Despite an uproar by Nats fans to Adam Dunn leaving for the Chicago White Sox, baseball expert Jim Callis thinks it is the right move for the Nationals in the long term.
“I think it makes sense,” says the executive editor of Baseball America.
“Could Adam Dunn help them next year, certainly. When you are looking long term, the Nationals still aren’t ready to contend. So what Adam Dunn would have done for your 2011 team would have been irrelevant.”
It is obvious Dunn is, and can continue to be, consistent at the plate.
“The guy is pretty much money in the bank with 38-to-40 homers a year, with 100 RBI and a bunch of walks,” Callis said. “Although, the walks were down in 2010.
“And he is on the other side of 30 years of age now. The thing that worries me about the bigger, less athletic players is when they go, they go quick.”
One example of a player that lost his power quickly was slugger Mo Vaughn.
“When Mo Vaughn went, he went over night,” Callis said. “I don’t think Adam Dunn looks quite like Mo Vaughn. But sometimes when (these big guys) lose some athleticism and bat speed then it is all over quick.”
Callis agrees the Nats would be better next season with Dunn in the lineup, but at what long term price?
“When they are ready to contend, would you rather have the draft picks and not have to commit to Adam Dunn for four years?” asks Callis.
At this juncture in his career, Callis feels Dunn is best suited to be a designated hitter in the American League.
“I don’t know whether or not he is going to do that with the White Sox,” Callis said. “But the Nats are a National League team and he is essentially a guy that needs to DH. As good as he is offensively, he is a negative on defense, he takes something away defensively. He is not going to get more athletic and become a better defensive player.
“By the time the Nats are ready to contend, Adam Dunn might not be the guy we are looking at today.”
Callis also noted that Dunn’s on-base percentage was way down in 2010.
“Look at last year, he was usually good for 100 to 110 walks and he dropped to just 77 walks and probably had close to the lowest on-base percentage of his career (.356 was 2nd lowest to .354 in 2003 with Reds),” Callis said.
With Dunn heading to the Windy City, the Nats get two selections because Adam Dunn is a Type A free agent, which would mean picks 23 and 34.
The Nationals already own the sixth pick in the 201 draft thanks to their 69-93 record. With the White Sox acquisition of Dunn, The Nats get Chicago’s 23 selection. With 33 picks in first round, the Nationals would also get a top sandwich pick between the first and second rounds, essentially selection 34. So, the Nats are likely to have three of the top 34 overall picks in 2011 amateur draft.
So, Dunn is gone. The next question is: can the Nationals get good value in a strong draft for the selections at 23 and 34? And, where will they make up the numbers Dunn provided offensively the last two seasons?
Hear the complete analysis of the Dunn signing in Chicago plus my interviews with John Lannan and Josh Willingham on nationals360.com and at 1:00 p.m. Sunday on Federal News Radio, 1500 AM.