there is plenty to work on to get better for 2011. I am not a batting expert but I have played one before and I think that is a good place to start with the current roster.It is the younger guys that need a lot of work to keep them consistent. It has been painful at times watching these young guys struggle. Where is Eckstein? Working with the veterans and forgetting the young guys?Bernadina loading to early and off balance, Morse swinging with his head off the ball trying to knock the cover off of the ball with a long swing when he was slumping, JMax is just hopeless at this level, and Espinosa seems too upright in his stance and load to get to outside fastballs which has been eating him up.Desmond has shown improvement and I think Ramos is solid. My biggest concern is with Espinosa as he could be the answer needed at 2nd as he is Gold Glove in 2011 at 2nd base but he is so inconsistent at the plate and the Major League pitchers are exploiting him now and making him look bad. His stats are plummeting and it will probably in Winter Ball he needs to get back his swing.

  26. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    I am in favor of signing Dunn but to those who claim that there are no other options; let's not get crazy. I guarantee you that there are 1st basemen out there ready to make the jump to the majors who can be obtained in a trade. There are other Justin Smoaks out there and it's Rizzo's job to find an appropriate trading partner and make a deal work. Signing $15 mil free agents is not the only answer; another avenue would be to downgrade the position some but seriously upgrade at another position; it's all about allocation of resources.

  27. Doc - Sep 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Greaaaaaaaaaaat analysis MarkMeister! Your analysis gains sabermetrician credibility when you make comparisons to other players, e.g. Votto, Gonzalez, etc. I'll bet if you check it out with the Nats' FO Geek Platoon you'll be applauded.Thanks for continuing to reinforce an issue that the majority of Nats' fans support.By the way, I don't think that there is much chance of Nats signing Votto, Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, or anybody else with a Zuckerman 16 Rating!!! SIGN ADAM DUNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    What about Flores at first base?

  29. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    How about ba/slg with RISP?Morse .306/.484Sanchez .296/.484Howard .272/.481Davis .268/.449Lee . 254/.423Dunn .221/.435Now, if you were spending YOUR money on a team which is years away from being in contention, what would your decision be?AD

  30. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    You forgot someone? Willie Harris! I'm sure Riggleman would love to see his favorite guy starting at first?

  31. Steveospeak - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Steve M. I probably should have been more clear. While I fully believe that Zimmerman is the better player and a true Franchise corner stone, Dunn is the better offensive threat. Zimmerman might be a better all-around hitter, but Dunn's power puts him over the top. Zimmerman has a higher WAR but much of that comes from his exceptional defense, and harder position. Dunn is still the best offensive threat on this team. Not to mention Zimmerman has benefited a lot with hitting either in front or behind Dunn, I'm guessing opposing pitchers won't be as fearful of LaRoche or Pena.

  32. Steve - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I love Adam Dunn, but…. It's a lot like watching that other statue we used to have a second base before we traded him to Texas. My mind can't help comparing Esposito to Guzman, and then jumping to someone else compared to Adam. It's not the errors he makes, it's the complete lack of range. I know that the SABER folks say they can measure it, but I'm not sure they really do. I love Adam Dunn, but ….. Really good pitchers can throw a hard breaking pitch inside at his knees that he can not hit.Nevertheless, I hope that we can resign him at a reasonable cost.

  33. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    There are other Justin Smoaks out there and it's Rizzo's job to find an appropriate trading partner and make a deal work.These guys cost in a different. Hard to come by prospect that the Nats are just now starting to acquire and develop post-Bowden. Actually the Nats do have a Smoak? You didn't know? His name is Chris Marerro once ranked as one of the top prospects in the majors and for the Nats. He is still very young at 22. He should be ready next year. But his range and fielding at first base are actually far and away worst than Adam Dunn's. They earlier tried him in the outfield and he was a miserable failure. Yep that bad. Losing good prospects to trade for a top first baseman hurts worst than the money … and the FO knows that.No, Dunn and 3 years is by far the best, most cost effective and practical solution for the Nationals.

  34. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    it's the complete lack of range. I know that the SABER folks say they can measure it, but I'm not sure they really do. You should watch the Nats first baseman of the future Chris Marerro. And tell me if 31 year old Dunn doesn't have more range and look nimbler? And Marerro is ready for the majors at age 22 … offensively. People have to realize its going to take some time to get past the Bowden era. As it did with Cincinnati finally doing well under Jockity.

