Nationals Wish Adam Dunn the Best
Adam Dunn stood in the on-deck circle, just waiting for his turn to win the game on July 31. The Nats were trailing the Phillies 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth with one out, runners on first and second and Ryan Zimmerman at the plate. Dunn never got the chance. Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run.
“Dunn said he’s upset every time when that happens in front of him,” Zimmerman said after the game. “Kind of upset. I don’t know–I don’t know how to take that.”
Of course, Dunn was joking but that is Mr. Dunn to a T – a comedian who is never short on wises cracks and has the ability to win the game at any moment with his bat. That’s why White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 M deal. Williams finally got the man he failed to land at the trade deadline in July. The Nationals will get the White Sox first round pick–23 overall–and a sandwich pick between the first and second round in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft as compensation for Dunn.
There is no doubt Adam Dunn will be missed at Nationals Park, a sentiment summed up by Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo in the wake of Dunn signing a multi-year contract with the White Sox:
“The Washington Nationals wish Adam Dunn and his family the best of luck and good will in Chicago. Adam contributed much to the Nationals and to the Washington, D.C. community. He will be missed, but will remain an important figure in the early history of this franchise and will always be a part of the Nationals baseball family.”
He was beloved by teammates and fans alike with his country boy mentality and Kenny Powers personality. He is one of the few players in the League that legitimately has a chance to hit a home run every time he steps to the plate. He has 282 home runs since 2004–second to Albert Pujols–and he is the only player in the Majors to hit 38 or more home runs during the last seven seasons.
The bubble blowing Dunn takes his bat to the American League with the possibility of being a full-time DH for the first time too, neither of which were appealing to him a few months ago. But things change and this was an offer he couldn’t turn down.
The Nationals top priority entering the 2009 season was to add a power bat to the heart of the lineup. They pursued highly coveted All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira but their valiant attempt fell short when he signed with the New York Yankees for less money and fewer years. Enter Adam Dunn. Two years, and 76 home runs later, Dunn is gone. The hole has reopened and the priority of signing a slugger has returned.
Dunn was the first of the free-agent dominos to fall and with the GM meetings starting on Monday, the baseball landscape and Nationals roster will inevitably change even more. The Nats are expecting additions, not subtractions this time around though.