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Tag:Adam Dunn
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:56 am
Edited on: October 8, 2010 3:00 pm
 

R.I.P. Nationals: Strasburg goes down to injury

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Remember Strasmas? Well, the Washington Nationals got some coal.

It's not often a team with 90-plus losses has something to look forward to, but the Nationals sure do: 2011 being over.

You see, when 2012 opens, the Nationals will have phenom ace Stephen Strasburg fully healthy, likely with a few late-season 2011 rehab starts under his belt and a young team ready to go after the division.

Until then? More losing in the nation's capital.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The team lost 93 games. A lot went wrong. The most notable, as is to no one's surprise, is Stephen Strasburg getting knocked out for about a year with Tommy John surgery. Of course, if Rob Dibble had his way, Strasburg would probably have pitched every remaining game of the Nats after first suffering the injury.

Now that the obligatory Dibble insult is out of the way, what else went wrong? Ivan Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy and Cristian Guzman all struggled with OPS' south of .700, dragging down the Nats' offense. On the pitching side, only Livan Hernandez and Strasburg had ERAs under 4.00. The other five who received at least 13 starts? 4.65 (John Lannan), 5.13 (Craig Stammen), 5.15 (Luis Atilano), 5.56 (Scott Olsen) and 6.60 (Jason Marquis). Yikes.

Unfortunately, the GM in Mike Rizzo is responsible for a colossal mistake in not trading Adam Dunn. Many teams were hot to trot over the lefty, with even the White Sox striking to acquire Edwin Jackson because it was thought the Nats were interested in the starter. No trade was achieved because Rizzo felt that the offers weren't commensurate with what he could get in compensation draft picks. Alas, there is no guarantee the Nats end up with a first-rounder, and it is a large step to say that someone yet to be drafted holds that much value over someone in the system, already signed, with the bonus out of the way.

Stephen Strasburg WHAT WENT RIGHT

Although Strasburg's (photo, right) injury definitely belongs in the "wrong" column, it also belongs in the "right" one as well. Why? Because Strasburg zipped through the minors and unveiled a filthy arsenal once he hit the majors with a fastball sniffing 100 and an absolutely devastating arsenal of breaking pitches. Washington has a Cy Young contender for years.

If Strasburg is looking for hope to return from TJ surgery, he can check out Jordan Zimmermann, who made 10 rehab starts in the minors after going under the knife last season. He made seven starts down the stretch and showed enough that the potential he displayed when he first came up is still there.

The Nats astutely picked up closer Matt Capps for a bargain in free agency, saw him excel as a closer and flipped him for the catcher of the future in Wilson Ramos -- all while promoting their own stud prospect reliever in Drew Storen, who proved he can close for years to come. Speaking of the bullpen, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett pretty much came from nowhere to establish what should be a nice bullpen for the Nats in 2011. Miguel Batista, a veteran journeyman, also had what figures to be his last quality year.

Mike Morse, a Quad-A player, pounded 15 home runs in 266 at-bats, and the Nats may have suddenly found a new power-hitter which will ease the sting of the eventual loss of Adam Dunn.

Lastly, no "what went right" selection is complete without the ageless Livan Hernandez, who improbably finished with a 3.66 ERA, tossing 211 2/3 innings at 35. Swan song? Probably, given he stumbled in the second half. Still awesome.

HELP ON THE WAY

The Nationals already promoted Storen and Ramos, so they technically don't belong here, but bear with me. The 22-year-old Storen, as previously mentioned, is Washington's closer of the future while Ramos figures to split time with Pudge behind the dish in 2011. There's another catcher actually on the way as well in Jesus Flores, a Rule 5 pick all the way back in 2007.

Unfortunately, Flores missed all of 2010 and most of 2009 due to injury, but he could eventually give the Nats an incredible tandem in Flores and Ramos. And the team has a top catching prospect down on the farm in Derek Norris. Now that's depth. (But ask the Rangers how much their vaunted catching depth worked out for them this season.)

Danny Espinosa also saw late-season action for the Nats, but impressed along with fellow preseason top prospect Ian Desmond, who manned short. Espinosa will slot in at second and give the Nats an exciting, young double play combo.
 
Adam Dunn EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Nats have reached the point where they can tentatively start expecting to contend. That means a 90-loss season won't be accepted in 2011 and would certainly spell the demise of skipper Jim Riggleman, even sans Strasburg. Although the free-agent machinations of the team (especially to replace Dunn) will go along way towards managing expectations.

