Several sources (Fox’s Ken Rosenthal and the Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Cowley) say the White Sox are working hard to pry Adam Dunn away from the Washington Nationals, but aren’t having much success due to the Nationals’ exorbitant asking price. Reportedly, the Nats want Carlos Quentin or Gordon Beckham, both of whom the ChiSox are understandably reluctant to trade away.
However, the White Sox have apparently offered up just about anyone else in their farm system, including 1B/3B Dayan Viciedo and RHP Daniel Hudson.
If the Nats could get both Viciedo and Hudson straight up for Dunn, it’s a trade the Nationals should make.
We all know Dunn can hit a ton, but his defense is widely regarded as terrible. Also, he’s now 30 years old, and given his size (he’s listed at 6’6″ and 285 lbs), he’s not a player I would expect to age well.
Dunn is expensive already, and after the season he’s having, it’s certain the Nationals will have to pony up far more than the $12 million they are paying him this year to keep him. Meanwhile, the Nationals are going nowhere (they’re 14.5 back in the NL East and in last place), so it’s not like Dunn is doing a whole lot for the team right now.
Dunn is also redundant. He and LF Josh Willingham are roughly the same age (Willingham is nine months older) and have almost identical skill sets. Dunn is the better player, but that means he will bring considerably more in trade. In addition, Willingham is cheaper (he’s only making $4.6 million this year and will make considerably less than Dunn next season, no matter what kind of a raise Willingham receives).
Viciedo and Hudson are Grade-A prospects.
Dayan Viciedo is a 21-year-old Cuban defector who looks extremely promising. After 44 major league at-bats this year, he’s hitting .295 with a .773 OPS, after posting an .855 OPS in 238 ABs at AAA Charlotte. He doesn’t walk much, but he can clearly hit and he has adapted very quickly in only his second season playing professionally in the U.S.
The biggest question with Viciedo is whether he’s really only 21-years-old, since he’s already listed as 5’11″ and 240 lbs, and historically it’s been difficult to verify if Cuban defectors are as young as they claim to be.
Twenty-three year old Dan Hudson also looks extremely close. He went 11-4 at AAA Charlotte this year with a 3.47 ERA and great strikeout to walk ratios. Hudson is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA after two major league starts this month.
I like Viciedo as the center piece of an Adam Dunn trade better than Hudson, mainly because of the greater likelihood a pitcher has of getting hurt before he develops into a star. If the White Sox won’t part with both Viciedo and Hudson, then a trade for Viciedo and two solid Grade-B prospects for Dunn would still make sense for the Nationals.
Even if the Nationals continue to wildly overvalue Dunn, there is nothing stopping them from trying to bring him back to D.C. this coming off-season as a free agent after his current two-year contract has expired. In the meantime, the Nationals could sure use the infusion of premium young talent they’d receive by trading Dunn to the White Sox right now.