Maybe Ricciardi is right -- maybe the game is more of a job than a joy to Dunn. But that doesn't stop him from being pretty damned good at it. ESPN baseball analysts and other casual fans don't realize or recognize quite how productive the 29-year-old has been in his eight-year career -- to be honest, I didn't either until giving his baseballreference.com page a deeper look recently. His career adjusted OPS of 130 is just four points lower than Teixeira's. He's hit at least 40 home runs in five straight seasons, and exactly 40 in the past four -- how's that for consistency? He's the major league leader in home runs and walks over the past five years, and then there's this: His career home run rate of one every 13.96 at-bats is fifth all time, trailing guys named McGwire, Ruth, Bonds, and Thome.
This list of the five players most similar to Dunn at age 28 may also raise some eyebrows, if only because he isn't often perceived as being in their stellar (if in certain cases star-crossed) company:
1. Darryl Strawberry (brilliant in his youth)
2. Jose Canseco (ditto)
3. Harmon Killebrew (H of F)
4. Rocky Colavito (better than Harvey Kuenn)
5. Reggie Jackson (H of F)
Knowing all of that, you're telling me Dunn's particular set of offensive skills doesn't appeal to the Bill James Red Sox? In a lot of ways, he is their ideal. Under slightly different circumstances -- say, such as one where Lowell did not re-sign with the club before last season and instead accepted the Phillies' superior offer -- I bet Dunn would be coveted by the Sox. And it's not out of the realm of possibility that they are covertly pursuing him anyway. FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal reported Jan. 14 that the Sox have "some interest" in Dunn, though he also couched it by calling it a long shot. His source was a "rival executive" -- is that you, J.P.? -- meaning that it was probably more conjecture than anything, but it was certainly enough to pique my interest, especially since Dunn would not cost a first-round pick as compensation because the Diamondbacks did not offer him arbitration.
According to the Washington Post, Dunn is still holding out hope for a four-year, $56 million deal. Last offseason, he probably could have doubled that contract, but in this economic climate, he'll be lucky to get $10 million a year. (Somewhere, Jason Varitek weeps stoically into his catcher's mitt.)
But make no mistake, even at his own asking price, Adam Dunn is going to be some team's bargain. No disrespect to Mike Lowell, but I keep catching myself hoping he somehow becomes Boston's.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.