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.


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43 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Adam Dunn"


Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

He will definetly be enjoying Deep Dish Pizza on the next season — Cubs.

gigantes2425
4 years 9 months ago

If he saw this he would ask, “are you calling me fat?”

Devern Hansack
4 years 9 months ago

No, probably not.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

I hope not.

fitz
4 years 9 months ago

Unlikely, I predict that next week Adam Dunn will host a nationally televised press conference where he proclaims to the world that he is taking his talents to South Beach.

Ben_Cherington
4 years 9 months ago

Is there a baseball team in South Beach? Is he going to help Lebaby and Dwade by giving them a big man in the paint?

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 9 months ago

If i love the pizza Dunn will!

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

There’s a decent chance of it I think, but Hendry has been pretty consistent that he needs to make around three good moves. With the payroll set to come down and three areas of need (LH 1B, starting pitcher, reliever) I’m just not sure the Cubs have the resources to give Dunn $10MM+ per year and still address other areas of concern. They could free up a little cash by trading somebody like Fukudome, but the reality is they’d probably be sending at least half in any deal which makes the savings on the small end.

My main concern, though, would be Dunn’s defense — not in a vacuum, but rather when coupled with the Cubs infielders. I think the number of hits/runs that Derrek Lee saved this team by making those great catches on bad throws look easy is underrated. I think his contribution to the team would be positive even if he gave up runs on his defense and didn’t prevent giving up runs on other peoples’ defense, but obviously less so — making the prospect of Dunn being the only real move the Cubs can afford to make a little harder to swallow.

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 9 months ago

You mean he’ll be enjoying chowdah at Fenway! 4/54 to play first in year 1 and moving to DH for the last 3 when A-Gonz signs in Beantown!

danthebaseballman
4 years 9 months ago

adam dunn will be a great addition to the cubs,if he goes there,but can they handle the strikeouts?

vtadave
4 years 9 months ago

Not sure about that, but they probably could handle the 40 home runs.

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 9 months ago

Dunn, Dunn, Dunn, The Cubs need you bad but the problem is this is the first year in a long time henery doesnt wanna spend money :( So in order to get you (which we should have in the 09 off season insted of Bradley) we need to trade Fukodome or Big Z. Ihope the cubs could get him and that would be all i want for the off season. But being realistic the cubs should go after a cheaper option. L.Overbay is a left handed hitter with a good glove. probly costs 1 year 2 mil? Or you could go sign J.Cantu.(nobody is talking about him for some reason) He is a great guy to be 1b and he can play 3b if A.Ram goes down.Not to mention probly get him on a 1year 3mil deal ? Thats just what i think tho so lets see what happens.

wickedkevin
4 years 9 months ago

If he was smart, he’d openly invite the idea of being a DH. It’s just selfish to not want to DH when you are that bad defensively.

Jason_F
4 years 9 months ago

Why should he? It’s his decision and he has produced offensively for years on end. Teams are well aware that he wants to play in the field, so, if anything, he is just hurting himself by limiting his bidders to the National League only. It has nothing to do with being smart, it’s a preference. I’m sure he just has no interest in being the next Pat Burrell, in that he moves to the AL and bombs.

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

does it matter tho? he’ll be getting a 4 year deal or longer, so he has the security to go to the AL and bomb, pat didn’t have that security

danthebaseballman
4 years 9 months ago

adam dunn would definitely be a great addition to the cubs if he ends up there,but can the cubs handle the strikeouts?

Ricklu
4 years 9 months ago

Orioles? They should be all over Dunn….

Beaned1
4 years 9 months ago

Bring Dunn to Baltimore and let him play 1B just to make him happy. He’s still a huge improvement over…just about anyone we’ve had at 1b since the Palmiero days. And there is plenty of money to sign him.

4 years 9 months ago

Dunn to the O’s seems about right to me. This guy is AL all the way.

danthebaseballman
4 years 9 months ago

i think the orioles should be all over dunn,but i don’t think they’ll be able to put out enough money for him

cubs223425
4 years 9 months ago

I pray that he gets nowhere NEAR the Cubs’ home clubhouse. The last thing they need is 175+ whiffs and a long contract on a mid-30s guy (when they deal is near its end).

BWOzar
4 years 9 months ago

Fact check.

I’m not saying Dunn is a good 1B (he isn’t), but he’s slightly below average not a disaster at 1B. In UZR/150 he ranked ahead of, among others, Pena, Cabrera, Fielder, Jones, Howard, Glaus and Konerko (just behind Butler, Helton and Teixeira). He’ll never be a gold glove contender, but he’s not a horrible 1B just a below average one.

4 years 9 months ago

Most people don’t consider UZR to be a good judge of a 1B skills. It’ll take into account diving plays and the like, but it has zero way of representing someone saving an error with a good scoop or reach.

BWOzar
4 years 9 months ago

I’d point out this Joe Sheehan quote in SI from earlier this year: “Adam Dunn was one of the worst defensive players in baseball from 2006 through 2008. The Nationals converted him to first base, and Dunn has adapted well, showing good hands if limited range. It’s rare that a player can move to first base and increase his value, but Dunn has done so.” So he’s probably not all that bad at making a scoop (a skill that many would argue is basically fictional).

I also believe the area Dunn is particularly awful in is throwing accuracy, but that can be masked because 1B legitimately needs to throw the ball once every few games…

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 9 months ago

Cubs223425 and Spandemonium. What are your opinions on the Cubs 1b job?

danthebaseballman
4 years 9 months ago

you’re probably right.

