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What teams are in running for Dunn?

Dec 1, 2010, 9:12 PM EST

Nearly one month into the offseason, the market for free agent Adam Dunn remains unclear. The Nationals have had a three-year offer on the table since midsummer, but Dunn has been seeking a four-year deal. To date, no club has acknowledged making a four-year offer to the 31-year-old slugger.

Complicating matters is Dunn’s stated desire not to be a designated hitter at this stage of his career. Most American League general managers view him as a below-average first baseman and left fielder and would sign him only if he served primarily as a DH.

After a quiet November, the Dunn Derby may be about to get into full swing. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics met with Dunn at his Houston home yesterday, throwing their name into the mix. (UPDATE AT 4:34 P.M. — The Chronicle now says that report was false and the A’s did not meet with Dunn yesterday.) Several more clubs figure to speak to Dunn’s agent, Greg Genske, at next week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando.

Which teams are legitimately suitors for Dunn, and which ones don’t really make sense? Read my article at to find out.

  1. Knoxville Nat - Dec 1, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    $40 million over 3 years with a club option in year 4 at $10 million or a $2 million buyout sounds good to me. Git it dunn Rizzo!!

  2. DC Tom - Dec 1, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    I posted in the prior thread how I didn't think that a 4th year is all that big of a deal. If the average regular 1B salary in 2014 is $9.4 million, paying $12M for Dunn in 2014 is not really a ludicrous salary. It's a risk, but it's also a risk to go with flavor-of-the-year 1B for the next four years.Good summary article, Mark. I had not really considered the Rangers to be a suitor, but it makes sense, especially if they lose Lee to the Yankees. And while prefers the NL, how could you not be tempted by a World Series team…in that ballpark…in your home state…and one that likely could give you some at least semi-regular playing time commitment?

  3. Stranded_in_Philly - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Hey Mark, I've heard rumors about teams considering trades for Ian Desmond, and the Nats maybe considering flipping him for quality starting pitching with similar contract years remaining… any word on that?

  4. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:14 PM

    Stranded_in_Philly said…Hey Mark, I've heard rumors about teams considering trades for Ian Desmond, and the Nats maybe considering flipping him for quality starting pitching with similar contract years remaining… any word on that?Desmond's name has certainly come up in trade talks, and I believe several teams have inquired about him. The Nats are by no means looking to move him or are actively shopping him. But any package for a frontline starting pitcher is probably going to include either Desmond or Espinosa. Just a matter of whether the return would justify trading away either of those young infielders (plus others who would surely be part of a deal like that).

  5. JD - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    I think including Desmond in a key trade makes sense because I think Espinosa has equal range but plays a cleaner shortstop then you can bring in Orlando Hudson for a couple of years at second. For a real quality pitcher like Garza or Greinke I would include Desmond, Willingham and any roster pitcher not named Zimmermann or Storen. If that gets it done I am for it.

  6. Adam Dunn's agent - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    "DC Tom said…I posted in the prior thread how I didn't think that a 4th year is all that big of a deal. If the average regular 1B salary in 2014 is $9.4 million, paying $12M for Dunn in 2014 is not really a ludicrous salary."Sorry, dude. The bidding for Dunn's fourth year starts at $15 million. And for that, you also have to buy the first three years at $15 million each. Of course, you can pay more than that if you want.

  7. Doc - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    Pitcher health is too unpredicable(Hi there Jason Marquis!). Besides, Rizzo never seems to know what he's getting.Trading young productive position players, who are in the lineup every day, for one of 'em—nada! Go Desi! Go Espi!

  8. Anonymous - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    Decembre 1st : My prediction : Adam will sign with the Nats, no doubt about that. Rizzo is playing his cards very well.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Mark, could you tell exactly what is on the table for Dunn from the Nats?Is it 3yr/$30mil or 3yr/$36mil?I wonder why the club and Dunn can't agree on a optional 4th year based on performance. Let's say, the 4th year automatically kicks in if Dunn averages +35HR's/+.850 OPS over the first 3 years.

