Nats GM Mike Rizzo joined Johnny Holliday and I on "Nats Xtra" this afternoon. He spoke mainly about the recent improved performance of righthander Jason Marquis, but I had to ask him about what figures to be a major off-season decision.
Is re-signing first baseman Adam Dunn a dead issue at this point?
"No, it's certainly not a dead issue" he said. "We realize we need a thumping first baseman that can hit fourth. We'd like it to be Adam Dunn. We're in conversations."
On the one hand, it was the perfect answer. On the other hand, I'm beginning to understand the thought process that goes into decisions like this.
It's very easy for a fan to sit back and think "hey, this club offered Mark Teixiera $188 million dollars. Surely they can find $50 million to offer Dunn..."
It's not quite that simple. The Nationals, by this time, surely know what Adam Dunn's value is to the ballclub. What he brings to the table offensively has a specific value. Is that value diminished by his less-than-gold-glove skills at first? Probably, but not as much as you might think. Are his intangibles - his clubhouse presence, etc - worth much? That's not even debatable, though putting a specific dollar value on that is difficult.
Personally, I hope he stays. He's gt the same kind of charisma that Frank Howard had here 40 years ago. More than likely he'll hit 500 home runs in the big leagues, and it would be great to see it happen in Washington. He's shown a willingness to work on his defense, though there's a ceiling on that type of improvement that we all need to acknowledge.