The ramification of dealing Dunn away will filter through the Washington Nationals lineup. The fact that Dunn is already starting to sour on a desire to ink a long term deal with Washington deflates the notion of trading away Dunn, and then resigning him in the off-season. So we do what? Trade him for prospects? When do the Nationals decide they don’t want to be a prospects team, a build for the future team, and instead be a winning team? When?
When? I'll tell you when. WHEN THE TEAM DOESN"T SUCK!
This was a 70 win team when the season started and is still a 70 win team. The window for contention is years away (and thanks to the cheapskate owners may never appear.)
Paying Dunn the open market rate for the next 3-4 years wouldn't be the worst thing they could do. Giving him Ryan Howard money well that's another story. If he's demanding a Howard-like deal, put a stamp on him and send him packing.
Oh, and make someone pay a premium. Since he's proven to be an average fielder at first, his bat would be worth 2-3 wins to anyone. Ask the 2009 Tigers if they could have used 2-3 more wins. The Cliff Lee to the Rangers package is a good place to start one ML-ready guy with significant upside one B prospect and one C prospect. If you don't get it, offer him arbitration. If he takes it GREAT! One year at $13-$14m. If not, two picks (your B and C prospect at least)
Some might argue Dunn deserves a Howard-like contract. My main fear, aside from the eventual performance decline is such a huge outlay would give the cheapskate owners an excuse to continue their pattern of not spending.
Let's review . . .
Tell me how many high profile international free agents the Nationals have signed this year. It rhymes with NERO. In five years in DC, the total rhymes with PUN. And he was really 22. So it's not like Miguel Cabrera or Ubaldo Jiminez is sitting in the system preparing to join the core.
I'll give them the 2008 draft. They spent there.
But now according to Ladson, they haven't even discussed a contract with Harper. And again I am baffled. It exactly the same as the Strasburg negotiations and I didn't under stand that either. I know Scott Boras makes deals at the last minute and that's his style but come on, you have an excellent chance of hitting 300 losses for the last three years, shake things up.
Boras is a businessman. Stan, you are going to have to pay. He knows you have the money and he knows you have to sign Harper. So, why the charade? Give him Strasburg's contract and say if you sign now, we can get Harper to the bigs a year earlier. That's worth millions more than the dollars you are scrapping over right now AND it only hurts financially IF Harper is successful at the major league level.
And please, don't cry poverty. You have plenty of cash -- the $30-$40 million you aren't spending in major league payroll and the Strasburg bonus $750,000-$1 million per home date. Show the fans that you are interested in building a winner by getting the Harper deal done NOW. Oh, and A.J. Cole too. Without Cole, your 2010 draft is just as bad as 2009 (1st round excepted in both cases).
I also find it hard to believe that a cash strapped but contending franchise like the Rangers wouldn't be interested in some payroll relief. Take a bad contract off their hands and take one of their multitude of top tier prospects. Jon Daniels wouldn't like it but I'll bet the bankruptcy court would.
The plain fact of the matter is: with Dunn they are a 70 win team. Without him, 67-68. Is that what you want to be? Keeping him would be fine, if ownership was committed to putting the pieces around the core necessary to contend sooner. But clearly, they have not been and are not now. So, every day this is the case, the window for contention gets pushed farther and farther away.
As a fan, Iike watching Dunn hit. I'd like to watch him hit for the next 3-4 years too. But I don't like it so much as to ensure 90-100 losses for the next four years.
BTW -- check what KC and Pittsburgh are doing internationally.