I'm not sure the Reds are interested in locking up Dunn. Krivsky's persistent adding of marginal outfielders and first basemen this off-season, combined with the Votto LF experiment that began last year, gives the team options for replacing the big guy with some kind of platoon, perhaps around the same time Bruce arrives from the minors (thus quelling any hue and cry around a Dunn trade).
He can be traded starting June 15. Early enough that other teams may see him as a difference maker in 08. Late enough that draftees from 07 can be in the return.
The big guy plays a position that’s easy to fill (and he doesn’t play it all that well). His body has begun to show the first signs of wear. His salary is huge and getting huger.
I am intrigued by the possibility of Krivsky working something with the Rangers. He and Jon Daniels have already made one big trade work. I have not been real high on Taylor Teagarden in the past, but after reading more about him I'm starting to think he may be the best chance the Reds have of getting a good young catcher -- a very rare commodity these days. Texas has made public statements that Saltalamacchia is going to catch – which indicates Teagarden has no future there.
Texas needs a bat like Dunn’s. They say they’re looking for a corner OF – plus they have no pure DH. With their cash, and being a hometown team for Dunn, they’d have an awfully good chance of locking him up long-term – especially if they made an offer during the season.
Would you blow a gasket if the Reds unloaded Dunn for Teagarden and, say, one of the Rangers good young arms? (Beavan, Main, Matt Harrison, etc. – they have lots.)
I said it early in the offseason – the Reds catching corps is very weak. If Tatum does not make a strong step forward with the bat this year, there is no discernable help of any kind on the horizon. There are enough young bats around now (provided they don’t deal Votto) that to sacrifice Dunn becomes a reasonable option, knowing you’re going to lock down the catcher position for the foreseeable future -- with a kid who can hit some.
I really think the Reds are consciously working their roster right now to keep this possibility in play heading up to June 15. If Dunn plays well and the trade market for him is cool, he could be signed later in the year – but I’d be surprised if he gets a LTC before June 15.