Listed below, are the points and counterpoints about whether Adam Dunn can be a competent defensive first baseman:
Point: Yes, he is athletic enough to make the transition.
Counterpoint: No, he hasn't shown the ability to play any position well and it isn't going to start now.
P: Well, he is a former major-college quarterback.
CP: The Texas Longhorns were in the process of moving him to tight end. He would have ended up on the defensive line when it was all said and done.
P: One thing he always could do pretty well was catch the ball.
CP: Isn't that the main job?
P: Yes, but he has shown to be pretty good at digging balls out of the dirt.
CP: He will need to make the routine plays consistently.
P: In the big leagues, that can mean a lot of different things.
CP: Expectations are high. You don't want to give away outs at first base.
P: High throws are not going to be a problem for Dunn.
CP: The dude is tall.
P: He will be pretty good at turning potential throwing errors into outs.
CP: There is so much more to playing first base than that, though.
P: I'm not suggesting that he will be Keith Hernandez out there.
CP: I think the Nationals would be happy if he does not embarrass himself.
P: He won't. How well he catches the throws outweighs how he fields bunts or snags shots down the line.
CP: He won't be doing a lot of snagging shots down the line. Dunn has mobility issues.
P: Given his size, that is expected. Dunn is one of the largest men in MLB history.
CP: He also has stone hands.
P: I don't think that is fair.
CP: His instincts at first base are poor. He doesn't give the impression that he belongs there.
P: He is working on all of these concerns this spring.
CP: His best spot is in left field where there are only 3 or 4 plays per game and no long throws to make.
P: He will have a hard time anyway. Big guys like Mo Vaughn, Cecil Fielder, Frank Thomas and Frank Howard generally don't play the field very well. I think he will be better than those guys were.
CP: You don't set the bar very high. I don't think putting Dunn in a spot where he has to touch the ball double digit times every game is a good idea.
P: Dunn has only played 1,431 innings at first. He has not had a lot of experience. As he gets that, he will improve.
CP: Defense is the new offense. Teams are less likely to sign defensive liabilities like Dunn.
P: I suspect you are right but if he ends up with the Nationals long-term, he won't be a liability.
CP: I predict he will be a designated hitter next year.
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