Discussion: The Nationals’ 2011 First Baseman

Adam Dunn's defensive limitations are under scrutiny again today after a pair of plays he failed to make in last night's 1-0 loss to Philadelphia, writes Ben Goessling of MASN.com. It's "no secret," according to Goessling, that as the Nationals decide whether or not to extend Dunn past this season, his defense is one of their primary concerns.

Dunn's prowess at the plate is undisputed; with 31 home runs and a slash line of .266/.354/.557 this year, The 30-year-old is poised to match or top last year's .267/.398/.529, 38-homer campaign. And his defense at first base has actually improved, according to UZR. Playing the infield on a full-time basis for the first time this season, Dunn's UZR/150 is only slightly below average, at -1.3. Still, UZR is a statistic best evaluated over multiple seasons, and Dunn's career numbers aren't flattering.

It could cost Washington in excess of $40MM to lock up Dunn to a multi-year extension, and it's unclear whether they'd want to commit that money to a player some observers feel is more suited to DHing. Additionally, Dunn projects as a Type A free agent and could net the Nats compensation picks if he signs elsewhere. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted, the club figures to offer Dunn arbitration even if they think he may accept, since they could live with having him for one year at around $15MM.

Goessling indicates that the Nats would have some interest in Carlos Pena, who will also be a free agent this winter. Pena isn't as dangerous offensively as Dunn, but he has a similar power stroke and is more adept in the field. Other above-average defensive players available this offseason in an overcrowded first base market include Derrek Lee and Lyle Overbay. Both players have struggled offensively at times this year, but are still helping their teams defensively.

Will concerns about Dunn's defense mean the Nats let him walk this winter? How much money and how many years would you commit to the slugger if you were running the organization? Or would you elect to pursue another corner infielder instead?

38 Responses to Discussion: The Nationals’ 2011 First Baseman Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Adam Dunn will be the Nationals 2011 First Baseman.


    • Prince_Fielders_Donuts 5 years ago

      Hey spam who is your favorite baseball team? seems like your happy for every team that makes a good deal so just wonderin lol

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Well you said it…I’m just a huge Baseball fan. I follow, respect, and love every single Major League Baseball team!

        Guessing you are a Brewers fan?

        • Prince_Fielders_Donuts 5 years ago

          Yes im a brewers fan unfortunately

  2. basemonkey 5 years ago

    Carlos Pena is more than just “adept in the field”. He’s a gold-glover.

  3. vacommish 5 years ago

    What about Chris Marrero? He’s had a solid AAA season. At one point they were looking at him for 1B, but may be back to OF now.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Yeah I was wondering the same thing. He’s actually been with AA Harrisburg and that’s been going great for him. Marrero and Espinosa really deserve a shot to make the big league club out of Spring Training, but Marrero for OF.

  4. Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

    Dunn will be. Contract details:
    2011: $13m, 2012: 13m, 2013: 13m, 2014 club option: 14.5m or buyout: 1m.

    So, 3/$40m or 4/53.5m. Throw in 50,000 bonuses for each of MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove(just a little incentive for him to work on defense), AS appearance, AS MVP, NLCS MVP, WS MVP. And make it to where if he earns 3 total of any of those rewards in the 3 guaranteed years, the option is automatically vested. Limited no trade clause to the 15 NL teams, will earn 10/5 rights in option year if he gets it.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      I think Dunn is worth more than 40MM.

      • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

        His fondness for Washington will draw him back, and his defense will limit his money on the open market. He still is the same player he was on the market 2 years ago, plus .020 points on his batting average. The plethora of 1B and his defense will not get him as big a paycheck as he wants. Most AL teams are doing the DH by committee deal, and the only teams without a DH really can’t afford him long term or already have someone lined up to take over at DH, or they’ll fluctuate players(see Twins, White Sox, at DH. The only other serious suitor I see if the Red Sox, but I think they’ll resign Papi to an affordable contract.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Okay, sold.

          • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

            Lol. I’d really like to be a GM.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Don’t give up your dreams man. If you want to be a GM then keep eyeing and trying to reach your goal.

          • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

            I wouldn’t even know where to begin man. Plus, I’m already chest deep in certificates and working on a bachelors for information tecnology lol.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I hear that going to law school can pretty much get you anywhere. I’m still in high school. If you were GM of any team which team would it be?

          • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

            Definitely Braves. I could do a better job than Wren. Maybe the Twins or Rays, Rangers or Angles. The Rays young talent would be awesome to build around.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Definetly. It would be great to be the GM of the Royals and Jays especially, but I would he fine being the GM of any MLB team!

        • bjsguess 5 years ago

          If it were this simple, and if Dunn really wanted to stay in Washington, why hasn’t this deal been done yet? We’ve heard for 2 years now that the Nats want to extend him.

          Either they are not sincere (which would piss me off I’m Dunn) or the dollars are further a part that you are estimating.

          The market for 1B next year will NOT be crowded. Teams going after Overbay and Lee are not the in the same market as guys like at Dunn. Even Pena, who has a chance to be as good as Dunn, is coming off a crummy year in terms of performance and health.

          Looking for a big bat there is Dunn. Looking for a high risk guy who could be great you look to Pena. Looking for a bargain ($3-5m) you are stuck with Lee and Overbay.

          • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

            Lance Berkman (35) – 1 or 2 year deal. Maybe back in Houston.
            Hank Blalock (30) – minors deal in the AL seems likely.
            Russell Branyan (35) – Going back to Seattle, but could sign a 1 or 2 year deal somewhere else.
            Jorge Cantu (29) – Not really a 1B, but versatile and solid. 2 year deal at least.
            Troy Glaus (34) – A strong rebound in September could net him a 2 year deal, but until then, I’m thinking 1.
            Eric Hinske (33) – Pretty much a role player these days, but could be a platoon option on a 1 year deal.
            Aubrey Huff (34) – Arguably the next best option, if not better than Dunn. 3 year deal may be pushing it, but he’ll likely get a 2 year with an option. Giants seem likely.
            Mike Jacobs (30) – Worth a shot on a minor league deal. AL seems best
            Nick Johnson (32) – Dittio.
            Paul Konerko (35) – An older guy, but the White Sox captain will likely sign a multi year deal with the White Sox.
            Adam LaRoche (31) – A bit of a sleeper this past offseason, but a very consistent hitter who always has amazing second half’s and a more than solid defender should score at least a 2 year deal if he makes around $9m. Arizona or Tampa
            Derrek Lee (35) – A down season for an otherwise consistent hitter, still a great defender, should get a 2 year deal. Wouldn’t surprise me if he went back to Chi town.
            Lyle Overbay (34) – Meh 1st basemen will get a 1 year deal.
            Carlos Pena (33) – One of the biggest question marks out there. Great defender, great power, but his average has dropped tremendously. If the Rays don’t sign Crawford, I suspect he’ll be back in Tampa.

            The whole point is, most teams in need of a 1B next year won’t be able to afford him long term. I explain above where most guys are going, Dunn will be either a National, or on the North or South side of Chicago.

          • Completely right here. The main team of concern is probably the Cubs. Bankrolled ballclub, lost D. Lee and will look to sign a free agent and pay too much money. Nationals will be ignorant to pay as much as Hendry will shell out.

          • Pena has had a good 2nd half after his horrid start. As for his health, he’s been on the DL once as he finally got red hot.

      • Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

        Plus, he’s 31. At the end of his next contact, he’ll be DH bait for sure.

  5. oremlk 5 years ago

    I tend to think Dunn stays with the Nationals too. They really like him, and he seems to like it there. They’ll find a middle ground on the money issue.

  6. phoenix88 5 years ago

    Dunn will stay, on a 2 or 3 year deal until the know Marrero is ready. If Ian Desmond can fix his defense this offseason, he and Espinosa could platoon at short and one could maybe play Second. The need to flip Alberto Gonzalez for prospects and same with Morgan or Maxwell. Put Bernadina in Center, Morse in right and Wilingham in left in 2011. Harris can be the 4th outfielder for now. Make Kennedy the starting second baseman so he can minimize his errors. Demote Nieves, and keep Ramos on the ML roster and Platoon him with Pudge. Hope that Jesus Flores can recover fully in 2011

  7. diehardmets 5 years ago

    I say he’ll be offered arbitration, decline, and then the Nats will sign Pena if he’s not resigned or Derrek Lee.

