PDA

View Full Version : Bill Peterson in City Beat: Reds Need More Hitters Like Dunn, Not Fewer



redsmetz
05-28-2008, 05:35 PM
Walt needs to decided to be distracted during this season.

http://citybeat.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A145140


The Reds Need More Hitters Like Dunn, Not Fewer

BY Bill Peterson | Posted 05/28/2008

Whatever happens, Adam Dunn is going to be fine. The Reds can sign him to another contract or not. If not, he goes to a ball club of his choice, perhaps his hometown Houston Astros, who don't have a spot for him at the moment, or the New York Yankees, where he could be a star as their designated hitter.
It's really up to the Reds to decide their direction.

By the way, a month after the Reds dumped Wayne Krivsky and moved Walt Jocketty into the general manager's office, do you notice the difference? The same players are on the ball club, the same players aren't, and the club, 9-12 before Jocketty, is 14-16 with him.

The only true difference is that we have no idea about the club's intentions. With Krivsky, we knew they were rebuilding, even if the ownership didn't. With Jocketty, we're still waiting to see.

The best guess right now is that Jocketty also is waiting to see.

The next moves for this club will be connected to front office perception concerning its chances this year, and that matter remains open. Although the Reds carried losing records for 41 straight days at the close of business on May 25, they also remained within 6 1/2 games of the NL Central lead.

If the Reds make a move up the standings in the next six weeks, they have to keep Dunn, especially after club owner Bob Castellini has made such a passionate statement about winning now when he fired Krivsky. But they should keep Dunn anyway.

Hitters like Dunn don't come along all that often. If he's not an elite hitter in the class of Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez, the natural comparisons with past sluggers like Rob Deer and Dave Kingman also are unavailing. At 28, Dunn already has more career homers (251) than Deer (230), and Kingman was an out maker, which Dunn certainly isn't.

Even in the two weakest areas of his game, his left field defense and his strikeouts, Dunn is improving this year. He'll still strike out about 125 times and he'll have his bad days in the field, but Reds fans who fixate on those flaws are missing a pretty good hitter.

The defense still can improve in time. As far as the strikeouts, Dunn produces well more than enough to make up for it. There's so much to like about him as a hitter that it's hard to rationalize the Reds letting him walk as a free agent after this season.

Nobody likes to see a lot of strikeouts, but it's part of Dunn's game and they're not going away. Because he's 6-foot-6, he has a big strike zone and there's a lot of room in there for pitchers to get him out. And he runs deep counts looking for pitches he can rip. He's also among the league leaders in walks every year, which is quite an achievement considering the size of his strike zone.

One also wants to cut Dunn slack on the strikeouts because he almost never grounds into double plays. From the day he came up in 2001, Dunn has grounded into exactly 52 double plays. Pujols, who also is 28, has grounded into 145 double plays.

You can write Dunn down every year for 40 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored. He plays every day. One never hears about him begging out of the lineup against a tough left hander. You don't just send players like this packing, nor do you pretend to a sliver of a chance that you'll receive equal value in a trade.

It's true that Dunn is an expensive player to keep, but he's still worth keeping because his skills aren't going to diminish any time soon. He came to the major leagues with old player skills like home run power and strike zone judgement but without young player skills like foot speed. If the Reds lock up Dunn for another five years, they can expect substantially the same player because his skills won't decline.

Though discussion about whether the Reds should trade Dunn often is paired with talk about whether they should trade Junior Griffey, their circumstances aren't even approximately the same. Griffey is 38, his game is clearly on the down side and trading him to a contender is the decent act if the Reds don't climb into the race. Plus it's going to cost the Reds another $4 million to keep Griffey through the season, because that's the fee for buying out his $16.5 million option in 2009.

Dunn is not, never was and never will be the player Griffey was at 28, and there's certainly no shame in that. But Dunn at 32 will be the same guy as Dunn at 28, which means Dunn at 32 stands to be more productive than Griffey at 32. All of that is a long-winded way of saying that Dunn is worth the commitment of a long-term contract, unlike Griffey at this point.

The Reds are a last-place club at the moment, though they're not a terrible last-place club without a prayer. Indeed, as last-place clubs go, they're pretty well positioned. They just have a few problems. Most obviously, the only pitchers they can count on right now are Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez and Coco Cordero.

But they're also in a real bad way when it comes to scoring runs. They went through a five-game stretch last week when they scored just 10 times. They won't win like that even if their pitching is good.

