Adam Dunn, the slugging behemoth of the Washington Nationals, reportedly is on the verge of being traded, likely to the Tampa Bay Rays. Two other American League teams that were interested in picking up Dunn to serve as a designated hitter for the stretch run and playoffs, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, are no longer in the running.
While Dunn was hopeful earlier in the season that the Nats would resign him, he wanted a four-year contract that the club was unwilling to give. The trading deadline is 4 PM on Saturday, July 31st. After the deadline, any traded player will have to clear waivers.
The 30 year-old first baseman is penciled in to start for the Nationals in tonight’s game against the Phillies. Dunn is hitting .277 with 24 home runs and 64 runs batted in. He has hit 38 or more home runs and drove in 100 runs in six straight seasons from 2004 through 2009. (In the five seasons prior to his 2009, his first season with the Nats, Dunn hit 40 or more dingers each and every year.)
The 6’6″ Dunn has hit 340 homers in his 10 major league seasons.
He is not known as a glove man, which has relegated him to playing first base for the Nats after a disastrous try out in left field. He takes on designated hitter duties when the National League team visits American League parks.
The White Sox picked up Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks, which kills a Chicago-Washington trade as the Nationals reportedly were looking to swapping Dunn for Jackson, a right-handed pitcher who went 6-10 with Arizona.
Sources covering the Colorado Rockies say the Yankees are trying to work out a trade to pick up some bench strength. The sources report that a Yankees executive declared, “We’re out on Dun.”
The Yanks may be looking to pick up Clint Barnes, Melvin Mora and/or Ryan Spolborghs from the Rox, but the problem the Bronx Bombers face when dealing with any other team is that the other guys will try to stick it to them, wanting more for their players in terms of prospects from the Yankees farm system. Teams drive a hard bargain with the Yanks, harder than they will with any other team, including the New Yorkers’ nemesis, the Boston Red Sox.
Another team that might be interested in acquiring Adam Dunn is the San Francisco Giants. The Detroit Tigers reportedly were interested in the big first basemen, but are no longer willing to swing a trade.
That leaves Tampa Bay for Dunn.
Will the Nats Trade Dunn?
The question is, will the Nationals make a trade for Adam Dunn, or will they be content with letting him go via free agency at the end of the season and receiving two draft picks in compensation. They faced the situation with Mariano Soriano at the trading deadline in July 2006. They could not make a deal, kept the outfielder, and picked up two draft picks in compensation.
One of those picks was Jordan Zimmerman, who is expected to be their #2 starting pitcher in 2011.
To pry Dunn away from the Nats, the Rays will have to offer a good package. But will it be worth it? The Rays likely will make the American League playoffs via the Wild Card, but a Dunn trade might force them to mortgage their future to win now.
The Boston Red Sox, to win the 1988 playoffs, traded a bright pitching prospect and a promising young outfielder to the Baltimore Orioles for starter Mike Boddicker. That outfielder was Brady Anderson, who went on to play 13 seasons with the Orioles, making the All Star team three times. In 1996, he became the first leadoff hitter to slug 50 dingers.
The pitching prospect was Curt Schilling. Schilling had an outstanding career, primarily with the Phillies, that may put him int he Hall of Fame. Schilling returned to Boston in time for the 2004 season that brought the Red Sox its first World Series crown since Babe Ruth was the best left-hander in the American League.
Babe wasn’t traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees: He was sold for cash. A brilliant left-handed pitcher for the Red Sox who also possessed the most potent bat in baseball history, the Babe went on to establish himself in the Big Apple as the greatest player the game has ever known, a genuine bona fide American legend. Red Sox fans still mourn the loss of the Babe, the pain ameliorated somewhat by the raising of “The Cruse of the Bambino” by the BoSox’s 2004 World Series triumph, the first since Babe wore a Red Sox uniform.
Hall of Famers
Mike Boddicker went 7-3 with the ’88 BoSox, who were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the playoffs. He won 17, 15 and 12 games for the Red Sox before moving on. It has long be considered in Boston an example of what not to do with your prospects.
(But of course, the Red Sox being the Red Sox, there was an even worse trade in the future. This is the team that traded left-handed reliever Sparky Lyle to the Yankees during spring trading 1972 for the undistinguished first baseman Danny Cater. Carter played 90 games and was gone after one season while Lyle went on to anchor the Yankees bullpen for six seasons. Sparky won the Cy Young Award in 1977, the year the Bronx Bombers won the World Series.)
Mike Boddicker was there with the Red Sox when they made the 1990 playoffs. Then-Geneal Manager Lou Gorman made an even worse trade before the August 31st, 1990 deadline, swapping prospect Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen. (A player picked up after August 31st cannot appear on the post-season roster.) The Red Sox were again swept by the Oakland A’s in the playoffs.
Anderson appeared in 15 games as a reliever for the Red Sox in the tail end of the 1990 season, finishing four games and saving one. Anderson — like Mike Boddicker — lost a game in the playoffs. The next season, he was in San Diego. I
n 15 years with the Astros, Jeff Bagwell was a four time All-Star, was named Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the National League MVP in 1994. He slugged 449 home runs and had 1,529 RBI to go along with his career batting average of .297. There’s no telling what those numbers might have been in hitter-friendly Fenway Park.
Jeff Bagwell likely will join Curt Schilling one day in the Hall of Fame. Neither will wear a Boston Red Sox cap on their commemorative plaque in Cooperstown.
These are just two of the egregious trades general managers have made in the past, when they have traded the future to win now.