  35. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Considering that as of Monday the Nats won't be on the hook for Stan Kasten's salary (which I'd bet isn't too small), you'd think they'd have some room to make Dunn a nice offer. Maybe that's the real reason Stan "retired". He was forced into it so the Lerners would have more money for Adam Dunn….The conspriacy theories abound…

  36. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    From Section 223 – I believe that the team needs to upgrade in Right Field and lead-off hitter. I don't think Morse is an outfielder. It doesn't seem that the current infield has any problems with Dunn at 1st base and I know that Zimmerman and Willingham love hitting around Dunn. I think Dunn is getting better at starting double plays and tosses to pitchers covering first. He makes a big target for infielders and has shown the ability to make some picks off low throws. He has only played the position for a year and a half. I don't see him regressing from where he was at the beginning of the year. I would certainly sign him and concentrate on other areas for improvement.

  37. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Great column and debate. Truly interesting stuff. I think Feel Wood and Anon12:37 (or some combination thereof) are the closest to having it right, but what do I know? For what it's worth, I'd like to see him back – DC baseball needs a few more pros like Dunn – guys who love their jobs, come to work everyday, and give you their all. The Nats seem to be building up a base of players like that (Dunn, Zimm, Dezi, Espy, Straz, JZimm to name a few), so why let a cornerstone of that chemistry movement go? Pay the guy and let's enjoy his bombs for at least three more years.

  38. Steveospeak - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    "I am in favor of signing Dunn but to those who claim that there are no other options; let's not get crazy. I guarantee you that there are 1st basemen out there ready to make the jump to the majors who can be obtained in a trade. There are other Justin Smoaks out there and it's Rizzo's job to find an appropriate trading partner and make a deal work.Signing $15 mil free agents is not the only answer; another avenue would be to downgrade the position some but seriously upgrade at another position; it's all about allocation of resources."The problem with getting a guy like Smoak or Brett Wallace is you have to give up something to get them. Now while I agree there might be other options out there who could the Nats trade? Dunn is no longer an option, and Willingham's trade value took a big hit with the injury and now only being under contract for a year. If we trade a Desmond or Espinosa our team would take a serious hit. Yeah we could package a couple of minor leaguers together, but we still won't get a top guy like Smoak and I still can't believe the Jays only got Gose back for Wallace. The Nats farm system isn't bristling with depth and giving up Destin Hood and Marrero for say a Chris Carter (Marrero makes more sense in the AL), but even that might be a stretch. One option would be to package a reliever (Clippard or Burnett) with a prospect or two, to a contender next year like say the Reds for Alonzo. While it's not a bad idea Alonzo isn't exactly a middle of the order hitter, and will likely never be a 30-35 HR hitter much less a 40 a year guy. Now again it would have made sense if we got value for Dunn via prospects (to either trade some for a 1b ala what the Astros did, and/or strengthen another position or two). But losing him now getting a couple of picks who will be in all likelihood less value than what we would need to trade away for a young 1B prospect does not make sense.Also, while yeah having $15 million plus is nice, but the Nats need impact players not more role/platoon/situational guys. Adding a 2nd tier 1B lets say LaRoche, and an OF like Johnny Gomes, and a SP like Millwood is nice but really doesn't get the Nats to the promised land (also i'm guessing they couldn't get all three of those for $15 million). We already have a good chunk of change coming off our books, Capps, Guzman, Kearns buyout, etc. Yes some of it will go to increases for Zim and others including Arb. raises, but there is still plenty left to fit in the extra $3 million for Dunn (his contract had a $10 mil average, but he made $12 mil this year). With the extra money savings and by increasing payroll by another $10 million, the Nats can sign Dunn and add two additional pieces. Unfortunately it might have to be through a trade since the market is weak, but for me having that extra $15 mil looks good on paper, but thats about it.

  39. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Speaking of whom, did anybody else find interesting the announcement that MLB COO and Selig aide Bob DePuy will retire at the end of October? hmmm…—Considering that as of Monday the Nats won't be on the hook for Stan Kasten's salary (which I'd bet isn't too small), you'd think they'd have some room to make Dunn a nice offer.