Only 10 clubs in the major leagues scored fewer runs than the Reds' 225 through May 25. And you certainly can't blame that on Dunn, who led the Reds in homers (13) and RBI (32) while ranking second in runs scored (28).

Put a little differently, the Reds need more hitters like Dunn, not fewer. But you can't just go shopping for hitters like Dunn, because they don't come around every day. The Reds should hang on to the one they have.

OnBaseMachine
05-28-2008, 05:46 PM
Very nice article. Thanks for posting that.

I think the bigger distraction for Dunn right now is not knowing what his future holds. Will he be a free agent, will he been traded, or will the Reds re-sign him to a long-term deal? That's a big distraction. Adam Dunn is one of the better hitters in the league and seems to be getting even better. This offense is already suspect (though it's improved with Bruce in it), now try to imagine it without Adam Dunn. Do the right thing Walt, lock Dunn up long-term.

redsmetz
05-28-2008, 05:51 PM
Very nice article. Thanks for posting that.

I think the bigger distraction for Dunn right now is not knowing what his future holds. Will he be a free agent, will he been traded, or will the Reds re-sign him to a long-term deal? That's a big distraction. Adam Dunn is one of the better hitters in the league and seems to be getting even better. This offense is already suspect (though it's improved with Bruce in it), now try to imagine it without Adam Dunn. Do the right thing Walt, lock Dunn up long-term.

Not to veer this off, but I'd like to see Junior hit #600 and then see where we can move him. I've always been thrilled that Griffey came here (much like I pinch myself that Tom Seaver pitched for us for FIVE years!), but he's not going to win here and I think we need to get let him go somewhere where he has a chance for the post-season and he can also occasionally DH.

And I just now read the thread you started about the Reds future being here. I agree we need to sew Dunn up. We can figure out the other outfield slot then.

savafan
05-28-2008, 05:51 PM
Nice to see that someone in the local media gets it.

Chip R
05-28-2008, 06:04 PM
Nice to see that someone in the local media gets it.


He and Erardi are about the only ones that do get it. But I suppose praising Adam Dunn doesn't sell newspapers or get good ratings for call in shows.

fearofpopvol1
05-28-2008, 06:08 PM
Send this article to Walt and Bob.

I do think 5 years is a bit risky, but 4 years would be great. I'd go 5 years if the pricetag was right. If he continues to tear it up, it's going to make things more interesting for the FO.

I still don't think they plan to resign Dunn though. It just typically does not take this long to resign players like Dunn.

redsmetz
05-28-2008, 06:15 PM
He and Erardi are about the only ones that do get it. But I suppose praising Adam Dunn doesn't sell newspapers or get good ratings for call in shows.

Well, of course, City Beat doesn't have to worry about selling newspapers since it's free :) - but they do have to sell ads. Peterson is almost always a good read though.

Chip R
05-28-2008, 06:49 PM
Well, of course, City Beat doesn't have to worry about selling newspapers since it's free :) - but they do have to sell ads. Peterson is almost always a good read though.


True enough. But I doubt if the people who run Hemp R Us could care less about Dunn. But that's what being an alternative newspaper's all about.

Peterson is a good read and I usually check out his column before anything else. Matter of fact I saw a bunch of City Beats right before I left work tonight and went over just to see what he wrote about this week. I was very pleased to see the headline and I'm glad you posted it.

cincinnati chili
05-29-2008, 02:20 AM
Good read. I agree 100%, except that it's NOT always true that young players with old player skills continue to be productive when they get older.

Bill James made almost the exact opposite point when he coined the term "old player skills." See his writings about Alvin Davis, which turned out to be 100% correct. Alvin Davis in his 20's had "old player skills." Alvin Davis in his 30's was not pretty:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/davisal01.shtml

Still, if the price is right, I'd gladly commit to another 5 years of Adam Dunn. I imagine he'll still be a plus-player at 33.

Ron Madden
05-29-2008, 03:13 AM
I have always enjoyed and respected the writing of John Erardi, Greg Rhodes and John Snyder.

This one article by Bill Peterson is by far more original and informative than any of the carbon copy sound bites we've been gettig from the Beat Writers.


:thumbup:

RedsBaron
05-29-2008, 06:45 AM
Good read. I agree 100%, except that it's NOT always true that young players with old player skills continue to be productive when they get older.

