Rizzo Optimistic About Dunn Extension

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MASN's Ben Goessling yesterday that extension talks with Adam Dunn's agent Greg Genske are "amicable and upbeat."  The two sides have met since the beginning of Spring Training.  Rizzo does not consider Opening Day a hard-and-fast deadline.

Dunn, 30, hit .267/.398/.529 in 668 plate appearances for the '09 Nationals, logging 540 innings at first base and 685 in the outfield.  He's set to earn $12MM as he enters the second year of a two-year contract.  In the opinion of Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, a three-year, $40MM extension would be a win for the Nats. 

Rizzo spoke very fondly of Dunn to MLB.com's Bill Ladson in February, even suggesting the slugger has a shot at the Hall of Fame.  Rizzo said Dunn will work hard to become an average defender at first base.

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23 Comments on "Rizzo Optimistic About Dunn Extension"

5 years 5 months ago

Dunn in the Hall of Fame? Dunn?

5 years 5 months ago

Sure why not? He has a good chance of 500 homers even 600.

5 years 5 months ago

He’s the baseball equivalent of a donkey that can kick field goals.

5 years 5 months ago

and he’s an on-base machine.
but I do quite enjoy your comment

5 years 5 months ago

This will be a terrible move by the Nats

5 years 5 months ago

I’m not sure what you base that on other than the “lol he should be a DH” stuff so many people say. You have to bear in mind that the pre-eminent free agent 1Bs are doubtful to sign with the Nationals versus other franchises — they made Teixeira quite an offer, remember? — because of the desire to contend. To my knowledge, they do not have a superstar 1B prospect waiting in the wings. And furthermore, Dunn is a perennial .400 OBP/40HR/100+RBI candidate whose monstrous power draws interest from fans.

As long as the dollars are not exorbitant — I expect they’ll be substantial — this has the potential to be very good for Washington.

5 years 5 months ago

The homerun he hit at CitiField last year has not yet landed.

5 years 5 months ago

You can’t simply dismiss his defense. He gives back on defense almost as much as he takes on offense. He’s been a sub 2 WAR player for the past few years. There are tons of guys that provide better overall value that can be had at a fraction of the price.

Dunn’s true value is offense. He has to be a DH in order to justify his presence in the lineup. Otherwise his net value is way too low.

Aside from that, the Nats have no business in spending this kind of money on anyone. It’s a total waste. With Dunn or without Dunn the Nats are a sub 80 win team. The only tangible difference is $12m less you have in your bank account. As for Dunn putting people in their seats … I doubt it. He certainly did not have that type of impact in Cincinnati or Phoenix.

The Nats won’t be contending for the next couple years under the most optimistic projection systems. Signing big dollar deals to aging veterans is not the way to go. Want proof – go look at the disaster that is the Houston Astros.

5 years 5 months ago

Dunn’s defense in the OF is atrocious, nobody’s denying that. I’m confident he’d be much higher than a 2 WAR player if all of those innings had been logged at 1B, if only because he’d be able to devote all his effort to improving defense at one position rather than three.

5 years 5 months ago

This isn’t always true, certainly, but there’s a REASON that the “lol he should be a DH” thing is said by so many people, sabermetricians and scouts alike.

More importantly than his defense, though, is that, with the state the Nationals are in, signing Dunn will not only be of no help, but will set the Nats back quite a bit of dough that could be better spent on young players. If they spend $40 million on Dunn, they go from a 68 win team to a 70 win team for a couple more years. If they don’t sign him, I’m sure they won’t sink $40 million into the draft, but they could easily spend another $5 million a year on it, which would be huge. And that would give them some excellent young players come 2012 or 2013, when they could actually be a pretty good team, and Dunn will at that point have declined even further defensively.

5 years 5 months ago

If Dunn reaches 500 HR he should go into the HOF. Of course, the idiots that are the BBWAA probably wouldn’t let him him because “he doesn’t even like baseball”.

5 years 5 months ago

Jim Rice-

2452 Hits, 382 Home Runs, 1451 RBI’s, .298 Batting Average (in 9058 career Plate Appearances). Finished second in Rookie of the Year balloting. Won two Silver Slugger Awards. Eight time All Star. Finished in the top five in MVP voting six times while winning the award once.

He did all of this mostly when the ball was NOT juiced, the players were NOT juiced and the parks were not as small. How many years was he on the Hall of Fame ballot? How many people consider him a borderline Hall of Fame player?