The team won't harbor any illusions that the squad can finish .500, even if Dunn returns, but finishing in the neighborhood of 77-85 figures to be the goal behind the scenes.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Nationals seem pretty set on moving on from Adam Dunn (photo, right) due to his horrendous defense and skyrocketing contract. One player the Nats may want to peek at is Carlos Pena, coming off a year where he hit below the Mendoza Line. He has proven, however, that he can hit significantly better than that. (His career average is .241 -- wouldn't exactly call that good, but a darn sight better than .196.) And the power is certainly still there, something Washington needs. Pena is also gifted with the glove. So let's see: down season making him cheap, power and a good glove. Works for me.

The team also needs to figure out its rotation. Right now, Hernandez, Zimmermann, Lannan and Marquis figure to take up the first four spots. Stammen and Atilano could fight for the No. 5 spot but the team could really use a solid free-agent option who is long on leadership but a little long in the tooth as well to depress his price. What the Nats need to do is avoid multi-year deals, though -- there wasn't ever any reason to hand Marquis two years, and there won't be a reason to hand someone like Kevin Millwood two years. Stick to one year deals around $6-8 million, and the Nats can find someone just fine.

2011 PREDICTION

While Rizzo seems like a solid general manager, his track record is less than stellar. Combine that with the loss of Strasburg, and the Nationals seem headed to another 90-loss season in 2011. Check back in 2012, though.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:03 am
Edited on: October 1, 2010 12:04 am
 

Dunn second in 200K club?

Adam Dunn
It took more than a century of baseball for someone to strike out 200 times in a season. Just two years later, Mark Reynolds could have company in that distinction.

The Diamondbacks' Reynolds broke the threshold in 2008 with 204 strikeouts, then upped it to 223 last season. This year he's headed for a truly ugly record: more strikeouts than batting average points.

The Nationals are thankful Adam Dunn won't be matching that feat, but he does have a shot at reaching 200 Ks. Washington, idle on Thursday, has three games left this weekend against the Mets, and has 195 strikeouts. Dunn averages 1.3 strikeouts per game, so if he plays all three it could be close.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 29, 2010 11:29 am
 

Players look toward their future

'Tis the season to look toward next season…

And several high-profile names are doing just that. Here's a quick roundup of some of those:

Jason Varitek Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek: with his eyes watering, the Red Sox captain says he doesn't want to retire, but knows that could mean he has to play somewhere else: "You try not to think about it," Varitek told reporters, including the Boston Herald 's Scott Lauber , "and I hope you guys don't ask me too much about it over the weekend. But it's there. Definitely."

Varitek and starter Victor Martinez will both be free agents after the season and the Red Sox also have Jarrod Saltalamacchia under contract. Last season the Red Sox decline their $5 million option on Varitek's contract, but he exercised a $3 million option to stay.

A.J. Pierzynski White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski: "You guys are talking like there's no chance I'm coming back. Apparently, you guys know something that I don't know, so fill me in," Pierzynski said to reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times ' Joe Cowley .

Pierzynski will be a free agent after the season, but he would prefer to stay with the White Sox.

"Everyone knows where I stand with the White Sox and the people and the city," Pierzynski said. "I've never said that I don't want to come back. The door is open. But we'll see what happens. It takes two to do that, make it possible."

Kevin Millwood Orioles starter Kevin Millwood:
"The only think I'm certain of right now is that I want to play again next year," Millwood told the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec . "I'm just going to go in the offseason thinking about preparing for next season."

Millwood is 3-16 with a 5.29 ERA and will be a free agent.

Adam Dunn Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn: While so many of these other names are near the end of their career, Dunn will be 31 next season and has 354 career home runs. He's hit .264/.361/.547 this season and has a career OPS+ of 133, including 142 this season.

Still, he's a defensive liability and because of that, there have been some reports the Nationals aren't interested in bring him back . Dunn has said he'd like to return to Washington, but even that seems up in the air at this point.

"If you guys don't realize how sick and tired I am of talking about it, you probably wouldn't ask me every day," Dunn told Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com . "Again, I wish it would have been over a long time ago. It's not, and it's not the worst thing that's every happened to me. My job's to play and my agent's job is to worry about the rest."

Today could be his last at Nationals Park in a Nationals uniform.

"I don't know," Dunn said. "I'm not going to go into [Wednesday] going: 'This is my last home game ever,' cry and hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards. I'm not going to do that. I don't know what y'all want me to say. I don't know what's going to happen. If I did, I would tell you."

Several teammates said they hope Dunn will be back.

"He's such a good guy to have in the clubhouse," Drew Storen said. "He's just a good personality to have as a teammate. Obviously, the numbers, the power in clutch situations, speak for themselves. But I think not having him around in the clubhouse would be the thing I miss the most."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:27 pm
 

Nationals not interested in bringing Dunn back

Adam Dunn The Nationals don't have much interest in bringing back Adam Dunn, as Ben Goessling of MASN Sports reports.

