Why Signing Adam Dunn Is Smarter Than You Think

Rob KildooContributor IFebruary 12, 2009

It finally happened. Adam Dunn is a Washington National. The deal made too much sense not to happen.  The Nats' GM has always been a big Dunn fan and was GM of the Reds as Dunn grew into one of the best power-hitters in the game.

Dunn signed for two-years, $20 Million in what was a surprising signing. Surprising that a contender didn't have room for Dunn on their team. Dunn's OPS+ is always well above league average and hitting 40 homers exactly for four straight years is actually pretty incredible.

Yes, he's not the greatest fielder. Yes, his average is pretty poor. But he does two things very well: his OBP is basically over .370 ever year, and he hits the crap out of the ball.

Everyone overvalues average quite a bit, a hitter's job, fundamentally is not to make outs. Dunn does that extremely well. 

Just look at Dunn's similar batters through age 28:

  1. Darryl Strawberry (920)
  2. Jose Canseco (906)
  3. Harmon Killebrew (902) *
  4. Rocky Colavito (895)
  5. Reggie Jackson (889) *
  6. Troy Glaus (867)
  7. Tom Brunansky (865)
  8. Barry Bonds (861)
  9. Roger Maris (859)
  10. Boog Powell (859)

Some mighty impressive names on that list. 

Here's why this signing is better than you think. Getting Dunn signed to a short contract where can be an exciting new addition is great. He'll play 1B (I assume) to limit his liability. So far so good.

He's going to be a valuable trade chip, mark my words. In Baseball, teams aren't allowed to trade draft picks, and the Nats don't have a lot of assets to kick-start their farm system. 

For the price of $10 million, the Nats have aquired themselves a valuable trade chip at the deadline for the inevitable 1B/OF/DH injury to a contender. 

Since he's on a reasonable two-year deal, contenders will see more value in him as a six-month rental and thus will be willing to offer more in return. This Dunn signing gives the Nats a half year a good production and an option to turn the next year and a half into a couple of quality prospects to fill out the farm.

Bravo Nats. Bravo.