Most of you know that I tend to run with the stat-head crew that says Adam Dunn is great, ignore the strikeouts, OBP is life, etc. I just wanted to take a minute to address the fact that Dunn is both underrated and overvalued on this board. The basic premise is this: Adam Dunn is the Reds most important offensive player. However, his production, while somewhat unique in it's characteristics, is not irreplaceable -- not by a long shot.
- Adam Dunn is 27 years old.
- Adam Dunn has over 3400 career plate appearances.
- Adam Dunn has a career BA of .245, OBP of .380, and SLG of .513.
- All three of those values have decreased each of the last two seasons.
- Last year, Dunn was ranked 21st in OPS for OF in MLB, 15th in LF by VORP (behind such players as Raul Ibanez, Reed Johnson, and Chris Duncan).
- Adam Dunn is one of the worst defensive OF in baseball.
- Adam Dunn is 6-6, at least 280 lbs, and showing no signs of losing weight anytime soon.
- Adam Dunn is going to make $10.5 MM in 2007, $13 MM in '08 if he is a member of the Reds.
- In 2004 Dunn had a 19.3%/32.4%/48.3% LD/GB/FB ratio with a BABIP of .321, a 16.0 BB%, and a 34.3 K%.
- In 2006 Dunn had a 23.5%/27.8%/48.6% LD/GB/FB ratio with a BABIP of .278, a 16.6 BB%, and a 34.6 K%
- Dunn is a very productive player offensively who would be an asset to any team.
- Dunn is no longer cheap and probably won't be ever again; particularly to the Reds.
- While Dunn could be a Albert Pujols type if he hit .300, he hasn't yet hit .300 and banking on him doing so in the future is not intelligent.
- His future likely lies at 1B or DH due to the effect age has on people of his body type.
- Though durable to date, over the next few years, it would not be a surprise to see him accrue increased levels of wear and tear type injuries such as back or feet problems.
- Because of the nature of his skill set, he's not likely to age well. Arguably, his batting eye and power are likely at their peak and could only see minimal improvement. However, his bat speed and hand/eye coordination will likely degenerate, lowering his contact rate.
- Maybe last year was an abberation. Maybe 2004 was the abberation. My money is on 2004.
- It's time to stop valuing Dunn based on potential and start valuing him based on reality.
- Yes, some players take great leaps later in their careers, like Luis Gonzalez. These players are the exception, not the rule. Dunn is likely to follow the rule and decline after a late 20's peak.
- Reality says that Adam Dunn is a very good, not great, offensive contributor and a poor defender.
- Reality says that Adam Dunn is not improving offensively, and that his 2006 performance was not a function of bad luck any more than 2004 was a function of good luck.
- Because of his plateaued performance and increased salary, his value has been established. There is no value in taking a "wait & see" approach like many (including myself) argued for Austin Kearns.
The rose is in bloom people. This is Adam Dunn. He's a guy who hits .245 with 40 homers and a boatload of walks, while striking out 190 times and playing a shaky LF. That might be worth $10.5 MM to the Reds in 2007. It might be worth $13 MM in '08. However, he's not irreplaceable. He's as much Carlos Lee as he is Lance Berkman. As much Pat Burrell as he is Jim Thome. He's not even CLOSE to what Ryan Howard just did.
Now our particular circumstance may increase his value to us as we're so shallow offensively. I'd happily have Dunn as a cog in my lineup for the next 5-6 years at a reasonable price (say 12MM). However, his trade value to the other 29 teams is not what some people want to make it out to be. He's not as valuable as he was when he OPS'd .957 and hit 46 homers as a 24 year old. We need to be realistic about his value to us, his value in the market place, and the likely yearly production we're going to see over his career arc. There should be no untouchables on the Reds, and Dunn has as many warts as virtues. If we can get a somewhat comparable offensive player while adding talent elsewhere, I think it should be done.
My suggestion was Brian Giles (remember, we have Dunn for 2 more years, that's it), Scott Linebrink, and a prospect. I'm open to keeping Dunn too. I just hate all the back and forth with so little agreement. It doesn't seem like there should be so much debate that can't even agree on the terms from which arguments are based.