Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dunn declines arbitration offer

Adam Dunn declined the Nationals' arbitration offer tonight, a procedural move that doesn't prevent the free agent first baseman from re-signing with Washington but does ensure the club will get draft pick compensation if he leaves.

The Nationals had submitted the arbitration offer last week. Dunn, like all current free agents, had until 11:59 p.m. tonight to either accept or decline the offer. Had he accepted, Dunn would have returned to Washington on a one-year contract, with an independent arbitrator determining his 2011 salary.

Dunn's decision to decline the offer guarantees the Nationals compensation if he ultimately signs with another team. Because the 31-year-old is classified as a Type A free agent, the Nats will get two 2011 draft picks as compensation. They'll get a "sandwich" pick between the first two rounds, and either a first-round or a second-round pick depending on which club signs Dunn.

The market for Dunn, who has averaged 40 homers and 101 RBI each of the last seven seasons, hasn't been as strong as the free agent originally hoped. The Tigers, expected to be one of his top pursuers, elected instead to sign Victor Martinez last week. The Cubs, another projected landing spot, are reportedly not willing to significantly increase payroll this winter. The White Sox, meanwhile, prefer to re-sign Paul Konerko.

That could ultimately leave the Nationals as Dunn's best option, unless another team steps forward with the four-year contract the slugger seeks. General manager Mike Rizzo has had a standing three-year offer on the table for months, though he has also been exploring cheaper alternatives at first base including Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche.


Ernie said...

After seeing the 4 year/$60 million report today, I'm waiting to see how that changes everyone's take on Rizzo's approach to re-signing Dunn this season. I want the guy back badly, but I can understand now why it never happened. I doubt he loses too much goodwill for a starting bid that high, but I'm guessing most of us will be more ready to accept his absence next year. For once it's not so much about the Lerners being cheap. (Waiting to be told by the usual suspects that it is, indeed, about the Lerners being cheap.)

If we lose Dunn and Willingham, I'm going to need someone to help me understand why I should not expect 2008-09 all over again. And please don't tell me that the difference is that our improved bullpen will turn all those 3 or 4 run losses into 1 or 2 run losses...

My mantra for 2011 will have to be: "At least Brian Bruney is gone. At least Brian Bruney is gone. At least Brian Bruney is gone."

Anonymous said...

I don't see where the Nats could make improvements through FA. I bet Rizzo feels he is set at all key positions except 1B. Even with SP, all starters are pretty much seem set and alternatives in FA market don't seem any better unless a trade is made. If Dunn does come back, this is going to be the exact same team as 2010 season. This sure isn't going to excite any fans. Outfield is suspect as well, but there really isn't much out there in the FA market. We can only hope Morse will be 30 HR guy next year.

My hope for what will happen...
(1) Trade Desmond, Detwiler and a minor leaguer for Zack Greinke(and sign him to extension)
(2) Sign Dunn/Pena for 1B
(3) Sign Hudson/Eckstein for 2B (while Lombardozzi is groomed for 2012)

Sam said...

Desmond, Detwiler, and a minor leaguer won't come close to getting Greinke. I'm pretty sure the Royals asked for Zimmermann to start.

I also don't think Eckstein or Hudson is an upgrade over Espinosa/Desmond at 2B.

Otherwise, I do agree with your post.

Anonymous said...

There absolutely zero chance that the Nats give up Zimmermann for any reason. I wouldn't be surprised if Willingham and cash(to pay Willingham's salary) is included in the deal for Greinke.

The proposal about acquiring Hudson for 2B was under the assumption that Espinosa will move to his natural position of SS, if Desmond is traded.
I do definitely agree that Hudson is not an improvement over Espinosa but I see it as a temporary fix.

JayB said...

Agreed on Zimmermann that is not what we need to do but trading Ian D and Danny E....yes that is just what is needed....Pitching and Defense win and Ian would be my choice to trade but if someone wants Danny instead we make that move too.

Same old over valuation of our players leads to no deals and no progress....team was very lucky they did not lose 100 games last year...it is looking like a major regression year and 95 losses is very possible with this roster without Dunn like bat and SS

Anonymous said...

Reposted from last night to be under the Dunn column - c'mon everybody, place your bets...

I've got a suggestion - instead of more conclusions about whether Dunn's ask is right, wrong, or indifferent, let's all place our bets on how much he'll sign for, how many years, who with, and bonus points for when it happens - then we can check back and see who wins when it happens. I'll throw in a special "fat screech" thingie I think I've got hanging around as a prize.

