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Hatteberg Insurance For A Dunn Trade?

There hasn't been a whole lot of activity on the trade rumor front in recent days, but I'll keep digging.  In the event that there are just no rumors to report, I'll step slightly outside of the rumor realm to talk about contracts, analyze teams, and whatever else suits my baseball fancy.  I hope you continue to engage in discussion here and check out the site daily.

Anywho, Buster Olney had a thought this morning in his blog that definitely had not occurred to me:

"The first thing I thought of when I saw the Reds had signed Scott Hatteberg was that now Cincinnati has protection in the event they decide to move Adam Dunn in a deal for pitching."

In reference to Hatteberg's role, new Reds GM Wayne Krivsky remarked, "The playing time will take care of itself."

One can certainly question whether Hatteberg could serve as even a league average regular first baseman in Dunn's absence.  He hit .256/.334/.343 last year in 464 ABs.  There's a chance Hatteberg returns to the .780 OPS level, but that's still well below the .843 mark posted by the average NL first baseman in 2005.

The Reds led the National League with 222 HRs in 2005 but had a league-worst 5.15 ERA.  The need for pitching is manifest.  In an Orange County Register article this morning, Randy Youngman mentioned that the Reds are rumored to be interested in free agent Jeff Weaver.  However, the Angels are the only known team with an offer currently on the table.

As far as free agent starting pitching goes, the options are grim outside of Weaver.  Some possible retreads for the Reds:  Pedro Astacio, Kevin Brown, Jose Lima, and Jamey Wright.  Only a year removed from 130 solid innings for the Yanks, I still think Brown is worth a look.  But he's neither reliable nor a long-term solution.  That brings us to the idea of trading Dunn for starting pitching.

Dunn becomes a free agent after the 2007 season, so the Reds shouldn't be in any big hurry.  It's well known that the Astros hope to lure him to his hometown, as Houston has already gone to great lengths to "butter him up."  The Reds have not discussed a multi-year deal with Dunn. 

Dunn was worth 6.9 wins last year despite playing with a broken hand.  He was the fourth-best left fielder in baseball last year according to WARP, above Hideki Matsui and Manny Ramirez.  Ranked as a first baseman, Dunn probably should be grouped with Carlos Delgado and Richie Sexson.  A brief comparison would indicate that Dunn is due for a four-year, $52MM contract.  However, he's at least five years younger than any of the aforementioned players. 

Assuming the Reds are looking for affordable starting pitching with potential, which teams have the need for power and could part with a starter?

I'd say the Braves might make a play, given that they could part with Jorge Sosa and Chuck James to add Dunn.  But the club seems content with LaRoche/Langerhans/Johnson manning the 1B/LF spots, and that's worth a shot.

Would the Twins deal from their strength and send Scott Baker to the Reds?  Doesn't seem like their style.  Dunn would probably be out of their price range, though he'd be a huge upgrade over Shannon Stewart.

The Orioles could consider shipping off Erik Bedard or Daniel Cabrera to add Dunn, but they're not exactly pitching-rich right now.  Such a trade would create a new problem for the O's.

Jake Westbrook is expendable, but the Indians would have to include Adam Miller or Jeremy Sowers as well.  This could be a trade that could help both teams, in my mind.

The Jays could give up Gustavo Chacin, but the Reds would likely ask for Dustin McGowan in any deal.  Top pitching prospects of this nature are rarely traded, though it would fit Ricciardi's "win now" plan.

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Comments

could the yankees trade wang for dunn? he pitched well last year in the spotlight, and he has a heavy, heavy sinker that should bode well for a homerun park like Cincy

I know Wang has had some success in a limited trial, but I think the Reds would be looking for a better prospect. Plus Wang's health is in question.

What about the Red Sox Tradeing a couple of their starting pitching matt celment and possible a mid level prospect. That would create a log Jam at frist/Coner Outfield but they could trade Trot moving him to the reds in the deal or somewhere else. But That would be one hell of a middle of the lineup Dunn Ortiz And ManRam.

Dunn wouldn't be a bad fit for Atlanta except he'll probably be out of the Braves range when he hits the free agent market.

I would think the reds would want more Than baker for Dunn. While Dunn is exactly what the twins need they are maxed out on payroll right now. As a Twins Fan i would Love Move but We'd only have him for one season while baker could be a really good 3-4 starter for 6 more years and Radke is probaly going to retire after this season and with him and loshe gone after this season we would be short on expirance with Francisco Liriano, and baker we would have at least one more good starter between them. that being said I'd would do it if we had the payroll.

The Cardinals have some pitching lying around, but as nice as that would be, I don't see it happening mainly because of an "in the division" thing and the Reds will no doubt ask for more than Jockety is willing to part with.

Cool blog Mike. I think it'd take Anthony Reyes, and the Cards would regret that.