Fred McGriff –

2490 Hits, 493 Home Runs, 1550 RBI’s, .284 career Batting Average (in 10,174 Plate Appearances). Won three Silver Slugger Awards. Five time All Star. Finished in the top 10 in mVP voting six different years. Finished in the top 5 once. All of that and he is considered by a LOT of people to NOT BE A HALL OF FAMER!!!

Adam (one tool) Dunn –

1101 Hits, 316 Home Runs, 777 RBI’s, .249 Batting Average (in 5417 career Plate Appearances). Finished fourth in Rookie of the Year balloting. Has won ZERO Silver Slugger Awards. Has been named to only ONE All Star team. Has received MVP votes in only two years (where he finished 28th and 26th, respectively).

Now that he is 30 years old and playing First Base, how MANY Silver Slugger Awards and All Star teams do you think he is going to make when his competition is Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder? Playing for the Nationals, how many MVP votes do you think he is going to get?

Last year, most people would say Dunn had a “career” year and hwo much did THAT help the Nationals, as far as wins and losses and how did that help DUnn as far as the All Star team and MVP voting?

5 years 5 months ago

Of course we need to let his career play out, but Dunn has a higher OPS than both of them. I’ve read your posts before though and I understand you’re not a fan of Dunn, so I know ahead of time this conversation will go nowhere.

5 years 5 months ago

And Rice and McGriff played 16 and 19 years, respectively. Dunn has played nine. Its easy to look at counting stats and put Dunn on a lower level.

5 years 5 months ago

You make an interesting point about Dunn and comparing him to others that have had solid career but have not made the hall, but your juiced comment in your Rice statement is unfounded and has no evidence to support that baseball was not juiced at that time. Rice played from 74-89 while “juiced baseball” has been present long before that. Interesting take on it though.

5 years 5 months ago

Face it, Adam Dunn IS a DH and SHOULD be playing in some non-winning place with ZERO pressure on him.

The Reds wanted him to become a First Baseman in 2006 but he SUCKED in Spring Training. After the short lived experiment, Dunn publicly said he did NOT like to play First Base and did not WANT to play First Base. Funny how things change when NOBODY but the lowly Nationals and the idiotic Jim “Leather Pants” Bowden wanted the big donkey as a Free Agent.

Boswell says to sign Dunn to an extension because he still hss his “prime years” ahead of him. What a joke!!

A study produced a few years ago (I think by SABR) showed that most offensive players reach their peak years between the ages of 27 to 29. That means at 30, Dunn is PAST his prime years. Sure, he might still be able to hit 35 Home Runs and drive in 90 RBI’s but with no speed and HORRIBLE defense is that REALLY worth $13 million dollars a year?

Oh yeah, since steroid testing is now in place, it is NOT likely guys in their early to mid 30’s are going to be producing like they did in their mid to late 20’s. Their offensive production is going to DROP OFF like it did for guys BEFORE steroids and HGH. Just look at what happenede to most of the players who played before 1985.

Dunn has a HISTORY of weight problems. For years the media guides said he was 6′ 6″ and 275 pounds. Rumor has it though he was closer to 325 pounds those years. Being 30 years old (when a guys metabolism starts slowing down) and with an off season work out regime that includes sitting on his couch drinking beer and playing video games, that battle with weight is only going to get harder.

Since he struggles NOW to bend over and get ground balls and rarely dives for any balls hit to his sides, what do you think is going to happen when that weight starts coming back and STAYING on?

At 6′ 6″, Dunn is tall for a baseball player. Go back through history and see how many players that tall were succesful in their careers after the age of 30, especially if they were NOT DH’s. Since they are taller than “normal” baseball players, they have a larger Strike Zone for opposing pitchers to throw to. When you take into consideration that athletes hand eye coordination and reaction time slow down as they get older, it is only natural that guys with larger Strike Zones are going to feel the effects and see their production drop sooner and faster.

Since Dunn ALREADY only swings at Fast Balls located between the upper thigh and belt on the inner half of the plate, what do you think is going to happen when that small area of success gets even smaller?

