Adam Dunn Rumors
How long will the Wild Card playoff format be a one-game elimination? The running gag among baseball executives, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, is until the Yankees are eliminated in a such fashion. That possibility is looming larger as the Yankees and Orioles are tied for the AL East lead with four games to play. The Yankees currently have a one-game lead over the A's in the Wild Card race. However, if the two teams finished with identical records, the Yankees would have to travel to Oakland because they tied in the season series and the A’s currently own the next tiebreaker - a superior record within their own division. It will make for an interesting finish to the season. Also from Rosenthal's column:
- In response to the likelihood the two AL Wild Card teams will have a better record than the AL Central Division champion, Rosenthal suggests the playoff qualifiers with the two worst records meet in the Wild Card game. Rosenthal admits winning a weak division would be less meaningful, but such a team hardly would be in position to argue since it would be lucky to reach the playoffs in the first place.
- Angels owner Arte Moreno recently acknowledged the fans' desire for the team to re-sign Torii Hunter, but Rosenthal says he may have competition from a division rival. The Rangers have long had interest in Hunter, who lives in a Dallas suburb. With Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli free agents this winter and Nelson Cruz a free agent next offseason, the team almost certainly will look for offensive help. Rosenthal believes a trade for a younger slugger such as Arizona's Justin Upton is more likely than a short-term signing of Hunter. But at the very least, the Rangers could pursue Hunter to drive up the price for the Angels.
- Despite the recent slump that may cost the White Sox a playoff berth, Rosenthal claims this has been a successful season for the South Siders. Rosenthal points to highlights like Robin Ventura establishing himself as a manager, Chris Sale developing into an ace, a number of rookie pitchers emerging as valuable parts, and bounce back seasons from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy.
- Rosenthal credits the Rays' recent resurgence to manager Joe Maddon's decision to make batting practice optional and allow players to arrive at the park later, which resulted in the players becoming more relaxed.
Roy Halladay is pitching differently this year, according to pitch f/x data and team officials who spoke to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Though Halladay remains effective, he’s relying on different weapons than the ones he used in the past. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors:
- The Royals have lost ten consecutive games, but GM Dayton Moore says it’s not always bad to scuffle. “I’m not shocked that we’re struggling out of the gate,” Moore told Rosenthal. “Although you expect good things to happen, we’re very young.” Rosenthal cites a scout who was “decidedly unimpressed” by the Royals’ play this weekend.
- Rosenthal suggests the Padres might be inclined to trade Carlos Quentin if he hits well once he returns from knee surgery in May. Rosenthal wonders if the Padres might look to sign Quentin to a two-year deal in the $18-20MM range if he has a decent season.
- Many teams are intimidated by Wandy Rodriguez’s contract, Rosenthal reports. The left-hander earns $10MM in 2012 and $13MM in 2013. The Astros hold a $13MM club option for 2014, but it becomes a player option if they trade him.
- Some executives were surprised the Reds committed $72.5MM to Brandon Phillips when some of their best prospects (Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorius) are middle infielders.
- Adam Dunn looks more comfortable at the plate this year, one scout says.
For two of baseball’s 30 teams, the 2012 season opens in a matter of hours. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- The Royals acquired Humberto Quintero last week, but they continue looking for catching depth, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney asked a number of baseball people why the trade market has been slow this spring and came up with a variety of possible answers. "I think teams value their young players more, and they value the older guys less," one GM told Olney. "The lower middle class [of players] has taken a hit this winter."
- The Brewers have stayed in contact with agent Dan Horwits, the representative for closer John Axford, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. I previewed a possible extension for Axford earlier in the year.
- Justin Upton, Eric Hosmer and Bryce Harper have a good shot at being top-ten players five years from now, ESPN.com’s Keith Law writes.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today discusses failure and expectations with a number of MLB players who have struggled after signing massive free agent deals. "You cannot have a worse feeling in sports," Adam Dunn told Nightengale. "It's tough, just so tough," Alfonso Soriano said.
Here's the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- The Tigers' interest in John Lannan is only lukewarm at best and one executive told Heyman (via Twitter) that American League teams are leery of what switching leagues would do. For their part, the Nationals still seem eager to move the left-hander.
- With no real playing time likely available to Bobby Abreu, it might be for the best for the Angels to simply release the veteran, Heyman writes. Even though Abreu's agents, Peter and Edward Greenberg, said his recent comments were taken out of context, Abreu is obviously frustrated and unhappy about his situation.
- Is Barry Zito's contract the worst free agent deal ever? - Heyman believes that it is and it tops his top ten list. John Lackey, Gary Matthews, Carl Pavano, and Mike Hampton round out the top five.
- There are several theories as to why Adam Dunn wasn't able to produce last year, including the idea that his big contract got to him, writes Heyman. The 32-year-old hit .159/.292/.277 in 122 games last season.
Sunday night links..
- No team has been has active as the Rockies over the last five years of locking up young players long term before they reach the arbitration process and Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that Jhoulys Chacin is the next candidate. Chacin is eligible for salary arbitration in 2013 and can't become a free agent until 2016. When asked, GM Dan O'Dowd told Renck that the club isn't ready to do anything at this time.
- The Orioles are involved in "at least three" active trade talks, a source tells Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. Earlier today, we learned that the O's are in talks with the Cardinals regarding Kyle McClellan.
- There are at least five major groups left in the bidding to buy the Dodgers and all have submitted bids for at least $1.5 billion, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Assistant GM David Forst suggested that the Athletics are open to signing slugger Manny Ramirez but the team is not actively pursuing the free agent, according to the Associated Press.
