Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Punctuation Mark

For months the argument has raged throughout NatsTown, should Our Washington Nationals re-sign Adam Dunn?

Fans have teetered on both sides. Some believe his offensive production can't be matched on the free agent market this winter. Others believe his defensive liabilities at 1st Base can't be overcome. Washington's Franchise Player, Ryan Zimmerman, has publicly come out on the contract extension side, stating he wants Adam Dunn back in a Nats Uniform for the next few years.

Our General Manager Mike Rizzo says he wants Adam Dunn back in D.C.

Our Number 44 claims he wishes to be here too?

Yet, no deal has been consummated. So why not?

If Adam Dunn has any pull from the player's perspective, last night at Nationals Park he provided what Sohna immediately called--The Punctuation Mark. A bottom of the 9th, game winning, walk-off homer to defeat The Philadelphia Phillies 2-1. All on the very evening Mr. Walk Off himself, The Z-Man, celebrated his 26th birthday and Our Washington Nationals handed out Mr. Walk Off Tee-Shirts to the first 10,000 to enter the park.

Say what you want about Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena possibly being interested in signing as a free agent with D.C.'s Team come 2011. Or the continuing rumors concerning Philadelphia's Jayson Werth heading to D.C. to play right field. But remember, there are no power hitting, rbi men available for pure offense better than Adam Dunn this off-season. Pena and Werth can't do what Adam can--strike fear in the opposing pitcher and manager each and every time they step to the plate.

Is Dunn streaky? Yes.

Is his defense suspect at times? Definitely.

Can Our Washington Nationals work around such a deficiency? Absolutely.

Look, unless you can find a better option out there for the short term--and we are talking two to three years here on the contract--why not re-sign Adam Dunn? He's not the perfect player, but few are anyway. Clearly, the guy is popular in the clubhouse. Adam's got the backing of Washington's Franchise player. The majority of D.C. fans seem to love Dunn too.

"Sign Adam Dunn!!" is consistently heard now at Nationals Park.

So, what's the problem? What's the hangup?

Well, like everything, it's apparently about money. But it's also about value.

If Adam Dunn doesn't wish to be an American League Designated Hitter, his options to play National League Baseball are limited if he heads to free agency. Will The Mets with Ike Davis at 1st Base be interested in his services? No. Ryan Howard in Philly? No. Joey Votto in Cincinnati? No. Albert Pujols in St. Louis? No. Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego? No. Prince Fielder in Milwaukee? No. Or even Aubrey Huff (a free agent but relatively cheap) in San Francisco? No.

None of those seven N.L. teams are probably interested in Adam Dunn.

The Marlins, The Pirates, The Dodgers and The Diamondbacks have financial or rebuilding issues to deal with. None of those four are probably going to sign Adam Dunn either. That leaves Colorado, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta--along with Washington--as possible suitors of Dunn's services in 2011.

The Cubs are reshaping themselves after the sale of the team from Tribune Corp. to The Ricketts Family. They've been purging salary. Do you think they are willing to add more payroll to sign Dunn while trying to unload Alfonso Soriano? We doubt it. The chances of Adam becoming a Cubbie seem slim.

The Rockies have been perennial division contenders the past few seasons. Their offense has some great pieces in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. At Coors Field, Adam Dunn might hit 60 home runs. The Rox long-time All-Star 1st Baseman, Todd Helton, is 37 years old and nearing the end of his productive years. The chances Colorado might be interested in Adam's services--maybe pretty good.

Houston is Dunn's home town. The Astros are rebuilding too. This N.L. Central Team has fewer core parts in place than Washington. Would he accept a hometown discount to call Texas his home year round? Doubtful, since Dunn is 30 years of age, he's probably also looking for someone with a better chance to be a contender.

A position where Atlanta perennially is in the playoff hunt. The Braves' Derrek Lee is a free agent after this season. Would Lee consider returning to The Cubs? Derrek Lee is 35 years old. He's a better fielder than Dunn, but his offensive numbers have been down for this season--due to injuries.

Realistically, Adam Dunn may have the Rockies, Astros, Braves and Nationals to choose from this off-season if he wishes to continue playing in The National League. No one else is likely to be interested in his services. So what's Dunn waiting for and what are Our Washington Nationals thinking right now as this season comes to a close?

Adam Dunn referenced his credentials last night with a walk-off home run against The Philadelphia Phillies. The question remains whether Our Washington Nationals wish to make a punctuation mark of their own by re-signing Our Number 44 to a contract extension.

P.S.--Where was the curtain call on Dunn's 38th Home Run of 2010? Every Nationals Fan still in attendance wanted it. But Adam kept his head down and went directly to the dugout, briefly talked with Debbi Taylor for MASN and never reappeared again.

Photo Nats320--All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

paul said...

Anyone suspect Contreras of serving up that gopher ball on purpose? (Did any of the Phillies want to play extras the day after clinching?)

On another note, I think there is a reason no successful team has had a player with anywhere near Dunn's number of K's/season. Despite the "fear factor," that player is too often a black hole in the lineup.

I suspect Dunn will sign cheaply, and I don't blame the Nats for holding out.