Dunn is one of the best sluggers in the game, but at age 30 and with highly questionable defense, GM Mike Rizzo and others aren't prepared to hand Dunn the four-year deal he is seeking.

"He costs them half a run a game," a scout told Goessling. "You're involved in so many plays -- pickoffs, scoops in the dirt, fielding plays -- it's worse than it looks on paper."

Apparently enough to the point where 37 home runs is freezing Dunn out of Washington and perhaps even the NL, much to his chagrin. Dunn has made it clear he has no interest in DHing but may not have a choice any longer.

While Dunn has expressed a willingness to accept three years to stay in town, all indications are that even three years won't work for Rizzo, despite owner Mark Lerner's infatuation with Dunn and his similarities to boyhood idol Frank Howard .

"I can tell you the only person in the front office who wants to resign him is the owner," the scout added.

Perhaps the owner's infatuation with Dunn played a part in the exorbitant trade price Rizzo asked for the slugger at the trade deadline. Goessling notes that the lefty was not traded because the packages offered weren't better than the two draft picks Washington will receive if Dunn leaves in free agency.

Of course, that's a risk as well -- the Jays ended up with a third-round pick for A.J. Burnett thanks to the Yankees also signing CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.

One name Goessling throws out that the Nats may pursue makes sense: Carlos Pena. Pena is a legitimate home-run hitter, even as he struggles to lift his batting average over the Mendoza Line. His down season could make him available to Washington at a discount.

Despite the off year, Pena's .241 career average is not that far from Dunn's .251, although Pena loses the battle when it comes to on-base percentage. Where he wins, however, and where he makes up the separation in value in spads from Dunn, is on defense where he is regarded as a first baseman that can pick it.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:09 pm
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Posted on: September 23, 2010 12:54 am
 

'Most pain ever' for Dunn

Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn said it was "the most pain I've ever had in baseball" when he took a Wandy Rodriguez fastball to the right elbow during Wednesday night's game against the Astros.

Dunn said he lost feeling in his hand, and was removed from the game after a bad throw later in the inning. Manager Jim Riggleman told reporters Dunn is questionable for Thursday, though Dunn thinks he'll be available to play. Then again, Dunn always thinks he can play -- as noted by the Washington Post, he's appeared in more games since 2004 than any player in baseball.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 3:03 pm
 

Record night in D.C.

A lot of people, apparently, agree with the Nationals' Adam Dunn.

The Nationals had an announced crowd of 10,999 for Monday's 8-2 loss to the Astros -- the smallest announced crowd since baseball returned to the nation's capital.

The Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore estimates there were no more than 8,000 actually in the park.

The Nationals rank 22nd among the 30 teams in attendance and tied for 24th among the 30 in victories.

And here's where Dunn comes in: "For what our record is, I think our fan base has been pretty awesome," Dunn said. "It would be tough for me as a fan to come out and come watch us when we're playing bad. I feel like sometimes watching us would be, as a fan, pretty entertaining. We have a lot of entertaining guys. But you look at our record and stuff, why would you come see us? For the most part, I think our fan base is pretty awesome."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:25 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 4:18 pm
 

Dunn thinks he'll stay in D.C.

Adam Dunn Adam Dunn expects to stay in Washington, or at least that's what he told the Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore on Sunday .

The Nationals' first baseman is a free agent after this season and there was a time not that long ago that his future in D.C. looked bleak. Not so now. When asked if he was going to come back, he had this to say:

"I do," Dunn said. "More than I did a month ago. Talks have picked back up. We'll see what happens. We're obviously talking. We're going to work something out, I think."

Dunn was a popular name at the trade deadline, and even told CBSSports.com that he wanted to be a National long-term before the Nationals decided to keep him.

The Nationals will have 15 days after the World Series to exclusively negotiate with Dunn, however, the Texan doesn't see something happening then.

"Now, there's no advantage," he said. "I guess there'd be a disadvantage, really. I'm in no hurry now."

That doesn't mean he's looking to leave, though.

"Going to free agency doesn't mean I'm leaving here," he told Kilgore. "I'm sure whenever the season is over, I'll have, whatever it is, a month. If things haven't worked out here, yeah, it's going to go to free agency. But that doesn't mean I'm not coming here."

Two years ago, the Nationals signed Dunn to a two-year, $20 million contract -- both numbers lower than Dunn expected in free agency.

Dunn has hit .263/.359/.541 this season with 35 home runs and 93 RBI. Dunn's OPS is eighth in the National League, his slugging fifth and his homers second. He's also moved positions this year to first base full time.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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