My money is on:
- 3 yrs/$36M/Nats/Jan. 15th

Despite the fact that I really don't want him here, I can't figure out who's going to take him now except for an AL club - and I just can't see Dunn following the money for that - he'll tell himself he always leave/be traded a couple of years from now if he figures out he just wants to be a DH.

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Should't the Nats do he right thing and give Zim the Tulo treatment so we cam at least have one feel good press conference this offseason!?

Mark said...

A few things here, 4 yrs and $60m seems fair to me. Until the Lerners spend some money, and field a MLB Team, they're still cheap to me.

No way Zimm gets the Tulo treatment (Lerners. Cheap.)!No way Zimm accepts it if the Nats tried.

As for Greinke, if I'm the Royals, I don't make a deal without Zimmermann or Storen and then add one of the middle infielders and Norris.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Mark @ 7:53.... You've got to be kidding! Victor Martinez signs for 4 years @ $50 Million and you think a glorified DH deserves 4 rears @ $60 Million????

Anonymous said...

I think Dunn's numbers are fair, I would have given them to him last March. But no one else, at least in the NL, seems willing to either. I am optimistic that Dunn returns to the Nats because I think he'll give up a year on the contract to stay in the NL. If he holds out too long, the Nats will go in another direction and he'll end up DH'ing for the Orioles or another AL also-ran. I also note that Dunn's numbers are unchanged from what Boswell reported Zimmerman had stated during last season.

I agree with the post above that suggests that Zimmerman should be given a Tulo contract. Zim should be a lifer here, and the Nats should act now -- not make him squirm through several seasons -- to insure that happens.

Anonymous8 said...

You all are on this Greinke thing. He is a #4 starter that is going to hit $13 million a year and the Royals ought to get some sucker team that can give him run support to make him look like a #2 starter.

The Nats need to stay away and keep the youth they have.

Rizzo shouldnt feel the pressure to do a deal unless it is a great deal.

I still think Dunn at 3 years $40 mill with a 1 year mutual option for a 4th year with some incentives tied in is a great deal for both sides.

Mark said...

Not kidding, VMart is a nice player. A nice player who has never hit more than 25 homers. Dunn has not hit less than 38 over the last 7 years... I know that there's more to baseball than hitting bombs. But Dunn is an offensive force. Sure, VMart is better defensively. And even VMart got a 4 year deal.

If the Nats had offered Dunn a 3 year extension for $14m per season, during the season, say in June, I think he would have taken it.

Anonymous said...

"If the Nats had offered Dunn a 3 year extension for $14m per season, during the season, say in June, I think he would have taken it."

According to Ladson and Phil Wood, they offered him roughly that at the trade deadline. He didn't take it.

Anonymous said...

Dunn's agent: "And we will start the bidding at 4 years $60 million."


Dunn's agent: "Anyone?.....4 years? $60 million?...Anyone?....Bueller?"

JD said...

4 years - 60 mil is ridiculous; Dunn is not the player VMart is; even if Vmart catches half the games his offense at that position makes him way more valuable than Dunn; and the Tigers over payed for VMart.

Calling Greinke a #4 starter is beyond ridiculous; this is a Cy Young award winner in the prime of his career who in a down year still had excellent secondary stats and @ 13 mil per for the next 2 years is a great value.

If you can package Desmond, Willingham and any pitcher not named Zimmermann or Storen to get Greinke you have to do it.

Sunderland said...

VMart is also a fairly lousy defensive catcher. MLB had more success stealing aginst him in 2010 than any other everyday catcher.
Martinez is also a year older than Dunn.
And there's no way anyone could consider Martinez as a superior fielding first baseman than Dunn.

It's just another example of why Dunn's 4/$60M is not delirious. If Victor Martinez is worth 4/$50M, then Dunn asking for 4/$60M is not that crazy.

Past 7 years Dunn plays everyday, averages a .370 OBP, averages 40 HR's.

Past 7 years Victor Martinez plays about 130 games, averages a .375 OBP ,averages 20 HR's.

The pluses for VMart:
Switch hitter, hits lefties real well.
He plays catcher (but poorly).
He hits for a higher batting average.

The pluses for Dunn:
Left handed bat
Higher SLG / More HR's
Plays everyday
Career .941 OPS v righties (which is about 70% of AB's)

NatsJack in Florida said...

So you're saying the Tigers blew it taking V-Mart over Dunn.


Bowdenball said...

I brought up the idea of a Tulo-like extension in the comments yesterday or the day before. Mark's sense- Mark, feel free to correct- was that the Nats would love to do it (who wouldn't?) but that Zimm is going to wait until he sees real steps being made towards winning before he locks himself down past 2013. The idea, I imagine, is that he wants to know for sure that he's not tying himself to the Pirates of the NL East for another decade.

