Monday, August 11, 2008

Trade: Adam Dunn to Arizona

I'm more than a little befuddled by this. Mainly I can't believe that Adam Dunn made it all the way through waivers to Arizona. Every other team in the National League with a worse record than Arizona had a chance to claim him. Dunn was playing this year on a $13M extention and he will be a free agent after the season. So, pretend you are the Washington Nationals (I know, it's painful). You could have claimed Adam Dunn on waivers and then either the Reds would try and work out a trade with you (which you probably wouldn't have tried too hard to pull off), the Reds would have pulled Dunn back off waivers (which costs you nothing) or the Reds could have just let you assume his salary for the rest of the year. In the first two cases you are out nothing and in the third case you get Adam Dunn for two months of the season at a prorated cost of his salary (which is pretty reasonable for his production) and then he leaves at the end of the year and you get two draft picks as compensation. Why wouldn't they take the chance?

But no one claimed Dunn until the Diamondbacks (meaning eight teams passed on him). So then, the question becomes whether the package of prospects that Cincinnati received were more valuable than the two compensation picks that they would have received if they had held onto Dunn. The primary player the Reds received was Dallas Buck, who was a third round draft pick in 2006 and was currently pitching at single A after having Tommy John surgery. They will also receive two players to be named later, which could mean that they have either been drafted too recently to be traded at this point or that they compensation will depend on Arizona's results (i.e. if they make the playoffs they get two guys out of group A, if they miss the playoff they get three maple bats and a dozen balls). It will be impossible to evaluate the cache the Reds received until we know who the players to be named later are, but if Buck is the centerpiece, I'd be a little disappointed.

As for the D-Backs, Adam Dunn gives them a huge lift in the middle of their order. Dunn is a monster: he gets on base at a great clip (.373 on the season) and hits for immense power (.528 slugging percentage, 32 home runs on the season). He is undervalued by some that focus on traditional statistics because he strikes out a lot and never hits for a high average (only .233 on the season), but Dunn will immediately step into the cleanup role for the Diamondbacks and will provide a big veteran bat down the stretch to go along with all the talented youngsters already in the lineup.

The cost for Arizona is clearly worth it. They have answered their rival Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez and given themselves a great chance to make the playoffs. When the cost is three low level prospects, which will be partially replenished by the two compensatory draft picks they should receive when Dunn signs elsewhere in the offseason, it seems clear that they got a great deal.

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