Free Agent Stock Watch: Adam Dunn

The Nationals and Adam Dunn went back-and-forth about a contract extension pretty much all season, though the outfielder turned first baseman eventually hit he free agent market for the second time in his career and is free to join with any club now. Let's look at where his stock stands…

The Good

  • Dunn has mammoth power, a skill that is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. He hit 38 homers in 2010 for the second straight year, and his 282 big flies since the start of the 2004 season are the second most in baseball behind Albert Pujols (294).
  • He's also an on-base machine, drawing at least 100 walks in six of the last seven years and in seven of the last nine.
  • Listed at 6-foot-6 and 285 lbs., Dunn is supremely durable. He's played in 1,108 of 1,134 possible games from 2004 through 2010, and his only career DL trip came back in 2003, when he missed 44 days with a sprained thumb.

The Bad

  • All of that power comes with the trade-off of high strike out totals. Dunn's struck out no fewer than 164 times in each of the last seven years.
  • Dunn's on-base percentage dropped to .356 in 2010, his lowest mark since 2003. That's the result of just 77 walks compared to his usual 100+, though given his track record and age (31) it could be a fluke.
  • A lefty swinger, Dunn has a considerable platoon split. Left-handers held him to a .719 OPS this season (.965 vs. RHP).
  • Regardless of where he is on the field – outfield or first base – he's a liability defensively, one of the very worst in the game. Dunn has also indicated that he doesn't want to be a designated hitter, limiting his market if true.
  • Dunn is a Type-A free agent and it's likely that the Nationals will offer him salary arbitration. Any team that signs him (other than Washington) will have to surrender a high draft pick.

The Verdict

Dunn is one of the best players available this winter, ranking fifth on Tim Dierkes' list of the top 50 free agents. He rejected Washington's three-year contract extension offer, so clearly he's looking to secure the long-term contract he wasn't able to land two years ago. 

It's easy to envision a power bat like this fitting into every lineup in baseball, but only few have the resources to sign Dunn. The Cubs are expected to have interest given their first base opening, but be sure that the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, and others will be rumored land spots at some point this offseason.