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Monday, August 11, 2008

Diamondbacks Trade For Adam Dunn

The Arizona Diamondbacks have traded three players to the Reds for Adam Dunn, according to ESPN and MLB.com; the Snakes gave up Dallas Buck and two players to be named later.

Dunn will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the Snakes get draft picks should it come to that. He's hitting for very low average this year, sporting a .233/.373/.528 line in an off season for average but a solid OBP as usual. The Diamondbacks probably felt obliged to do something; earlier in the week, starting second baseman Orlando Hudson had season-ending surgery on his left wrist. He'll provide much-needed sock in a fairly weak Diamondbacks lineup, but the question is how much his poor defense will hurt the team. The Transaction Guy says Dunn is expected to play right field instead of his customary left, where BPro's Rate2 has him as a typically mid-80's player; imagine how much worse he could be if he played in right. Now, the Diamondbacks have been careful to assemble a mostly groundball staff, headlined by Brandon Webb; but Randy Johnson (at this stage of his career), Micah Owings (now optioned to AAA because of general sucktitude in both the bullpen and as a starter), and Yusmiero Petit (the man who replaced Owings in the rotation) are all flyball pitchers, and not by a little. This should make for some fun lowlight reels, and maybe a good drinking game when they play the Dodgers: whose outfielder looks more like a dancing bear? Manny, or Dunn?

Update: Some interesting comments in today's DT gameday thread; Tommy Naccarato notes that the reds.mlb.com site story has this data point:

Other clubs also put in waiver claims for Dunn but Miller would not reveal which ones, citing league rules. Arizona was awarded the claim based on its having the worst record among the claiming teams.
The ever-trenchant Eric Enders (see comment 28) adds this:
How could acquiring an excellent power hitter for nothing (at least in terms of players) ever be a problem? Even if there's no place for him to start, he can pinch hit better than Sweeney. Even if he's wasted on the bench, at least you prevented him from being traded to your only competitor.

There is no conceivable downside to it, other than money. And despite what [DT commenter] Greg Brock says, the circumstantial evidence continues to mount that the Dodgers can't afford to add payroll in midseason. Lack of money (or unwillingness to spend it) is the only plausible reason for not keeping Dunn away from the Diamondbacks.

I agree with Eric, this is pretty damning. If it's true, and there's good reason now to think it is, it's the second time this season we've heard reports that the Dodgers can't take on more payroll; the first time was during the various iterations of the Manny trade, when Ken Rosenthal claimed the Dodgers were unable to execute a rumored C.C. Sabathia trade due to an inability to add payroll, a report that was subsequently denied in the Times. Never mind that the Dodgers were one of the few teams in the majors that didn't really need starting pitching, a fact that eroded that rumored trade's credibility and all the surrounding data.

Update 2: Christina Kahrl ($) isn't sure this represents a big upgrade for the Snakes:

There's still the problem of how this is a question of improvement by degrees, because the difference between Dunn and Tracy isn't nearly as significant as the difference between Orlando Hudson and his potential replacements. The team's got a very real hole at second base now that Hudson's out for the year (again), and will miss the playoffs (again). Augie Ojeda's a decent defender, patient at the plate, and a solid executioner on the bunt, but that's about the limit of his virtues, and it's better experienced in small doses, not spread across seven weeks or more of full-time play. Mark Reynolds could play second base, but so could Chad Tracy or Tony Clark for as practicable as such a move might be; Reynolds wasn't good at it in the minors, and as amusing as such an e-max move might be for theorists willing to punt defense, it's a pretty improbable scenario. It would be easy to write off Chris Burke at this point, given how badly he's hitting (.190/.302/.234), but it's also worth noting that he's never really been given an extended series of starts to get on track, not that he's earned them; if there's still anything there, there would be no time like the present for it to show up. Beyond that, the Snakes don't have much to fall back on (where's Danny Richar or Emilio Bonifacio when you need them?), so don't be surprised if this is a situation that Byrnes is working on by taking a good look at who's putting in an appearance on waivers.
It's not clear what she means here; is the current Playoff Odds Report notion that the Snakes are 61% likely to be division winners wrong somehow?

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