Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Abreu Deal May Force Adam Dunn's Hand

(Update: That was quick. Dunn has agreed to play for the Nationals, according to the Washington Post.)

Bobby Abreu has agreed to a 1-year, $5 million (plus incentives) deal with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are thinking they got a steal. The Rays are thinking they overpaid Pat Burrell at $8 million. The Phillies are thinking they really overpaid giving Raul Ibanez $10 million.

And somewhere, Adam Dunn is stretched out on a couch, thinking, "Maybe it's time to consider a few things I haven't been willing to consider before."

Things such as a one-year deal. Earlier in the free-agent season Dunn's agent was Adamant that a multi-year contract was what his client wanted. (No surprise there.) But even after the market clearly shifted, Dunn's agent has not indicated whether his client will consider 1-year deals. Abreu didn't want (or deserve) a 1-year deal, either, but his agent isn't whining about it: He says Bobby will win the MVP for the Angels and go back on the market in 2010.

Things such as moving to first base. Dunn is set on remaining an outfielder, even though his poor outfield defense is a major part of the problem he's having finding work. If he indicates a willingness to move to first, he'll find more teams to negotiate with.

Things such as teams he has previously discounted. Dunn wants to play for the Dodgers, but so far the Dodgers haven't shown much interest (they're busy trying to wait out Manny Ramirez). The Nationals have shown plenty of interest, but Dunn isn't reciprocating. The Mariners have indicated a willingness to talk to Dunn, but Dunn hasn't returned the favor.

If Dunn is willing to go to first base, and sign a 1-year, $5 million deal, you know which team might take a run at him? The Los Angeles Angels. Two sluggers for the price of one.

The best possible place for Dunn at this point may be his old team, the Reds, even though the Reds have maintained all along they don't want him back (because who wants 40 homers and 100 walks when you can sign Willy Taveras?). But a 1-year deal with Cincinnati would mean another season in Great American Ballpark, and Adam Dunn at GABP means another guaranteed season of 40 home runs. If I'm Adam Dunn's agent, I make that call to Walt Jocketty, make an offer he can't refuse, and try this again next offseason. Not gonna happen, but I'd still try.