Sunderland said...

No no NatsJack, not saying the Tigers blew it. Players are signed to fill needs. They made their call, good for them.

Just saying that baseball contracts are so screwy and unpredictable that Dunn's 4/$60 request is not as crazy as some think.

Most think De la Rosa for 3/$32M is nuts. Maybe it is, but that's what he's basicaly getting.

So Dunn's 4/$60M may seem nutty, but in the world of modern baseball, and at $10M+ cheaper than Texiera, Howard (and soon Pujols), I'm just suggesting that Dunn request is not off base. Seems like the right place for an agent to start the negotiation.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

The only guys who know what was offered to Dunn and when are Rizzo, Kasten and the Lerners. Maybe they offered him 3/36 during the season, maybe not. According to Boswell, they eventually offered him 3/30 in September.

As for Ladson, read his "column" - he is a tool and has been bashing Dunn all year. As for Phil Wood, I want to like Phil Wood, I feel that he's really a huge baseball fan. But he's the kind of guy who knows that he's right and is not interested in anyone's opinion. Go to his MASN blog, post a contradictory, but polite counterpoint to one of his blogs. See if he prints it.

Neither Ladson nor Wood have any journalistic credibility on this issue. They're just repeating rumors the same as everyone here.

Pilchard said...

There is reason why not one of the 30 MLB teams have offered Dunn anything close to 4 years at $60 million. He is not worth it. Not many teams were interested in Dunn the last time he was a free agent. Netting out the pluses and minuses with Adam Dunn, he is not a $15 million/year player, nor is he a player that should get a 4 year deal.

Dunn hits home runs and walks a lot; that is it. He also is a base clogger, a horrid defensive player and strikes out at historic rates. He also does not have a body that is likely to age well. Unlike Ryan Zimmerman, hard to see Dunn as a building block that will lead the Nats to playoff contention.

If the Nats sign Dunn, it will be (and should be) on their terms not Dunn's as there are other less expensive options that allow the Nats to invest elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

LOL! The Nationals will not invest anywhere else. Who are they going to give a $12M contract to this year on the FA market? Sure they might pay a few million to Pena and a bench guy but if they don't sign Dunn, the Lerners use the majority of the "savings" to pay down "debt."

Mark said...

I don't have a specific problem with the Nats not signing Dunn. My problem is that they I expect that the Nats will not replace him with a better (or as good) player. I fear that they'll slot in Mike Morse and leave the OF to Willingham, Morgan and Bernadina.

Which, IMO, makes the Nats below MLB average at 3 key positions: 1B, RF, and CF.

Not resigning Dunn is part of the Nats not progressing as a team.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that we'll hear stories about how the "savings" will go toward international signings or the draft or some other nonsense that has been peddled before. We'll also hear a lot more terms like "budget" and "value." And of course we'll hear "build through draft" and "plan" and some future date that will be forgotten when that date happens. Will the Nationals get better? With this many bad years and high draft picks, there is no doubt that they will, but my friends we are on the TB Rays time-line. They began to take the draft seriously in 2008 I believe (even with the Aaron Crow debacle), so wait till 2018.

JaneB said...

If they don't get Dunn back, we have a WORSE team than we had last year. There's nothing we can get (Cliff Lee) on the FA market to help us, and all other 1B options are not near as good as Dunn. So....once again... AT LEAST
Sign. Adam. Dunn.
Maybe its the rain and wind, but I'm falling into the "we're screwed again" camp, as far as prospects for improving the team goes. I so hope I am wrong.

Theophilus said...

Martinez is a very flawed player -- as a catcher, as a DH (very average power, productivity [runs produced]), injury issues, older. So his deal makes Dunn's request seem reasonable.

Except: length of contract. No guarantees Dunn will be as productive in 2014 or 2015 as he is today; good possibility Nats will produce a comparable replacement (Moore, Norris or maybe [less likely] Marrero) at a much more affordable salary in the 2013-2014 time frame. Harper @ 35 HR/yr; Ramos and/or Norris and Espinosa @ 20+ makes Dunn's power more expendable.

So, to the Nats, Dunn is not worth four years and $60 MM.

I've always been convinced Dunn's market in the National League -- teams that don't have an alternative at FB -- is Houston and Pittsburgh. SF resigned Huff; Colorado tied up megabucks in Tulowitzki and must soon spend more $$ on Gonzalez. Why would he want to sign in those places?

American League teams historically don't spend big $$ on designated hitters. E.g., V. Guerrero at $6 MM for this year. (Which is why White Sox are wrestling w/ Konerko. If they aren't going to pay what he's asking, why would they pay it to Dunn?)