Since he ALREADY uses only half of the playing field and Strikes Out a LOT, what do you think is going to happen when he is a fraction of a second later on Fast Balls and gets only the upper or lower half of pitches? He is going to foul off more pitches, pop more pitches up and weakly ground more pitches to the Second Baseman. This means FEWER Home Runs, a lower Batting Average, more Double Play balls and less Runs and RBI’s (on top of horrible defense that hurts the team) – and all for the low, low price of $13 million dollars a year.

Again, face it, if the Nationals were SMART, they would let Dunn play out this year and watch as the Kansas City Royals battle it out with some other AL team for Dunn to be their DH.

5 years 5 months ago

Here are their stats:

Rice – career OPS of .854 and career OPS+ of 128.
McGriff – career OPS of .886 and OPS+ of 134.
Dunn – career OPS of .903 and Career OPS+ of 132.

As you said, Rice and McGriff played seven and 10 more years, respectively. This means their OPS and OPS+ INCLUDES the years where their offensive production DROPPED OFF. Yet Dunn is just past his “prime offensive years” and has YET to have that drop off period.

As it stands NOW, Dunn has had only one season where he has amassed 150 or more Hits (151). That means to reach the 2400 Hit mark like Rice and McGriff did in their careers, Dunn would have to AVERAGE 150 Hits for the next 8 2/3 years. To reach the 1400 RBI mark, Dunn would have to AVERAGE 100 RBI’s for the next six years.

Honestly, do YOU think Dunn can be just as good, or even BETTER in the coming years, than he already has been AFTER what most people would consider his “prime” years? I don’t.

I think he is only going to get worse. After THAT happens, let’s see what those career OPS and OPS+ numbers look like.

5 years 5 months ago

While with the Reds, Dunn played in a HOME RUN FRIENDLY ball park. In five of the seven years he was with the Reds, he hit MORE Home Runs at Home than he did on the road, both literally and for At Bats per Home Run. This, even though, he played Division Road Games at Houston, a Home Run friendly ball park and Chicago, a Home Run friendly ball park in the Summer when it is hot and the wind is blowing out.

Now look what happened when he got to Washington and started playing in a Pitcher friendly park. He hit MORE Home Runs on the Road than he did at Home, he failed to reach 40 Home Runs in a year and he STILL sucked in September (as he has done THROUGH OUT his career, you know, when football season starts).

What do you think is going to happen if the Nationals sign Dunn to an extension, he gains weight and his hand eye coordination and bat speed slow down? He is going to hit FEWER Home Runs at Home AND he is goingto hit fewer Home Runs on the Road.

So, his offensive production is going to drop ALONG WITH his defense and you will be left with an overweight DH who is getting paid $13 million dollars a year.

There used to be a succesful General Manager who said, “it is better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late”. I will modify that and say, these days, “it is better to let a player become a Free Agent a year too early than sign him to an expensive contract and be stuck with him for MANY years too long”.

5 years 5 months ago

Well, rather than bother reading/replying to the Dunn sucks spiel located above, I’m just gonna say Dunn’s actually pretty good. He actually pulled that average up to respectability last year w/ the Nats, and maybe w/ some practice he can become a slightly below average 1B.

Any way around it, just b/c WAR tells you to doesn’t mean you should discount a .400 obp, 40 homers, 100 rbi, and 100 runs. I have no idea how fans evaluated a players worth before WAR became available, none whatsoever.

5 years 5 months ago

I LOVE it when the Dunn fans fall back on the “40 Home Run, .400 OBP, 100 RBI, 100 Run” BS excuse and TOTALLY leave out his defense.

Here are the facts.

Since 2004 Dunn has hit 40 or more Home Runs in five of those six seasons.

He has driven in 100 or more RBI’s in five of those six seasons (but averaged only 101 RBIs). So, while he is driving in 100, he is BARELY doing it each year.

He has Walked 100 + times in each of those seasons (an average of 112 each year) but NEVER had an On Base Percentage of .400 or more. Last year was his highest at .398 and he usually only makes it to the mid .380’s.

As far as Runs scored goes, he has only scored 100 or more Runs in three of those six seasons and is averaging 95 Runs per year over those six years. The last two years, he has scored 79 and 81 RUns, respectively. So, even though he has averaged 40.66 Hoem Runs per year and averaged Walking 112 times each year, he has trouble scoring Runs. That is because he just usually jogs to the next base after a batter follwing him gets a Hit. SO, his NOT going First to THird on SIngles, Second to Home on Doubles and NOT being able to score from First on a Double HURTS the team and is a BIG reason why he doesn’t score MORE Runs each year (even though, as I have pointed out, he is usually near the top of the NL in both Home Runs and Walks every year.

