Washington Nationals: Should They Sign Adam Dunn Long-Term?

The 2-year/$20 million dollar contract then-DC GM Jim Bowden offered Adam Dunn last February had the hallmarks of all the bad Bowden (pronounced bO-den) deals he'd made while running things in the nation's capital, following the trade for Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns, (both former Reds like Dunn), the signing of another Cincy project, Wily Mo Pena, and the two-year deals he gave to Ronnie Belliard, Dmitri Young and Cristian Guzman, and it came with no one in baseball willing to come close to what Washington was offering Dunn, which in the end is why the 29-year-old 40 HR/100 RBI "guarantee" eventually ending up signing in DC.

After five straight seasons of at least 40 HR's, Dunn fell short of forty last season, connecting on just 38 HR's in 159 games, though he came closer to a .400 OBP (.398) than he's come since he finished at .400 even in 2002 with the Reds. The 6'6'', 278lb Texas-born-and-raised left-handed slugger played left as long as they would let him last year, putting up a worst-ever UZR/150* of (-38.2) in 62 games in left field, with a slightly less unsightly (-25.0) UZR/150 in 67 games at first. (ed. note - "Don't ask about right field, it's in the (-40's) or something."), but he quickly endeared himself to the DC Faithful with the kind of power not seen since Frank Howard was turning RFK's seats white. The kind of HR's that have always kept fans in seats since the Senators of the 70's, waiting until that last AB's over just in case he sends one out...Which is why the Washington Nationals are considering signing Adam Dunn to an extension...

The idea first came up, publically at least, during the Washington Nationals' Hot Stove Lunch, when the team made the mistake (I'm kidding) of letting the fans ask the Nationals' GM, team President and several players anything they wanted in a public setting with members of the print, radio, tv and internet media in attendance. Of course, one enthusiatic Dunn fan asked DC GM Mike Rizzo, (as recounted by Washington Post writer Chico Harlan in a Nationals Journal article entitled, "Adam Dunn contract extension talk at Nationals hot stove lunch"), "...if there was a timetable to extend Dunn's contract, because," the fan continued, "we'd really like to see him retire as a National," and to the surprise of many, (including this intrepid repor...writ..blah..uh?), Mr. Rizzo responded:

"'It's something that we've discussed with Adam and his people...We had a little conversation this afternoon about it. ... Seriously, he's become one of the family. We love him here. He had a terrific season for us last year, he's one of the most consistent players in the league, and he's a guy that fits for us long-term.'"

(ed. note - "Seriously? Does the fact that Mr. Rizzo had to qualify not strike anyone else as humorous?")

At the time, Dunn cautioned that, "...it sounded a lot cooler up there than it really was," telling Mr. Harlan, "We're just getting everything going; kind of one of those deals." "One of those deals" today, became the 30-year-old incumbent first baseman telling Nationals Insider's Mark Zuckerman in a post entitled, "Dunn ready to commit", that he wants to remain a National beyond this year, and as Mr. Zuckerman writes, "...if Dunn had his way, he and the Nats would agree to a long-term extension before the club breaks camp."

It took Washington til the middle of April last year to finally agree on the deal that will keep Ryan Zimmerman in Washington through twenty-thirteen. Zimmerman signed a 5-year/$45 million dollar deal to affirm his commitment to being part of what DC GM Mike Rizzo and team President Stan Kasten are building. Does Adam Dunn fit into the Nationals' long-term plans? Wait, Rizzo just said he did. Before he signed in DC, Dunn was destined for retireme...uh, a DH role in the American League, how many more years will he be able to produce at this level? Shouldn't Rizzo get a bigger sample of his play at first before deciding? Is that mean? Should Washington sign Adam Dunn to an extension? How much will it take?

(ed. note - " * = I don't know if it was the worst ever, but it was atrocious.")

(ed. note - "If you haven't seen Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's post entitled, "Adam Dunn takes the mound", you should have clicked that link before finishing the sentence...because it looks like it might be Strasburg and Dunn, one and two in the rotation in 2011.")

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