I'm convinced Dunn's best deal -- the deal that's in his best interests -- is here. So, sign him here for three years, $42 MM, and a team option for say $10 MM in the fourth year. Plus, Milwaukee and San Diego may open up as trade opportunities in 2011-12.

Wally said...

(a) VMart got his deal because the Tigers are willing to catch him for 60-80 games a year, at least for the next 2-3 years. So that offensive looks great there. In that context, his contract still looks too high, but not nuts for that role. He does not get anything remotely like it as a full time 1B or DH. Dunn is superior in almost all respects purely looking at hitting. Dunn's leaked contract position (if true) also isn't completely nuts, but I have my doubts whether he gets it. Huff, VMart (to a degree), Big Papi's option exercise all serve as tangential data points. My guess is that he gets close to $15m per, but not the length. The Nats best chance is that no one wants to even do 3 guaranteed years. I am betting the under on that, tho, because ...
(b) I am inclined to believe Boz's report that the Nats offered 3/$30m. I think that Harper's take over at Nationals Baseball from a while ago is right - Rizzo doesn't really want him back at all, I guess because of the defensive issue, and has managed this relationship to lose him but not completely piss off the fans by being able to say 'I tried, but he didn't really want to stay, it was about the money'. I wouldn't have made that same decision (I would bring him back, 1B defense isn't that critical), but willing to defer to his judgment, but then they really should have taken the best offer at the July deadline. Hudson would have been the best, I even prefer Jackson to the picks (and I don't really like Jackson)
(c) they really have to add a few significant pieces for next year, right? We can't be expected to enjoy watching this current team, can we?

natsfan1a said...

I'm not surprised at this development. Why wouldn't Dunn want to test the market at this point (rhetorical)? I'll leave the speculation as to what he is/isn't worth to others. I'm definitely not enthused about the idea of a Dunn-less lineup, but that's out of my control.

Anonymous said...

Tulo is committing himself to the Rockies for better or for worse, if Zim was a standup guy he would do the same and say he wants to be a Nats forever and play for only one team, like Cal, Jeter, now Tulo and that means a lot to him, Virginia is his home, charity work etc etc.

section3mysofa said...

We have known this day was coming since the trade deadline passed.
Bit if the Nats don't want him at first, with no proven alternative, who else would, at that price?
I guess we'll see.

s3ms said...

Well, if this were the Rox roster, maybe Zimm would be a little more inclined to do so. He doesn't want to be this generation's Ernie Banks, so sue him. But impugning his integrity is way out of line.

Anonymous said...

A's Met With Adam Dunn Yesterday
By Ben Nicholson-Smith

Lance Berkman isn't the only slugger who met with the A's yesterday. They also met with Adam Dunn and are a serious suitor for the slugger, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Both meetings took place in Houston.

Dunn, a Type A free agent who declined arbitration, will cost a top draft pick. Oakland's first round pick is protected, but the A's would have to surrender their second rounder to the Nationals if they sign Dunn.

Mark said...

No surprise the poster taking a shot at Zimm's integrity would be an anonymous poster.

Anonymous said...

How about offering Tony Gwynn Jr and Scott Hairston invites to Spring Training, who knows they could help the bench and cannot be worse than JMAX and Willie Harris!

Adam Dunn said...

why not take shots at the supposed face of the franchise for not wanting to be part of the franchise!?

Andrew said...


Interesting read.

Anonymous said...


The risk Rizzo is taking by wanting the draft picks seems like the best move for the Nats. Consider that the #3, #4 prospects and arms in the system are already Cole and Ray? Both out of high school. Consider the success (until injury) for Zimmermann, Strasburg and Storen.

Rizzo knows what to do with draft picks. Taking risks on FA's like Wang and Marquis (and Webb) seem more likely to burn them than the draft picks at this juncture and given the current FO. If Rizzo and braintrust come away from the June 2010 draft with 4 or 5 top notch pitching prospects? It definitely improves this club far more than re-upping Dunn. It just takes time the caveat is that Dunn's entertainment value in spite of losing close to 100 games helps make the wait palatable.

With those extra draft picks and Rizzo et al picking them the wait can be dramatically shortened.

You have to wait and let Rizzo et al do what they do best. It's past time to field teams of Bowden FA's to make the club look attractive to potential buyers or current owners, and yes even the fan base.

Its time to do things the right way.

Anonymous said...

Hmm looks again like Dave Huzzard said it best? Second time in less than a week?