- Brewers negotiator Teddy Werner said there has been "good progress" in talks with arbitration-eligible right-hander Shaun Marcum, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Marcum filed for $8.7MM and the Brewers countered with $6.75MM in arbitration.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo confirmed to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) that the club has no interest in reacquiring Adam Dunn.
- The Orioles' top priority is upgrading their bullpen, but if trade talks for Kyle McClellan come to fruition he could be yet another starting option, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- While Commissioner Bud Selig looks to expand the postseason from eight to ten teams this year, there remains uncertainty whether it can happen before 2013, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Despite Selig's aspirations, the Players Association still has doubts whether it's feasible.
- New Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez doesn't expect to replace Prince Fielder's bat in the lineup but says that he is fitting in well with his new team, Haudricourt writes.
The Cubs are vying for a prime pick in next year's draft, while the White Sox have won four in a row and sit five games back of the Tigers. The latest on Chicago's teams:
- The relationship between White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams is "now beyond repair," a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley's sources say the Sox are getting a feel for managerial candidates and are renewing talks with the Marlins about compensation for trading Guillen. Ozzie had plenty to say on the topic; be sure to check it out.
- Adam Dunn is having "perhaps the most inexplicably awful season" of the last 50 years, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. The $56MM designated hitter is hitting .163/.290/.289 in 435 plate appearances. With reduced playing time, he may at least be spared the full remaining 67 plate appearances he'll need to qualify for the lowest batting average since Billy Sullivan hit .162 for the 1909 White Sox. Rob Deer's .179 mark in 1991 is the modern-day worst; Chuck Garfien of CSN Chicago spoke to Deer about that season.
- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez doesn't know how his future will play out with the team, he told CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney. Mooney's article counters the notion that Ramirez does not have a positive influence on young teammates Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro.
The Nationals signed Livan Hernandez to a one-year deal worth $1MM on this date last year. He has a 4.36 ERA with 5.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 41.7% ground ball rate in 163 innings for the Nats this season - well worth the investment Washington made a year ago. Here’s the latest from around MLB, starting with a note on the Nats...
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson suggests that there's a strong chance Chien-Ming Wang returns to the Nationals in 2012 if he continues providing quality outings down the stretch.
- The Marlins could take a run at C.J. Wilson if the money doesn’t get crazy, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes (on Twitter).
- Top Marlins executives will start preparing for the 2012 season Wednesday, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports.
- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen met with slumping slugger Adam Dunn today to discuss a reduction in playing time, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
No one, the Washington Nationals included, expected Adam Dunn to be this unproductive in 2011. The slugger, whose home run hitting ability seemed all but automatic from 2004-10, has an unexpectedly low .161/.294/.296 line with only 11 home runs this year. If the Nationals had anticipated this kind of dropoff for Dunn, they wouldn’t have maintained interest in him for as long as they did.
A year ago this time, Washington was still considering the possibility of extending Dunn, who was having a characteristically strong season and the plate on his way to free agency. After posting a .260/.356/.536 line with 38 homers, Dunn signed a four-year, $56MM deal with the White Sox, turning down overtures from rumored suitors such as Detroit and Oakland.
Because Dunn turned down the Nationals’ three-year offer to join the White Sox, the Nats obtained two compensatory draft picks in June. Last night they signed both of those picks, right-hander Alex Meyer, selected 23rd overall, and outfielder Brian Goodwin, selected 34th overall, in addition to their other top picks. By reaching deals with the 6’9” Meyer and Goodwin, a former Cape Cod League standout, the Nationals added significant talent to their system and even though the two players cost $5MM in total, Washington is already drawing praise for its aggressive approach.
The Nationals had interest in Dunn on a multiyear deal last year, so they were wrong about him just like the White Sox and many other teams (I was wrong, too). But their decision not to outbid Chicago turned out to be an excellent one. Instead of an expensive, positionless and now unproductive player, they added two potentially impactful prospects for a fraction of the price.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Another must-read column from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- Stark has updated his take on Carlos Quentin's availability. He says there is "increasing evidence the White Sox are talking to several teams about Quentin, one of which is believed to be Atlanta." An executive of a team that has talked to the Sox says that while they are not "bound and determined" to trade Quentin, they would do it.
- The Pirates are focused on finding a professional hitter, but aren't hot on Carlos Pena or Josh Willingham. They're eyeing the Twins' Jason Kubel, but GM Bill Smith considers his team a contender at six games out.
- Stark hasn't heard much that suggests the Braves are still bullpen shopping.
- The Indians are turning their attention to starting pitching, but players Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Jason Kipnis appear to be untouchable.
- The Astros continue to shop Wandy Rodriguez, and Stark wonders if he'll fit for the Yankees as a salary dump type.
- The White Sox dangled Adam Dunn. Dunn has over $48MM remaining on the four-year, $56MM deal he signed in December.
- The Reds have "stepped up their calls this week on controllable middle-of-the-order bats," although it's hard to name any available hitters of that nature.
Four teams are within five games of the American League Central lead. The Tigers and Indians are tied atop the division and the White Sox (4.5 games behind) and Twins (5.0 games behind) are within striking distance. Here's the latest...
- Slumping White Sox slugger Adam Dunn told Yahoo's Jeff Passan that he has contemplated quitting the game, though he can't imagine actually doing so. "I enjoy playing," Dunn said. "Even though I suck. Or have been sucking. I enjoy playing the game. Love it. But as soon as I lose that, I’m gone, dude. It’s true."
- White Sox starter Mark Buehrle confirmed to Passan that he would block trades to certain teams. The left-hander, who has ten and five rights, isn’t sure he’d want to remain with another team in 2012. If he gets traded, a clause in Buehrle’s contract causes a $15MM option to kick in for '12.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski made it clear that he's still looking for starting pitching, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.