  10. JayB - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    Anyone hear Bob Boone on XM with Jimbo… it any wonder this team is going now where….Boone is working at his Carpet Store in the off season…it this the 1950's or what…..I would think the Asst VP under Rizzo would have something better to do right now leading up to Winter Meetings? Mark what does Boon do? He had no clue what was going on and did not seem to be embarrassed in the least that he could not answer any questions about MLB or Farm system. Nice Job Jimbo time to fire your last link to this mess.

  11. JayB - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Best two lines were, "Ian Desmond made some errors"…..Really like the most in Baseball by a wide margin…the most in baseball in years….and while laughing at himself he listed off every area expect Bull Pen where the team needed major improvement and then admitting nothing was likely to happen to change those needs this off season….Nice Work Rizzo.

  12. Stranded_in_Philly - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    Thanks Mark!And I agree with JD. I think Desmond's value is a little inflated here in DC. He is a solid player, and according to the organization, brings good intangibles, but his numbers and his occasionally erratic arm and glove wouldn't play starting short stop on a lot of deeper major league teams. Starting pitching is always in style, and if a team is willing to give up a big name for Desi and a few others, it could be worth considering.

  13. Anonymous - Dec 2, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    Anyone hear Bob Boone on XM with Jimbo… it any wonder this team is going now where….Boone is working at his Carpet Store in the off season… JayB,My impression is that Boon isn't in charge of anything. He is more like one of those sets of veteran roving eyes (see Davey Johnson, Phil Rizzo, and recent hire Bob Schaefer). Perhaps he is favored by ownership? If you hear Roy Clark, Doug Harris, or Mark Scialabba spouting to Bowden let me know. Otherwise, Boon is like listening to your favorite FO management type Stan Kasten.

  14. JayB - Dec 2, 2010 at 2:28 AM

    Take a look at Boz…he woke up and worse he sounds like me….I expect some bashing of Boz from you all…..could I be right after all about this team and the "expect success" crap they are feeding us this of season being the same crap as the past "hot" stoves?

  15. Wally - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:08 AM

    Yeah, Boz let it rip today. I mostly agree with him, but he does come off as particularly PO'd that they are letting Dunn walk than anything else (he also now says that the offer to Dunn was 3/$35m, not $30m).I think some folks are underselling Desmond. Just based on numbers alone, he was 17th in WAR, 13th in OBA and 12th in OPS among shortstops last year. When you factor in contract and controllable years, I think that he is one of the 10 most attractive SS in the game (Tulo, Hanley, Drew, Andrus, Castro, A. Ramirez and Reyes (maybe – only 1 yr left at $11m) are the only ones that clearly come ahead of him when you take contract and controllability into account). And there is good reason to think that he will improve on his numbers, since that was his MO at each level in the minors once he adjusted to the level. And as for the D, which is understandably a big criticism, I still would rather have a SS that gets to 25 extra groundballs a year, even if he airmails 10 of them into the stands. That is still 5 extra outs from your typical SS, plus there has to be some hope that he can do better than 10 airballs.

  16. Corey - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:12 AM

    I know there are contract issues and other "beneath the surface" factors that do not make this an 'apples to apples' comparison, but let's have some fun. With all things being equal and if they are only sold as a packaged deal, which LF/1B combo would most like to have on South Cap for the next 3-5 years?Willingham and DunnorCarl Crawford and Carlos Pena

  17. Anonymous - Dec 2, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    LOL! As if we had those choices! Might as well pick Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.

  18. Anonymous - Dec 2, 2010 at 7:14 AM

    I mean seriously! They are not signing Dunn. They won't re-sign Willingham (and you all know it even though I will get flamed). Crawford has better options, like Anaheim. And as a guy on Boswell's column wrote, Pena didn't wake up and say, "Hey I feel like playing for a perennial loser for a few years." He needs to be out of options with the other teams first. How about a better scenario, over/under on an Andy LaRoche and Bernadina combo for the next three years. I think there is "value" in LaRoche.