Bill James made almost the exact opposite point when he coined the term "old player skills." See his writings about Alvin Davis, which turned out to be 100% correct. Alvin Davis in his 20's had "old player skills." Alvin Davis in his 30's was not pretty:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/davisal01.shtml

Still, if the price is right, I'd gladly commit to another 5 years of Adam Dunn. I imagine he'll still be a plus-player at 33.

I was thinking of the same James article, but Peterson still makes some good points, and appears much more knowledgable than most of the Cincinnati media. I'd prefer a four year deal to a five year contract, but the Reds need to resign Dunn.

vaticanplum
05-29-2008, 09:00 AM
True enough. But I doubt if the people who run Hemp R Us could care less about Dunn. But that's what being an alternative newspaper's all about.

Actually Peterson is pretty respected as a sportswriter within the industry (across the board, not just in baseball). The newspaper -- staffed with many Reds fans, for the record -- takes that seriously and there are a number of sportsfolk, I believe, who pick up CityBeat just for that reason.

Regardless, I'll be wrapping this in gold and sending it to my uncle, who still insists above all else that Dunn is lazy and thus worthless.

Always Red
05-29-2008, 09:12 AM
Regardless, I'll be wrapping this in gold and sending it to my uncle, who still insists above all else that Dunn is lazy and thus worthless.

I also sent this to a friend who is a Dunn basher. He was not impressed, said there is no statistical merit to what Peterson says, and that this is the same emotional crap that wound up keeping Larkin and Griffey (?) here.

This is actually the viewpoint of many (if not most) in town; especially those who only read the local papers and listen to the local sportstalk shows to get their info.

I pointed out to my friend that the cold hard numbers actually show Dunn's worth. It's the folks who watch games once a week and shoot from the hip who want to run Dunn out of town; they are the ones who are dealing only in emotion. I also pointed out to him that Barry Larkin is most probably a Hall of Famer, and one of the finest ballplayers in the history of this franchise.

He hasn't responded to me yet! :cool:

In a way, I will be fine with letting Dunn go, one way or another. Only because I am bone-tired weary of defending his game to my friends and family. :(

bucksfan2
05-29-2008, 10:18 AM
I also sent this to a friend who is a Dunn basher. He was not impressed, said there is no statistical merit to what Peterson says, and that this is the same emotional crap that wound up keeping Larkin and Griffey (?) here.

This is actually the viewpoint of many (if not most) in town; especially those who only read the local papers and listen to the local sportstalk shows to get their info.

I pointed out to my friend that the cold hard numbers actually show Dunn's worth. It's the folks who watch games once a week and shoot from the hip who want to run Dunn out of town; they are the ones who are dealing only in emotion. I also pointed out to him that Barry Larkin is most probably a Hall of Famer, and one of the finest ballplayers in the history of this franchise.

He hasn't responded to me yet! :cool:

In a way, I will be fine with letting Dunn go, one way or another. Only because I am bone-tired weary of defending his game to my friends and family. :(

I think when you take a purely statistical look at Dunn you tend to ignore some of his warts. I also have reached the point where I think it is the most important thing before next March that you have Dunn inked to a multi year contract. I think it is important when building a lineup when you have a mixture of players. You can't have too many players like Dunn. I heard a criticism of Janish that he was a light hitting SS, but if he is a guy who is going to work the count and hit the ball to all fields he would be an important component of a productive lineup. At the end of the season Dunn will blow a guy like Keppinger out of the water production wise but you also need a guy who will consistantly hit game in game out like Keppinger.

Is Dunn a valuable commodity? Heck yes. Do you need more Dunn's in the lineup? That is one loaded question. IMO every lineup needs a good mixture of power, skill, pure hitting, obp, etc.

westofyou
05-29-2008, 10:22 AM
It's the folks who watch games once a week and shoot from the hip who want to run Dunn out of town
That's also why I suggest that every Reds fan watch other baseball teams play, ones in different divisions and leagues.

Watch carefully, see what's out there, measure it examine it, mull it over.

Then shoot from the hip.

Perhaps then you'll have more firepower than the gun your little league coach loaded for you at the age of 8.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-29-2008, 10:22 AM
I think when you take a purely statistical look at Dunn you tend to ignore some of his warts.

