What’s Fair for Dunn?

Adam Dunn raised some eyebrows last week when he declared the Chicago Cubs as his top choice. Dunn backed his preference by stating preferential financial details as “fair”. Could it be that Dunn is the rara avis of sluggers, the one willing to take less money than his counterparts to play for his top choice? During the season, Dunn’s former teammate Bronson Arroyo speculated Dunn would seek a nine-figure contract. Excuse Dunn’s cupidity, because those hopes were prior to the bottoming out of the market. What exactly would a fair deal for Dunn be?

The 29-year-old had a solid offensive season in 2008 and produced 29.7 wRAA. Not quite as good as 2007 (36.2), but it wasn’t because Dunn didn’t hit homeruns. In fact, Dunn has hit exactly 40 homeruns four straight seasons, and more than 40 five straight seasons. Instead, the drop in wOBA and slugging percentage seems to be tied with a .262 batting average on balls in play. Roughly 18% of batted balls were line drives, which suggests Dunn’s BABIP is a bit unlucky. Consider that if Dunn’s BABIP was simply .299 (using the somewhat tired .120 + LD% method of expected BABIP) he would’ve recorded 12 more hits with 318 non-homerun batted balls. Even if each of those were singles, Dunn’s slugging would have jumped more than 0.02 points.

Defensively Dunn is poor. Over the past three seasons Dunn has recorded UZRs of -11.1, -14.9, and -10.1 in left field. Dewan’s +/- has Dunn worth -58 plays since 2006, or -46.4 runs, an average of -15.5 runs per season. Somehow PMR put Dunn in the positive. Positioning? Fluke? Who knows. That still doesn’t save Dunn from a negative average. Call it -10.

Marcels doesn’t seem to like Dunn too much, a .383 wOBA and 20.5 wRAA. I can easily see Dunn outperforming that projection, and I’ll say 25 wRAA, which could be a wee pessimistic. Dunn seems like a safe bet to get around 650 plate appearances, and gives us the equation necessary for projecting Dunn’s WAR, between 2.6 and 2.8, depending on whether you use 22.5 or 20 runs.

I called it 2.7 WAR and figured Dunn will get around a four-year deal. Depending on how you feel about Dunn’s potential decline, I have Dunn worth roughly 45 million. Now, let’s see if 11.25 annually is “fair” to the Dunn camp.

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Greg F.
13 years ago

As a Yankee fan, I would definitely prefer Dunn at 4/45 to Manny at 3/75, and I hope the Yankees think the same thing.

13 years ago
Reply to  Greg F.

except that if the Yankees could shell out 25 per for a postion they are overflowing with, then maybe they should consider giving the same money to someone who will actually fill a position of need for them .