  40. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    DuPuy, rather. Dang.

  41. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    Hey Mark, mind if a constant reader flips a question back to you? Imagine for a moment your last name is Lerner instead of Zuckerman (you can keep your first name). How many years and how many dollars would you go to re-sign Dunn? Where do YOU draw the line?

  42. Wally - Sep 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    I think that there is a sabre stat that tries to measure something similar, Mark. It is WPA (win probability added), which is the difference in win expectancy between the start of a play and the end of a play. I think the way it works is that they calculate the probability of a team winning a game before an at bat – let's say it is 6-5 Phillies in the 8th, and the Nats may have a 15% chance of winning according to their formula. Dunn then knocks in 2 runs, and their chances go to 65% (I am just making up these % numbers for illustration purposes). Dunn would get credit for the increase in the Nats win probability (they assign the negative value to the pitcher, I think). Anyway, they calculate that for every at bat all season (most ABs don't move the needle as much as my hypothetical, obviously). Dunn doesn't score quite as high as your RBI model, but he is still pretty darn good – 17th in all of baseball. Zim, by the way, is 14th and I think that I am right that this stat doesn't take defense into account (although I may not be).

  43. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Most of the year there were three Nats a fan would concentrate on when he came to the plate, Zimmerman, Dunn and Willingham. The rest might hit a single here and there but you were not giving them undivided attention. For most of the season, Desmond, Kennedy/Espinosa, the catcher, and the rest of the outfield a hit was a pleasant surprise. Last night's game only got exciting if Dunn came up. I was talking to the people around me when everyone else was batting because you really don't expect a bunch of .250 hitters with no power to do very much.If Dunn gone next year, it will make it that much harder to want to be at the ballpark.

  44. Another_Sam - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Did you guys hear something? The feeling here is that Dunn is gone?@JaneB – Right on, regarding AD, and MZ tool.

  45. Another_Sam - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    too. not tool. typo. LOL

  46. Sec3MySofa - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    "There's no easy way to calculate the defensive question, not without going back and analyzing every defensive play Dunn was involved in over the the last 158 games."Actually, you wouldn't need to analyze every play, just every game. I'm too lazy to go back through all those gamers, but maybe next year, assuming you're back (and if you are, count me in again), a Player/Goat of the Game stat–as many as warranted–would be instructive.Subjective, sure, but I'll take an *educated* subjectivity. Just your (or our collective) wisdom on "He won, or cost them, this game–y/n."

  47. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Anonymous said…Hey Mark, mind if a constant reader flips a question back to you? Imagine for a moment your last name is Lerner instead of Zuckerman (you can keep your first name). How many years and how many dollars would you go to re-sign Dunn? Where do YOU draw the line?Well, my name isn't Lerner, so it's of course all hypothetical. It always easier to spend someone else's money. But if it's me, I think I'd go three years and $42 million, with a club option for a fourth year. And I think Dunn would take that.

  48. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    Constant Reader again Mark. If someone else offers Dunn a fourth year guaranteed and at $56M and he goes, will you cut the Lerner's some slack? My point is that no one anywhere appears to be arguing for letting Dunn go. You've made a convincing case that he is worth keeping. But that worth has its limits. No one argues the Nats should have made the offer to Soriano that the Cubs did. If someone throws crazy money at Dunn, we'll miss him.

  49. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 29, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Of course you have to draw the line somewhere. I probably wouldn't go to four years and $56 million guaranteed. The fourth guaranteed year would scare me as a GM/owner. But if that happens, you better have a Plan B in place that you're reasonably confident will work out.

  50. Greg Finley - Sep 30, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Sure, Dunn has a lot of RBIs, but you have to ask how many ADDITIONAL RBIs he's contributing than his replacement would. In his spot in the order, he's getting more chances than anyone. If you had batted Willingham cleanup, he probably would have gotten about 80% of Dunn's total.

  51. Anonymous - Oct 8, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    Please sign Adam Dunn, otherwise my AD bobblehead will crash in value.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 85 63 -- 4
ATLANTA 75 74 10.5
MIAMI 72 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 78 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 80 16.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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