  19. Anonymous8 - Dec 2, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    Is Jim Bowden with the Arizona Diamondbacks? I am joking of course but you would think so when the Diamondbacks signed Minor League contracts with Luis Ayala and Wily Mo Pena. If they sign Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns it will be like a Nats reunion over there!

  20. Sunderland - Dec 2, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Wally, I like your take on Desmond.He has range, for sure. In 2010 he had about 80 more "Chances" than Hanley, in 9 fewer innings.Is it a stretch to think he can cut down on the errors next year and play a solid shortstop, with better range than most? Especially if he is paired up with a good, everyday 2B?(BTW, I think Riggleman hosed Desmond last year by giving him rotating 2B's to play with, one of whom who had never played 2B before, especially knowing that he had an underperforming 1B as well. No wonder our fielding was lousy.)

  21. Jeeves - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Good post re Desmond, Wally. I took his offensive stats and projected them so they were equal to all other shortstops. As you pointed out, the only shortstop in the Al who was better was Ramirez. Except for OBA, of course. But even there, Desmond did much better after the all-star game. In the NL, Ramirez, Reyes, Tulowitski, Drew, Furcal (extending his stats to equal Desmond's) and Gonzalez had better stats. It was both, by far, Drew and Gonzalez's best offensive year, Fucal is older, injured a lot, and the other three are considered top position players in all of baseball.Re defense–Obviously, Desmond has to cut down on his errors, but he has the tools, and the enthusiasm. And he did cut down on those errors in the second half. He should be a big part of the Nat's future, unless the Nats are overwhelmed and Greinke, a pitcher they would have for only two years does not overwhelm. Ramus, McCutchen, L Morrison–those are the type of players to trade Desmond (as part of a package) for.

  22. Sunderland - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Two days ago, JayB gets ripped for wondering aloud if the Nats are acting too slow this offseason.Today Boz pretty much writes JayB's column.Let the ripping of Bowell begin.

  23. Wally - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Jeeves – I agree with you about what kind of player to target if they trade him. Said more simply, Desi projects as a 2-3 win player for the next few years (with a slight improvement either offensively or defensively) and some Non-zero chance of being higher. It looks like a win is being valued around $5m in today's market. So Desi will add $10-15m of 'value' while making $400k ( for each of the next two years before getting to arbitration). Reyes, to use an example, is clearly a better player, but he is making $11m and only under control for one more year. So if he brings back a 5 win season, that is $14 m in value for some team, but the ability to absorb a downside 3 win season, that is 'only' $4m of team value, is limited. And you don't have him beyond that year. So Desi is a great value for a GM, with a lot of room to absorb a negative playing variance and still add positive value. As a gm building a team for next year and beyond, which SS would you rather have? So he should have a high trade value. He also has a lot of value for us,( plus i really like watching him play!) Not enough to get a Greinke or Rasmus by himself, but enough to be a large component. Rizzo shouldn't trade him for some mediocre guy.The reason for trading him, if Rizzo is so inclined, is that his pre-arb years are really what are most valuable, and you can trade two this offseason. If someone recognized that, and you really felt Espy could handle SS, and gave you something similar in terms of value but in a pitcher (Garcia from STL or a blue jay starter?), then you are trading from surplus to balance your team.

  24. Phil dunn - Dec 2, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Even Bos has finally figured it out–that the Lerners are clueless and they are cheap. That's a lethal combination.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    As someone who gets to talk to both Bob Boone and Davey Johnson on occaision, I can tell you neither one of them are decision makers and act only as advisors and consultants. All baseball operational announcements come from Rizzo.And Bob Boone would never provide Jim Bowden with any meaningful information after the Jose Rijo fiasco. He wants to maintain a proper distance from him professionally.

  26. Corey - Dec 2, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I didn't say that the F.O. would sign either of the Willingham/Dunn or Crawford/Pena combo…what I was asking is if we could choose, which one of the two would you prefer.