4 years 9 months ago

Dunn’s UZR was -3.1 this year. That puts him in a grouping with Carlos Pena, Mark Teixeira, and Billy Butler. His WAR was higher than all of them by a fairly large margin.

This was his first season at 1B and he improved notably over the course of the year. He’s significantly better than guys like Howard and Fielder who never get trashed as “horrible” defenders. Votto, Pujols and Gonzalez are the only 1B who offer better value at this point.

As for the moronic K comments. I’d rather a guy K than GIDP. You’ve got a guaranteed 35-40 HR, solid and improving defense, and a great clubhouse guy who is only 31.

truthlemonade
4 years 9 months ago

Eh, I would say that Fielder gets trashed as a horrible defender.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 9 months ago

uzr is an overrated stat crearted by geeks that nver played the game ever

danthebaseballman
4 years 9 months ago

the cubs should find a younger option,like lyle overbay,or ty wiggington

truthlemonade
4 years 9 months ago

Dunn is 31, Overbay turns 34 soon, and Wiggington turned 33 last month. Or are you joking?

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 9 months ago

there not young but cheap i like overbay!

Ben_Cherington
4 years 9 months ago

Derek Lee anyone?

bjsguess
4 years 9 months ago

1. Dunn is not a good fielder, despite how UZR ranked him this year. EVERYONE is in agreement that he brings a very sub-standard glove. He’s probably not as terrible at 1B as he is in LF, however, that is not really a compliment.

2. Why will the market be so different this go around? Seriously, I’m very confused by this. Would you rather have:

Player A: 250/386/533 – 40HR – age 29
Player B: 264/378/533 – 38HR – age 31

Of course, they are both Adam Dunn. Player A would have been his 2 year averages prior to his last stop on the FA market. Player B is based off his last 2 years in Washington. He is the identical player, except:

1. He’s two years older – instead of being in the middle of his peak he is on his way out
2. He’s potentially a type A – he wasn’t offered arbitration last time
3. He’s coming off a 2/$20m contract

I’m really struggling with the idea that clubs are going to line-up to give him a 3-4 year deal at $12m+/season AFTER they cough up a top draft pick and AFTER they realize that he will be playing for them through his age 35 season.

I like Dunn a great deal and think he is a tremendous hitter but let’s not fool ourselves. The guy is a DH. If you play him in the field he will cost you runs. If you DH him and give him a 4/$48 type deal you are a bonehead. You can get slightly less production from a guy like Vlad on a 1/$8 type deal.

4 years 9 months ago

Those of us that watched Dunn transition to 1B definitely saw him adapt and get to the point that his glove didn’t hurt us this year. He’s a wash defensively at 1B which makes his tremendous bat that much more valuable.

The only people down on Dunn at 1B are those who haven’t done their homework. He was pretty bad to start. By the end of the year he was routinely making scoops, his range was improving, and his height alone saved a few airmailed throws that Zimmerman and Desmond are prone to when they’re being lazy.

bleedDODGERblue
4 years 9 months ago

Dodgers

petrie000
4 years 9 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks the Cubs signing Dunn is just going to be a repeat of the Soriano situation? They’ll be spending an awful lot of money on somebody who get get very old very fast.

There’s also next year to consider, when some of the elite first basemen in the game hit the market. If you want to fill the hole long term, and don’t intend to win this year… hell, plug any minor leaguer in there and just wait to try to land Fielder or Gonzalez (or trade for Gonzalez now, if you can).

mueron
4 years 9 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks the cubs signing Dunn is less than realistic considering ownership wants to shed a lot of payroll?

4 years 9 months ago

For awhile I was pretty convinced they were going to get him simply because he obviously wants to play for the Cubs and they have such and obvious need, left-handed 1b. I’m just getting the feeling though that it’s not going to happen now though, I think they’re going to end up with a consolation prize.

If Dunn would accept a very low base salary for the first year of the contract they could make it work but I’m not sure that Hendry or the Ricketts are really so hot on the idea of robbing 2012 to pay 2011 so to speak. A couple years ago it was SOP for Hendry but maybe the Ricketts have given him religion on that issue. We’ll just have to wait and see, but I think we end up with LaRoche at best, Overbay at worst and Pena as the dark horse.

4 years 9 months ago

He’s the perfect fit for the White Sox. Rotate him with Konerko and Quentin, I am assuming the Sox re-sign Konerko. I would say my breakdown below is not only fair, but realistic to keep everyone fresh.

Breakdown:
DH: 70 games
1B: 50 games
RF: 30 games

4 years 9 months ago

I dont think they would ever play him in RF, maybe LF. I doubt they can sign both PK & Dunn.

4 years 9 months ago

This thread started off about pizza, well Detroit could offer Dunn his own Little Ceaser’s franchise, along with 3 years/ 45 million – maybe 4 year/ $60 million. He would be able to enjoy doing what he does best, being a power hitter, and coupled with Miguel Cabrera, they could form maybe the best 3-4 hitters in baseball. The Tigers need a lefty bat, protection for Cabrera, and he makes the most sense out of all options. There seems to be a major caveat with Dunn’s need to field. I’d left him play maybe 15 games at 1b though Cabrera is a good first baseman, despite the numbers, and he is not allowed in left field. It’ll be interesting to see how really important playing the field is compared to getting paid and a fourth year, which the Tigers can do. So far, most say Cabby batting third or fourth, and Dunn batting fifth, would anyone argue to have Cabrera bat behind Dunn?

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much? Do you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much? How much do you know about the player?