Monday, November 22, 2010

Adam Dunn - the classic power vs. defense debate

To me, the Tigers' best option among the free agent power hitters available is clearly Adam Dunn. Power has always been the most valuable offensive tool in baseball, but has even become more so in recent years after tests were increased for performance enhancing substances. Dunn is perhaps the best home run hitter in the game. And he is left-handed.
There is, however, the obvious downside to Dunn. How much can he do in the outfield? He is 290 pounds. He played first base last season, the domain of Miguel Cabrera with the Tigers. How much would he be willing to DH?
It's the classic balance of defense vs. offense debate. I still think the Tigers would be wise to sign Dunn. They would have to wait out the Scott Boras process with Jayson Werth, and might be left with nothing. Victor Martinez isn't a good defensive catcher. Multi-skilled Carl Crawford is ideal, but Detroit for some reason (and I may be wrong about this) doesn't seem like a place he will likely land.
But if the Tigers were to sign Dunn, they need to make sure right field isn't weak defensively (could mean the end of Magglio Ordonez in Detroit) .

Random Thoughts

- Loved the signing of Joaquin Benoit for the Tigers' bullpen. With Phil Coke moved into the starting rotation, it means the Tigers pitching staff is clearly shaping up as the best in the American League Central. Augment their lineup in a couple spots - and the Tigers could really have something.

- Sure. There is a going to be a lot of attention on Michigan State Saturday at Penn State. But I look at it like the Spartans don't have that much to lose in that game. At worst, they will have a 10-2 season. If they were to go 11-1 and share in their first conference championship since 1990, it would be a huge bonus.
I didn't expect that much from MSU this season. Three games have made the Spartans' season - a close victory over Notre Dame, and the come-from-behind victories over Purdue and Northwestern. It wasn't their fault they didn't play Ohio State.



Anonymous Nolan said...

Not a fan of signing Dunn. Defensively the Tigers would be better served putting the Kaline statue in RF. Offensively he will not come close to what he's done the last few years. Players' stats often fall of when switching leagues. Playing half his games in Comerica will turn 5 - 10 HR's to long fly outs. He strikes out too much. His BB/K ratio is even higher than Inge's (2.58 to 2.48).

12:27 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, hope all is well. I do agree with Benoit signing even though they overpaid but Detroit doesn’t have an ocean view or as big as NY. Coke is your #5 starter but unless they sign another lefty in the bullpen I would leave him there. I do not agree with Dunn even as a 100% DH. I would rather have V-Mart or Guerrero or Maggs as your full-time DH. The problem I have with Dunn is his 199K last year. Dunn is a version of Inge that has triple the power but 50 more K per year. Pitchers will still pitch around Miggy to pitch to Dunn weak spots.

12:54 PM 
Blogger Larry Baker said...

Great to have you blogging again, Book. Regarding Dunn post, two things: 1) It sure would be nice to beef up the line-up with a position player like Werth or Crawford. But I agree that protecting Cabrera is imperative even if it means signing a defensive liability like Dunn or Martinez. 2) Isn't strange how the Tigers have vacillated from offense first Renteria/Sheffield line ups to fielding first Everett/Laird line ups back to offense. I worry sometimes that they react rather than plan.

2:07 PM 
Blogger Glen J Stroup (WiredTiger) said...

If they do sign Dunn they have to convince him that DH and backing up at 1B is the best place for him. He will cost them too much defensively in LF.

3:03 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Dunn's defense is so bad that it wipes out a lot of the value in his offense. I'd still like the Tigers to sign him, but only to be the primary DH.

On the other hand I don't particularly care for signing Martinez long term. His offensive value comes from playing C, but he's destined to be a DH pretty soon. Dunn would be similarly priced but would provide MUCH more offense at DH.

However the ideal route may be spending big on Crawford or Werth and then signing a cost effective yet still dangerous DH like Thome or Vlad.

8:09 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book - glad your back - I hope all is well. I was surprised and happy to hear you on the radio this weekend.

290 lbs. Right field. Hmmm.

Right field at home is huge. But then so is Dunn.

Seems like a bad move unless Dunn DHs. I thnk Martinez catching gives us a batter bang for the buck. I don't buy the talk that Avila can be the everyday catcher.

I don't think you completely sacrafice defense for power.

1:11 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad your feeling better Pat.
Tigers off season should be Crawford for LF bat 2nd, sign V-Mart to C-DH and bat 5th, and bring back Maggs for RF and DH when v-mart catches. trade for a better starter to slot between Verlander and Scherzer. and this puts Coke back in the pen. Coke threw 65 innings in 2010. He will hit a limit with 110-120 innings and then what.

9:32 AM 

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