Offensively, he really doesn't have any warts, except for maybe the strikeouts and those are significantly down this year.

flyer85
05-29-2008, 10:25 AM
That's also why I suggest that every Reds fan watch other baseball teams play, ones in different divisions and leagues.watch the Cubs ... as a team they K a lot and walk a lot but having a bunch of ~400 OBP players makes a team very hard to deal with.

Chip R
05-29-2008, 12:27 PM
Actually Peterson is pretty respected as a sportswriter within the industry (across the board, not just in baseball). The newspaper -- staffed with many Reds fans, for the record -- takes that seriously and there are a number of sportsfolk, I believe, who pick up CityBeat just for that reason.


Never said he wasn't or I never said the paper doesn't take him seriously. All I said was that I don't think Bill Peterson's opinions are going to keep the people who would advertise in CityBeat from doing that. They are more than likely advertising or going to advertise for other reasons like their stance on local or national issues which usually is the polar opposite of most of the media here.

Mario-Rijo
05-29-2008, 01:06 PM
It's a good read and a pretty fair synopsis overall. However a couple of things stand out to me that Peterson seems to gloss over a bit. As Cincinatti Chili pointed out, Dunn is more likely to decline than stay the same.

And he quickly glosses over his defense (It can still improve Bill?, I don't think so) where he spends most of his time on the field. I mean at what point is this addressed? In order for him not to continue to be a liability defensively he needs to move to 1st base. Will he be a liability there as well, sure he will for some amount of time. But in the end his large body is going to begin to break down significantly from all that wear & tear in the OF. Which brings us to the next point, if you do move him for the benefit of the team do you then move Votto to LF? You pretty much have to if you wanna keep them both. Neither of them are gold glovers where they are currently so why not give it a try and soon (like this offseason, assuming we re-sign him before then), and frankly it seems like a really good (fit) switch if ever there was one.

Move Dunn to 1st, sign him to a 4 yr deal worth no more than 14-16 a yr with a mutual option for a 5th yr at say 18 million and it's a fair deal for both sides. That's a 5 yr deal worth about 80 million. If he refuses the idea of moving to 1st, trade him now.

IslandRed
05-29-2008, 01:08 PM
Good read. I agree 100%, except that it's NOT always true that young players with old player skills continue to be productive when they get older.

Bill James made almost the exact opposite point when he coined the term "old player skills."

BP had a similar article in the "Between the Numbers" book. Specifically, it's not that having old-player skills at a young age is a bad thing. But when someone has old-player skills AND an old-player body at a young age, that's when the decline phase can be markedly earlier and quicker. The mileage varies, of course.

TRF
05-29-2008, 02:16 PM
You know who else had old player skills? Frank Thomas. I was just looking over his stats and wow. I had him on my very first fantasy baseball team back in '91. got him in the last round. Nobody knew who he was.

Reds1
05-29-2008, 02:27 PM
Nice article. The one thing I'd add is they mention his defense can get better. I think they underestimate that his defense has become better - much better in fact. I see him getting better jumps. I think his whole defensive game has improved - including his arm acuracy. I don't have fancy stats to back that up, but I watch every game. Anyone agree or disagree?

Mario-Rijo
05-29-2008, 03:16 PM
Nice article. The one thing I'd add is they mention his defense can get better. I think they underestimate that his defense has become better - much better in fact. I see him getting better jumps. I think his whole defensive game has improved - including his arm acuracy. I don't have fancy stats to back that up, but I watch every game. Anyone agree or disagree?

I disagree. He may have become a bit more consistent but his defense is still below avg and it's not likely to improve. That is because his deficencies are talent related mostly. He doesn't have a very strong or accurate arm (and he wanted to play QB at UT?), he lacks quickness and speed and good instincts. There's little he can do to improve where he wasn't blessed. And I still have seen him take some bad angles to the ball albeit not at the same rate he once did. I also feel like he gives up on plays too easily and too often.

So has he improved, perhaps ever so slightly. But not nearly enough to be adequate and he will only get worse as he goes. His future is at 1st base and soon, whether it's here or not.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-29-2008, 03:40 PM
I think Dunn's arm is pretty underrated.

It's not a cannon, but it's not bad either.

Johnny Footstool
05-29-2008, 03:44 PM
Offensively, he really doesn't have any warts, except for maybe the strikeouts and those are significantly down this year.

He's not a good singles hitter. Granted, that's not much of a wart, but it is something that the best hitters can do that Dunn can't. I think he's getting better at it, though.