I have to admit, I am starting to get a bit nervous. Jocketty has openly admitted that extension talks have not happened for Adam Dunn. He has used the normal excuse that many players don't like to talk contracts during the season, but this is the single most important decision on Jocketty's plate right now. If he wanted to resign Dunn he would have at least talked with him to see if he wanted to stay and get a feel for how much money he would be looking for.
All you hear lately is that this team is in a culture change. I think that directly targets Dunn and Griffey. Perhaps they are not of the culture that the Reds front office is looking for. It's no secret that Griffey will not be resigned. But Dunn is a colossal trivial subject all on it's own.
The dude is consistent year in and year out. He may not be what the fans want him to be, but he is what he is. Lets look at the logic; he is a 1-tool player. But is it that simple? If baseball were to improve it's thinking, perhaps another tool would be added to the mix. That tool would be the ability to take a walk. The single most celebrated stat in baseball today is OPS which is derived from OBP and SLG. Dunn has that stat nailed down. But how can we celebrate that stat without recognizing the ability to take a walk as a tool? I think far too many fans have lost sight of how big that part of the game is.
So, if we add that tool, Dunn is a 2-tool player. Is that worth $13 million per year? Well if he is in the top 5% in the league in OPS which is the most telling stat in the game, then he absolutely is.
Let's go beyond that. If Dunn were traded, who would replace him? Of course we know that nobody could bring the same production. But where does Jocketty go? Does he give Votto the shot? Does he let Dunn go to free agency and take the two draft picks then use would-be Dunn money on free agency? Does he go with a Hopper/Freel combination and wait until Frazier is ready? Perhaps he moves Encarnacion to LF and puts Keppinger at 3B and Gonzo/Hairston at SS?
Lets consider the free agents for LF:
Jose Cruz Jr.
Wily Mo Pena
Keep in mind, many of these players will resign with their current clubs. I highlighted the player that could really help this team and he is just as easily said to have a snowball's chance in hell in signing with the Reds. Then again, if Dunn and Griffey's salaries are off the books, we may be able to... oh wait, nevermind, Harang and Arroyo will be getting that money and I don't see them being moved anytime soon. Any other LF on that list look intriguing? I can guarantee you they all likely have at least one more tool than Dunn, but can any of them really bring you the same production?