The results of our second contract crowdsourcing are in, and while those who commented on the original post seemed willing to pony up for Dunn, they were a vocal minority. If Dunn is expecting a big paycheck this winter, the crowd think he’s in for a disappointment.
Average years: 3.18 years
Average salary: $12.40 million
Median years: 3 years
Median salary: $12 million
Standard deviation, years: 0.81 years
Standard deviation, salary: $2.73 million
As you can see, there was less agreement with Dunn than with Crawford, as people clearly have very different perceptions of his value. The standard deviation in salary is almost as high as it was with Crawford even though the average salary is 25 percent lower. Almost as many people voted that he’d have to settle for $7 million per season as the ones who thought he’d hit the jackpot and get $20 million per year. A whopping 52 people gave him an annual average salary of $20-plus million. Seriously.
I think those folks, and perhaps Dunn and his agent, are in for another rude awakening this winter. I had him at 3/33 before the community voted, putting him very close to that mark. While he’s a productive player, he faces some challenges, as follows.
1. His refusal to DH will scare off most AL clubs, limiting the number of teams that will seriously pursue him.
2. There are a glut of free agent 1B/DH types on the market this winter.
3. He’s going to be a Type A free agent, and the Nationals are almost certainly going to offer arbitration.
Given those three factors, you’re looking at just a few clubs that will be in the bidding. Rebuilders will not want to lose a good draft pick in a loaded class. Most contenders already have a good first baseman, or may be looking to leverage all the available options against each other to come up with a cheaper option. It’s just going to be very difficult for Dunn to find multiple teams that want to pay him a lot of money, and one heavily interested team won’t be enough, as he learned two years ago.
I’ll stick with my original thought of 3 years and $33 million, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if his eventual deal was less than that, or even if he ended up accepting the Nationals arbitration offer.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.