Why Adam Dunn Could Be The Answer For Baltimore:
May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Now I know many people will question why the White Sox would even make Dunn available given the fact that they are currently in 2nd place in the AL Central, and he's having a monster year. The fact is the White Sox appear to be playing over their head right now, and may have a problem overtaking the Indians and/or holding off the Tigers. If Chicago begins to slip they could look to unload some of their assets, and rebuild. They have perhaps the weakest farm system in the majors, and could jump start their rebuild, by dealing guys like Jake Peavey ($22 million option in 2013), Gavin Floyd (affordable $9.5 million option, but could still be dealt), and Dunn (owed $30 million over the next two years). Though the White Sox have never been shy about spending, they might want to free up that money owed to Dunn, while at the same time add a couple quality prospects.
Why It Makes Sense For Baltimore:
The Orioles are easily capable of maintaining an aggressive payroll, but they'll never likely be an elite payroll team, meaning they will always fall short of the biggest impact free agents. So the idea of them getting in the Josh Hamilton market next offseason is probably a pipe dream (not to mention they have to ensure they can afford to extend Adam Jones and Matt Wieters). Dunn on the other hand offers the impact bat at just 75% the cost, and at a fraction of the years.
Dunn also entices the Orioles because he's one of the few big time bats the Orioles could acquire without gutting their own farm system. Dunn's poor defense and two and a half year commitment essentially means that only American League teams would have an interest (plus the Astros since they are heading to the AL next year). Add in the fact that Dunn is owed $30 million over the next two years, and multiple other suitors will also bow out. The lack of a major market for Dunn's services, should keep his trade value relatively low (based on his offensive production). The O's will have to give up a couple quality prospects, but it doesn't seem like it will be prohibitive.
How He Fits In For The Orioles:
The Orioles have been mashing the ball this year, but have gotten below average production from the DH spot, both in terms of on base percentage and slugging. Dunn would be a major boost to both areas. In fact Dunn's OBP currently would be over 40 points higher than any Oriole regular. Dunn would add a great impact bat in the middle of the Orioles line-up and could set their offense further apart from their rivals. He'd fit well at Oriole Park, and should see his numbers continue to thrive.
I know some Oriole fans might fear that Dunn will be Mark Reynolds 2.0, but that is an unfair comparison. Dunn walks more, strikes out less, and has more overall power. Dunn is also a more consistent hitter (last year was really a fluke), who is a better fit for Baltimore. Reynolds best year he had a wOBA of .381, a number that Dunn has topped in 5 seasons (and is currently on pace to top again).
While there is of course a concern about giving up prospects and the financial commitment, but the Orioles need to make bold moves. They might not have the money to spend with the Yankees, but they should easily be able to afford Dunn and the rest of their future financial commitments. The Orioles maybe shouldn't mortgage their future to contend this year, but with a nucleus of Jones, Wieters, Hardy, Markakis (and hopefully Reimold) in the lineup, and Chen, Hunter, and Britton in the rotation (not to mention a strong pen), the Orioles could be in good shape. And if they miss out this year, then next year they could make another run, especially if uber-prospects Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are ready for the majors. As with any move their is some risk involved, but this seems to make sense for the Orioles, and could be a key piece to their success going forward.