Guess what? Did you ever think those Walks HURT his chances at driving in Runs? Also, since he has NO SPEED, getting Walked means the opposing Pitcher is NOT going to be afraid of him stealing bases or taking an extra base if a batter behind him gets a Hit. This means they are NOT going to throw over to First Base a lot and they ARE going to concentrate on getting the next batter Out without having to throw Fast Balls to do it.

How many times did Dunn Walk last year when there were men on base and/or in scoring position? Since he has “enough power to hit a Hoem RUn out of any part of any ball park” don’t you think it might be better if he actually swung the bat more?

Since Intentional Walks DON’T make up the majority of his Walks (unlike Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard) and Dunn is usually near the top of the NL in number of pitches per At Bat, it means he is seeing a LOT of Strikes which he either is NOT swinging at or is swinging and missing. Either way, it is a LOT of pitches that DUnn COULD be driving but is not and thus, his RBI numbers are lower than other power hitters who hit just as many or mroe Hoem Runs.

Also, how many times last year did Dunn Walk and Josh Willingham (or another batter following Dunn) ground into a Double Play? With Dunn having so much power but very little speed, what good does it do for him to Walk only to see the following batter hit into a DP?

5 years 5 months ago

Do you want some more facts?

In 2008, the Reds had a higher winning percentage AFTER DUnn was traded than they did while DUnn was on the team.

In 2008, the Diamondbacks had a higher winning percentage and scored mroe RUns per game BEFORE they traded for Dunn than after they traded for him. Oh yeah, what was the reason they traded three players and picked up most of his salary? Because they thought he would IMPROVE their offense.

In 2009, with Dunn (and Josh Willingham and Nyjer Morgan) the Nationals scored more Runs than in 2008 but they ALSO commited more Errors and the pitching staff gave up more Runs and how much did the team record improve? None. Nada. Zip.

Meanwhile, in 2009, after the Reds had dumped Dunn (and King Griffey Jr), they scored fewer Runs as a team than they did in 2008 (673 versus 704) but they ALSO commited fewer Errors (89 versus 114) and they WON MORE GAMES. All the while ALSO being hampered by injuries.

Remember that when Dunn is leading the league in Errors at First Base and when numerous balls are getting past him for Hits (balls that other, better defensive First Basemen would have gotten to). So, no matter if Dunn saves some throwing Errors shorter First Basemen wouldn’t have been able to get to, he costs the team more Hits (and Runs) because he can’t field his position well or get to balls that other First Basemen CAN get to.

Ask your Pitchers if they think that kind of stuff doesn’t matter.

5 years 5 months ago

A few things.

“He has driven in 100 or more RBI’s in five of those six seasons (but averaged only 101 RBIs). So, while he is driving in 100, he is BARELY doing it each year.”

RBIs are among the worst way to determine the quality of a player, seeing as how they depend on everyone in front of the hitter to get on base. Considering the teams that Dunn has played for, it’s not unrealistic to think that he would be on the doorstep of 130-140 if he played in a better lineup.

The same can be said for his lack of runs. He has never played in a great lineup, and he’s had poor production all around him, which means less RBIs and runs.

“Since he has “enough power to hit a Hoem RUn out of any part of any ball park” don’t you think it might be better if he actually swung the bat more?”

That argument makes no sense.

“Since Intentional Walks DON’T make up the majority of his Walks (unlike Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard)”

Pujols, Manny, or Howard have NEVER been intentionally walked so much that they made up the majority of their walks.

“Also, how many times last year did Dunn Walk and Josh Willingham (or another batter following Dunn) ground into a Double Play? With Dunn having so much power but very little speed, what good does it do for him to Walk only to see the following batter hit into a DP?”

You’ve proved my earlier point about being surrounded by bad players.

“In 2008, the Reds had a higher winning percentage AFTER DUnn was traded than they did while DUnn was on the team.”

They went 13-12 after they traded Dunn. One game over .500 in a smaller sample size. That’s hardly an indictment on Dunn.

In summation, there is not one thing that you said that makes an actual case against Dunn.

5 years 5 months ago

I think we get it…you hate Adam Dunn. Don’t need 100 posts about it.