Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Should the Nationals Give Adam Dunn a Contract Extension?

What should the Nationals do with Adam Dunn?

On one hand, many view Dunn as one of the Nationals' best trade chips. Dunn is signed through the 2010 season for $12 million and could be an attractive power option for an American League team. From 2004-2008, Dunn hit 40 home runs in each season and slugged 38 home runs last year with the Nationals. Aside from his power, Dunn is known for his ability to do three things: walk, get on base, and strikeout.

The Nationals were the worst team in baseball this season and it will be years before the team is even close to competing. What's the point in having a premier power hitter for one season if the team is gonna stick anyway. The Nationals can lose with Dunn, so they sure as hell can lose without him. Besides, Dunn is one of the worst fielders in the majors and NEEDS to be in the American league. The free agent market is lacking hitters with Dunn's power ability, which means that the Nationals could get a nice package in return for Dunn.

On the other hand, maybe the Nationals should view Dunn not as a trading chip, but instead as a building block. Dunn is turning 30 years old in November and should have a number of very productive offensive seasons ahead of him. With Dunn on board, the Nationals offense improved in nearly every category and Ryan Zimmerman put together the best season of his young career. In addition, the Nationals have the makings of dynamic offensive core with Dunn, Zimmerman, Willingham, and Nyjer Morgan. Once the pitching gets up to par, watch out, because this offense has the potential to be lethal.

Remember, if the Nationals were to lock up Adam Dunn to an extension, what would the contract terms have to be? The Nationals got a bargain last offseason when they signed Dunn to a 2 year/$20 million dollar contract and there is no way Dunn would settle for anything like that again. Would 5 years/$70 million be reasonable? How about 4 years/$56 million? Would the Nationals feel comfortable committing four-five years to a defensive liability?

What do you think the Nationals should do?

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estuartj said...

The answer to this question may have more to do with Chris Marerro's performance in AFL than anything about Dunn himself.

If the team feels that Marerro is ready to step up to the big, both with the bat and the glove, in 2010 then Dunn can be traded at the best possible time (either this off-season - doubtful - or before the trade deadline, it is also possible to let him play out his contract and offer arbitration to get the 2 draft picks - he might accept, but likely would prefer FA and a chance to go to a winner than play out a one year deal with the Nats.

Jorge Says No! said...

That's a great point about Marrero. Best case scenario for the Nats in this case is if Marrero has a great couple months in the minors this year and Dunn produces as well, which would allow them to trade Dunn and let Marrero play.