Adam Dunn is a better addition to the Washington Nationals than Mark Teixeira is to the New York Yankees. Dunn is an incredibly underrated player, and when you factor in the contracts that each player signed this offseason, Dunn becomes even more attractive.
In fact, the Yankees would have been better off signing Adam Dunn and letting Teixeira sign with his hometown Nationals.
Adam Dunn signed a two-year, $20,000,000 contract with the Nationals.
Mark Teixeira signed an eight-year, $180,000,000 contract with the Yankees.
For that price difference, Teixeira has to be much better than Dunn. Much better. Much, much better. To justify being on the hook for an extra $160,000,000, Teixeira simply has to dramatically out-produce Dunn.
The thing is, Teixeira hasn't.
Let's take a closer look at each player and their production over the past five years.
Dunn is six months older than Teixeira, so age isn't a factor. Each player is 29 years old and should be in the prime of his career. The major difference is that the Nationals are paying Dunn for his production for only two seasons—when Dunn will be 29 and 30 years old. On the other hand, the Yankees are going to be paying Teixeira when he's 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36 years old.
Not only are the Yankees going to be paying Teixeira when he's on the downside of his career, they're going to be paying him twice as much money as the Nationals are paying Dunn for the prime of his career.
But let's forget about that fact for now. Let's just focus on the next two seasons—when Teixeira will be getting $12,500,000 per season more than Dunn.
Both players have proved to be durable—Dunn has averaged 158 games per year since 2004, and Teixeira has averaged 151 games per year during the same time period.
Teixeira definitely hits for a higher average than Dunn (a .296 average since 2004, as compared to Dunn's .249). But when it comes to the all-important on-base percentage, it's really pretty much a wash.
Teixeira has averaged a .386 OBP since 2004, while Dunn has an OBP of .382. So over the course of a 162-game season, Teixeira is getting an extra $12,500,000 for getting on base three or four more times than Dunn.
Let me repeat that. Three or four times per year. For an extra $12,500,000.
Those better be four valuable bases.
When you examine the numbers even further, the difference between the two players becomes even more apparent. Over the past five seasons Teixeira has averaged 96 singles, 38 doubles, one triple, 35 HRs, and 80 walks. During the same time period Dunn has averaged 69 singles, 28 doubles, one triple, 40 HRs, and 111 walks.
So via singles and walks, Dunn and Teixeira both get to first base about the same number of times.
Teixeira hits about 10 doubles more per year, and Dunn hits about five more HRs per year. Think about that. Ten extra doubles for Teixeira, and five extra HRs for Dunn. That's the exact same number of total bases!
Because Teixeira does hit more singles than Dunn, he drives in more runs. Teixeira has averaged 118 RBI since 2004, and Dunn has averaged exactly 100 RBI per season. So Teixeira has proved to be a slightly better run producer than Dunn; let's give him that. The key word being slightly.
But once they get on base, they revert to being virtually identical. Teixeira has averaged 100 runs scored since 2004, and Dunn has averaged 98 runs scored. The perception is that Dunn is a big, lumbering lug—when in reality Dunn steals more bases than Teixeira, and runs the bases just as well. Teixeira also hits into about five more double plays than Dunn each season.
So Teixeira is getting on base four more times per season, but he's also hitting into five more double plays than Dunn. Again, pretty much a wash.
Sure, Teixeira is a better defensive player than Dunn. There's no question about that.
But the thing is, last time I checked the New York Yankees played in the American League—where you can use a DH. Dunn is a classic DH. If you can play Dunn at DH, then he becomes even more of a bargain.
Teixeira is a very good player. But Dunn is no slouch.
So in summary, for an extra $12,500,000 in 2009 and 2010, the Yankees will be getting a very good defensive first baseman, four extra times on base, 17 more RBI, and two more runs scored. For $12,500,000. Does that sound like a good deal?
Wouldn't it have made more sense to bring back Doug Mientkiewicz if having a strong defensive first baseman was so important?
Now we can factor in the fact that the Yankees have committed to Teixeira for six more years after 2010.
Adam Dunn is a better value than Mark Teixeira. Much better value.