  27. raymitten - Dec 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Boz is railing pretty much about Dunn. And on that point, he's right. They can save a year on the contract, and a few million dollars, and from that aspect, Rizz and the Nats seem to be playing their cards right. But they've lost some good will from the player and from the fans that they could have gained by offering Dunn a reasonable extension LAST offseason, or early in '10. And, of course, the gamble isn't over and they could lose Dunn entirely and end up with Mr. Excitement, Adam LaRoche. That's not exactly going to create a buzz around the team, is it?

  28. JD - Dec 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    If you don't think 2 years of Greinke are worth Desmond+ then you are not paying attention. San Francisco won the world series with a crappier lineup than the Nationals but with 3 stud starters. You have to get to a point when the top of your rotation is Strasburg, Zimmermann+ and not 'contact' pitchers like Livo and Lannan. I am not under valuing Desmond and I understand that his pre arbitration value is large but you have to give something up to get quality and pitchers like Zack Greinke don't grow on trees.

  29. Donald - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Greinke said that he wants to play for a team that has s chance of winning. That kinda puts the kabosh on the Nats, I think.

  30. Feel Wood - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Boswell has this totally audacious statement in his column this morning:"But, for the Nats, several of their best opportunities may already have passed. Not only did they miss signing Dunn in July, when he might have grabbed the same three-year, $35 million deal that he spurned when it was finally offered in the season's final week, now it looks like the Nats misread November's fireworks, too."Leaving aside the fact that the three year offer was made to Dunn in July or earlier (as confirmed by other journalistic sources such as Ladson and Wood) and not in the last week of the season as Boz claims, and also notwithstanding that only recently Boz was reporting $30M and now all of a sudden he says $35M, Boswell would have us believe that Dunn would have offered the Nats a hometown discount to sign last July. Given that Dunn's agent has set the starting point for his FA negotiations at 4 years / $60M, that would require a hometown discount of one year in contract length and 25 to 30 million dollars in cash. Really, Boz, you think Dunn would have given the Nats that kind of hometown discount if only they'd offered it to him nicely in July instead of September? If you believe that, then there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

  31. phil dunn - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    FYI, Bob Boone is listed as second in command of "Baseball Operations" for the Nats with the title of "Assistant GM & VP, Player Development". His name currently appears right under Mike Rizzo's on the organization chart. If he is augmenting his income by selling carpets over the winter, that speaks volumes. Further, if he wanted to maintain a proper distance from Jim Bowden because of the DR fiasco, as NatsJack asserts, why did he agree to be interviewed by Bowden on his XM Radio program.

  32. JD - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Donald, Using the points I made above; if you can convince Greinke that he would be part of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Greinke, Cole and if you can point out to him what the Giants were able to do with Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Baumgartner he may find this rather interesting; then again he may not. Who knows.

  33. JD - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    One more thought regarding the Dunn situation. This year's draft is considered enormously deep both quantity wise and quality wise; it may just be that the 2 extra picks make more sense to Rizzo than keeping Dunn. If you feel that we are still a couple of years away from contention then this isn't too crazy a thought; this may be why Rizzo didn't do the trade for Hudson at the deadline.

  34. erocks33 - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Without having the time to look this up myself, can someone verify whether or not Dunn had stated during Spring Training that he wanted to re-up before the season started and that he *wouldn't* negotiate during the season? I seem to recall him saying this and if he did, then why all the hub-bub about the Nats not inking him to an extension in July? Again, if he did say this, then Boz (and others) should be more upset that nothing was done in March … remember, it takes two (to make a thing go right). It takes two (to make it outta sight).

  35. JayB - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    Phil,You make just too much sense….Njack is correct that Boone has no power or influence but then again neither does Rizzo really. Profit is all the influence the Lerners need or want. Njack…it is cool to hang around camp and talk with these guys…they are very approachable…I too have done that each Spring…..but Phil has a good point about Boone and his choice to go on XM and the Job title is not consultant….what a joke that Nats VP is selling carpet in the winter….perfect.

  36. JayB - Dec 2, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Rizzo did not trade Dunn for Hudson at the deadline because Lerner and Stan vetoed the deal….per Boz back in August or Sept as I recall.

  37. Dave - Dec 2, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.





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