I want to explain something funny that happened to me last night. When I got home I turned on the MLB Network and there were Mitch Williams, Ken Rosenthal, and a couple other guys talking about the Nationals, and to my surprise they were positive. They talked about a team with a lot of young talent, and a team that was headed in the right direction. I wonder if they meant some other Nationals, but no they talked about Zimmerman, and Harper, and Storen. So, I wonder to myself if we are standing behind the tapestry yelling at the knots to be beautiful while those on the outside are admiring the weaved pattern.

In other words, shut it. Quit whining and let the man do his job. Many like to quote Rizzo and how he seemed to back away from his goal of getting a bonafide #1 ace this offseason. But he also stated, not too long ago, that in 2006 when he first came this franchise/system looked worst than the Diamondbacks in their first year of expansion.

Its going to take some time to first, rebuild the farm system. The positive perspective which surprisingly came from the MLB network should be available for your perusal in Potomac and perhaps Harrisburg this coming year.

But, its all about pitching. Those additional draft picks for Dunn should help fill the cupboard with what is needed most in the system. Top rung starting pitching.

Mark said...

The MLB network talking heads don't have to pay to watch these games.

Harper? Great. we'll see him in 2012 or 2013.
Zimmermann has 23 MLB starts and isn't guaranteed stardom.

This team still has way too many holes at the MLB level.

No one is saying to not rebuild the Farm System. Of course, they need to do that.

But the Nats should also be addressing the MLB product on the field and they need to do better by spending closer to the MLB average to field a better team while the farm system can be given time (under less pressure) to produce a steady flow of MLB-ready prospects.

Keithcu said...

@ Andrew

Great article -- thanks for the link. The article hints at something that few people talk about -- Dunn's lack of clutch hitting. I think that's why people don't like/sign Dunn. It's not the Bad defense or all those Ks. It's knowing that opponents can just bring in a lefty specialist whenever Dunn bats in a key spot, and Dunn will strike out. It's one of the big reasons that the Nats were so bad at comebacks over the last couple years.

I'm increasingly agreeing that 3 years, $35 million is the highest the Nats should go. Hopefully, he'll take it.

hondo69 said...

Fellow Nats fans, what does the abbreviation "IIRC" mean?

I'm an old-timer and I've figured out most of the other ones, but have no idea what this one stands for.


Richard said...

Interestingly, as someone mentioned yesterday, the Morosi article referenced above didn't even mention the Nats as a possibility re the final destination for the big man. Very morosi thinking about that.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon @2:42,

Rhetorical question: When did the Nats decide to hire a full FO staff to find good prospects in the draft? Last year you say? I think some people on this board are forgetting their history lesson. The 'plan' didn't start until 2010, the first real draft by Rizzo. When you ignore the system for over 10 years, which includes 4 by the Lerners, and trade away all of your best prospects in the Colon deal your farm will suck! Meanwhile the fans were spoon-fed the malarkey that the 'plan' would be ready by 2010. And you wonder why people are upset?!? Maybe you need to 'shut it.'

Anonymous said...

Hondo, IIRC means If I Remember Correctly.

Jeeves said...

Exactly, Keithcu. Always been my contention.

DC Tom said...

I still kinda think that what'll happen is that Dunn will get his best-and-final offer from another (likely AL) team, bring it back to Rizzo, and Rizzo will match it and add some kind of mutual or performance-based vesting option for the fourth year.

I don't think that the fourth year should be as big a hurdle as it seems. Is committing to spend $10M now to have a 34-year old Dunn be your first baseman that big of a deal? Would it be that bad of an albatross?

Not really. The question is not, "Will Dunn be worth $10M in 2014?" The fact is, you have to have a first baseman. The question is one of marginal cost of Dunn, that is, "How much more will I be paying Dunn in 2014 than the first baseman I'd otherwise have to sign and play?"

First baseman salaries are the highest of all position players -- $7.4M for regular first basemen in 2009 (last year I could find). If you assume a player salary rate of inflation of 5%, that would be an average 1B salary of $9.4 million in 2014. Would paying $10-12M for a 34-year old Dunn in 2014 all that unreasonable? A risk, yes, but not ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

In the short run, the Nats don't improve by subtracting Dunn's offensive performance with one exception: They sign a bat (or bats) that replace his numbers and production. If he leaves, the Nats simply have to replace that offense. If not, then all of the criticism of the FO and owners becomes spot-on and largely beyond dispute. fpcsteve

hondo69 said...

Anon@3:52pm -- Thanks!

Sec3MySofa said...

"why not take shots at the supposed face of the franchise for not wanting to be part of the franchise!?"
For the record, because it's chicken[bleep].

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