  8. jealle 5 years ago

    Marrero and Espinosa deserve a shot, but it would be really hard to see Dunn go. Without him Zim is terrible because he gets no pitches and just chases low and away curve balls. And without either of those two I won’t be able to stand watching my Nats.
    To me we need a one year solution next year, and then we need to go after A-Gone or Pujols. I have absolutely no interest in Pena, Lee, Overbay or Prince Fielder being Nats, and I really hope we don’t waste their money on guys like them. If we can get Dunn for 3 years, 45 mil, Rizzo should make the deal. He’s worth it. 4 years and 60 mil would be okay too. No more than that though.

    • EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

      Yeah the combo of Dunn and Zim are always fun to watch, and if Dunn leaves it will cripple the offense without a doubt. Hopefully they can hammer something out that works for both sides. In my opinion I think they should keep Dunn rather than going after A-Gon. They could probably dish out the money and years for Adrian as they showed willingness to do so with Tex, but it would put some constraint on the team’s budget, and future deals they might want to make.

  9. Where would Peña go? Since the Rays don’t have money to keep him… I’d like to see some teams in a need of a power first baseman who happens to be a gold glover, I’d lime to see him go to someone like the Rangers or the Giants. The Rangers have had a problem finding a first baseman for years, Chris Davis has a huge problem striking out, and he’s not that great of a defender. And the Giants need to make tha lineup stronger than it is now by resigning Huff to a 2 maybe even 3 if the Giants would risk it, deal. And adding Peña would really make them dangerous because now they would have Huff, Burrell(if he is back next year), we all know who Posey is, Sandoval even if he is in a down year, and Peña. This would make them an offensive force. But it’s a crying shame their GM is Sabean.

  10. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Here was the situation 2 years ago:1. The FA market was awful. Especially hurt were players who were deemed defensive liabilities (Burrell, Dunn, Abreu).2. Dunn was coming off a string of solid offensive seasons (previous 2 years led to a combined 250/386/533/919 slash line). 3. Dunn was entering his prime as he had completed his age 28 season.4. Dunn showed he could hit outside of Cinci with a solid stint in AZ5. Dunn was NOT offered arb, was not signed until right before ST (2/11)What’s changed in the past 2 years?1. FA market is still awful for everyone but the elite guys (Crawford/Lee, etc)2. Dunn has strung together another 2 solid offensive seasons in line with his career numbers3. Dunn is leaving his prime – he will start his next contract at 314. Dunn continued to show this bat plays anywhere – including a challenging Washington park5. If people’s speculation is right Dunn WILL BE offered arbitration and will cost his new team either a late 1st rounder or early 2nd rounderSo, if Dunn was worth 2/$20 on the open market 2 years ago please help me to understand why he is suddenly worth 3/$45 or 4/$60 PLUS an early draft pick.I don’t think Dunn sniffs at those amounts unless the Nats decline to offer him arb. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 2/$20 type deal if arb is offered. In that case, if I’m Dunn I accept arb and put in a figure for $15m. Very confident that if I go on the market again after 2011 I can land more than a 1/$5 type deal.

  11. jubeininja69 5 years ago

    didn’t dunn say he was a complete player and won’t DH? he’ll stay in the NL and sign with someone.

    • Well then he should get off his fat butt & get in better shape.

  12. $4555515 5 years ago

    i would like to take this time to add that anyone who bashes dunn cause he strikes out alot please take a moment to ask any red sox fan how many times they wish jim rice had struck out instead of hitting into a inning ending double play

    • TeamCropDusters 5 years ago

      Adam Dunn hits into his fair share of double plays my friend.

      • $4555515 5 years ago

        and by fair share u mean 5??? lol???

        he has nothing on rice as far as gidp goes according tp baseball almanac rice had 31-36-35 3 consectutive years so pls dont get it twisted

  13. TeamCropDusters 5 years ago

    I can’t believe Chris Marrero hasn’t been at least mentioned. I know he is only in AA but he should be ready sometime next season.

    I think the smart play would be to sign a stop-gap player like Overbay who is a LH hitter that can platoon against tough RHP with Marrero when he comes up.

    It doesn’t make sense to sign Dunn again, especially long-term and for a lot of money, when you have a controlable and elite 1B prospect in Marrero.

    Offer Dunn Arbitration, he will probably decline it, and walla you have 2 first round picks. If he accpets you get Dunn on a one year deal, and can trade him when Marrero is ready. Win-win if you ask me.

  14. alphabet_soup5 5 years ago

    Why has nobody here mentioned Detroit? He’d be a great DH for the Tigers in my opinion.

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