Thursday, January 08, 2009


I advocated LA re-signing Manny Ramirez when asked to write something about the Dodgers offseason for DT, but I didn't offer any thoughts on the possibility of Adam Dunn. I have long liked Adam Dunn as a player but his defensive shortcomings are such that he's not a particularly good value. However, if Dunn were willing to accept a "platoon role," (which, by default, ALL left-handed batters should be willing to accept), his value increases greatly for any team capable of pairing him with a replacement-level right-handed-batting LF. Mr. Colletti, of course, has some bizarre anathema to RHB in the OF, which I have documented at this blog time and again. But while it *should have* been obvious to NC that starting Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez against LHP is a bad move, I suspect it will be even less obvious that using Adam Dunn against LHP is a bad move: you can look right at his statistics and say, "Hey, he's actually still a good hitter against southpaws - no need for a platoon!" BAD THINKING!!! The whole point about taking defense into account is not to add or subtract a player's defensive contributions from their entire value, but to use it contextually throughout the process of roster construction. Adam Dunn starting in LF against RHP is about as good as Manny Ramirez starting in LF against RHP; they are among the best hitters in baseball against RHP. But Manny is an elite hitter against LHP (being right-handed and all), whereas Dunn against LHP is merely around league average for LF's. Dunn's fielding means that he's essentially a replacement-level player on days with a southpaw on the mound, though few have the courage to make this claim (they'd rather throw out BS about Dunn hating baseball or striking out too much). If you take a RHB with an overall batting performance of .330 OBP and .410 SLG with average fielding in the corner, he will outperform Dunn if he's your starter on those days (and you still get to have Dunn on the bench).

My initial reaction to the Juan Pierre signing was that Colletti wasn't too far off but that he absolutely would not make the requisite moves to construct a roster where Pierre would be used in a way that would make him as valuable as his contract; I fear that an Adam Dunn signing would elicit the same response from me.


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