Seeing that Griffey is getting older would Cincy and the Chisox be interested in something along the lines of:
Contreras, Brian Anderson and Casey Rogowski for Dunn?

if i were the orioles i'd offer up bedard and some combination of prospects (florintino maybe?) but i wouldn't be looking to deal cabera

I think Reyes and another prospect for Dunn is a good deal for STL if they think they can resign Dunn. Reyes was mediocre in college, has pitched well in the minors, but has health issues, and with LaRussa's unwillingness to let young pitchers work, Id have to think it will be a year or two before Reyes really gets a chance. Dunn, if he can be resigned is an elite player at either 1B or OF. That said, if hes a two year rental, youd have to think about who the other prospect in the deal is.

The only proposal that makes any sense out of those is the one with the Braves- not because I think the Braves would deal for him, but because it is the only trade remotely close to what Dunn will bring in a trade. I see the Dodgers and Angels as the most likely Dunn destinations.

Care to elaborate on why the other proposals aren't remotely close to proper value?

How about the Red Sox? Clement,Youkilis and Delcarmen for Dunn?
Sounds like a Great Trade for both teams

I dont know steve the Reds want a front of rotation guy. Clement is a 3 or 4 pitcher, Youkilis is nothing special, hes not really a top prospect but he also hasnt established himself, and DelCarmen is a bullpen guy. I think the Reds would be better off taking a deal from someone like the orioles where they get a potential front of the rotation guy

Not sure what they can get for Dunn. I don't know of a lot of teams that have deep top-of-the-rotation guys available. The O's would be silly to trade any pitching as that's their biggest need. Maybe the White Sox if they are willing to deal McCarthy but by KW has said he isn't going anywhere. Boston maybe but they look old and fragile in the rotation.
I'm not sure if the Cubs have anything the Reds would want. The Reds organization should make the rest of the off-season fun to watch.

I think the Dodgers should push for him they need a power bat in LF and Werth could be out half a season put Werth on the 60 day and let Dunn take his spot,Think about money and the Red maybe a Soe and Choi for Dunn and Wilson would work,Dodgers get a start back and the power outfield they need or a Dunn and Wilson for Soe, and two farm hands that you don't need to add to the roster

moore I believe you are undervaluing Dunn. He is easily one of the top 5 left or right fielders in the game. At first he is still top 10. I feel like a trade for Dunn would have to be something like Derek Lowe and a low prospect for Dunn.

Being a long time Reds fan who keeps up on things very closely with the Reds I don't see Krivsky giving up Dunn unless he gets a number one or two starting pitcher who can help right now. I think the Braves or Dodgers would have the best bet getting Dunn.

I would trade Lowe and a low farm play or even a Choi,Brazoban and O.Perez for Milton,Dunn and wilson.That would give the dodgers a power hitter and still have a starter and that would give the Reds a Starter that is made for the red and a closer and first basemen and they would save a little money to go after weaver or someone else in trade..

Let's all get a hold of ourselves people. A young power hitter like Dunn doesn't come along too often. Only the top of the top SP prospects would be able to get him right now. This is a guy who, barring injury, is a lock for 550 non-steroid induced HRs in his career. It would take Liriano and another player or something in that range. Dunn is at an age where he should be in his 2nd year in the league, but he is already a consistent 40 HR guy. Just b/c Cincy is starving for pitching doesn't mean they'll give him away for Derek Lowe or Matt Clement.

I agree entirely with Ed. The Reds won't trade Dunn for overpriced #3 or 4 starters like Lowe or Clement. But I also don't think they need someone who necessarily helps right away. If the Braves wanted to give up James or Davies in a package, or the Dodgers Ohioan Chad Billingsley in a package, a deal could get done (no pun intended). I think it's at least 50-50 the Reds move Dunn before the end of spring training, for young prospects that include at least one future #1 or #2 starter.

Thank you Ed, At least someone else realizes the potential that Dunn can provide a team. I am hoping Krivsky Locks Dunn up for like 4 or 5 years at lesat. Even though we still have another good outfielder coming up in AAA. Defenria or however you spell his name.

I agree with previous posts - Dunn is worth a true #1 ace type pitcher. He's had back-to-back 40 HR/100 RBI/100 BB seasons. Although he doesn't hit for a high average, he does get on-base at a very good rate. He's still a few years away from his "prime" years - he'll bring more than a high priced veteran starting pitcher.

By the way, Dunn just signed a 2 year contract with a 3rd year option. $7.5 million in 2006, $10.5 million in 2007, $13 million option in 2008 with $500K buyout.

And what if Hatteberg is just low cost insurance against Dunn having to go back to the outfield to cover the annual injury to Griffey, the trade of Pena or Kearns' next sub-.200 April?

The Lowe or Clement proposals, or anything of that nature (a 3 or 4 guy for Dunn), are not going to happen - that's the type of trade you'd see on the Xbox with "realistic trades" disabled, not in real life.
Dunn is a superstar, though he strikes out way too much and hits for a low average. A team will have to part with someone very promising or already established as an ace to get Dunn.
I agree with some of the comments here in which it is indicated that the Hatteberg trade is insurance for an injury in the OF or to cover for the trade of Pena or Kearns - not for a trade of Adam Dunn.

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