Are the Nats Getting Enough Value for Adam Dunn?

Steve O Speak

The trade market for Adam Dunn seems to be heating up and yesterday we got an inside look into it what the Nationals are looking for and the possible parameters of a deal. ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine heard from sources that the Nationals want RHP Dan Hudson (MLB/AAA) and one of CF Jordan Danks (AAA), 3B Brent Morel (AAA), C Tyler Flowers (AAA) in any deal. Now the question becomes would this deal be enough for the Nationals to move their 40 HR slugger?

I believe the answer to that question is yes with a couple of conditions. One, I believe the White Sox need to pay the entire remaining portion of Dunn’s salary (about $5.5 million). And two, I think the White Sox will need to add a third and possibly fourth piece to this deal, likely nothing of major significance. With at least 5 other teams in the Dunn hunt, I think Chicago will have to increase their offer a little bit.

As for the players we do know, I like Hudson, but think he peaks as a 3rd starter. That being said, he makes a fine centerpiece in the deal for Dunn. He will give the Nats 6 years of team control and he is pretty much ready to pitch in the big leagues today. He isn’t a 100% sure thing, but he should make it in the majors. Hudson should also benefit with a move to the National League and a more neutral ballpark.

As for the other part of the deal, I personally like Tyler Flowers the best, followed by Brent Morel, and then Jordan Danks. All three players have upside, but Flowers is far and away the best fit. Morel is the best pure hitter, a solid defender, and probably just a year away. But his power barely gets by at 3B, and that position won’t be open in D.C. for quite sometime. He isn’t a good fit to move to the outfield or 1B given his lack of power, and would really only make sense to the Nats for prospect depth to trade away.

Danks for me doesn’t make much sense in Washington either, he’s a nice player but has been over-hyped in a weak Chicago system. Yes he plays solid centerfield, but Chicago challenged him too much by starting him off in AAA and it has not worked. He is probably at least 2 years away from heading to the majors and this year’s set back has taken some of the luster off of Danks. If he reaches his upside, he could be a Jim Edmonds out in center, but there aren’t any guarantees. And unless he reaches his full potential he might not be able to crack the Nationals lineup.

For me process of elimination alone makes Flowers the choice, but he is more than just the last man standing among Chicago’s top prospects. Flowers is having a bit of a down year in AAA, yet still has an OPS of .780. Flowers has big time power and solid plate discipline, that should allow his bat to play at the major league level. Also while early in his career there were questions as to whether or not he could stay behind the plate, he has developed into a solid defensive catcher. Flowers is major league ready now and could start splitting time with Pudge Rodriguez (can’t get much better of an apprenticeship than that), and possibly take over for him as a starter some point next season. While the Nats have a good young catching prospect in Derek Norris, he is probably 3 years away and could even help headline a major trade himself in a year or two when the Nats look to add a big time player for a stretch run. Flowers is the best bet for the Nationals given his proximity to the majors and the position he plays, and I would definitely do a Hudson-Flowers deal.

A Hudson-Flowers trade plus 1-2 lower minor league players (likely pitchers) is a good return for 2 months of Adam Dunn, and worth more than the 2 draft picks the Nats would receive in the offseason. While it is still possible another team offers a better young prospect or prospects, a Dunn-White Sox union seems likely.

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