Despite letting everyone on the planet know he wants to return to the Washington Nationals next season, Adam Dunn may not get that opportunity. Word out of the nation’s capital is that the Nats are willing to let the free-agent-to-be walk this offseason because they are tired of putting up with his defensive shortcomings at first base.
Dunn is in the final weeks of a two-year, $20 million contract, and while he’s put up fantastic numbers offensively for the Nats, the guy is a designated hitter in first baseman’s clothes.
In 2009 Dunn blasted 38 home runs and drove in 105 runs, while hitting .267. He also finished with a .398 OBP and a .927 OPS. But he made 16 errors between playing first base, and both corner outfield spots.
This season so far, Dunn has hit 34 home runs, driven in 91 runs, is carrying a .268 batting average, a .363 OBP and a .916 OPS. While his offensive numbers this season have been really nice (second in the NL in home runs, sixth in OPS), Dunn has also committed eight errors while playing first base exclusively this year.
For the record, eight errors as a first baseman is awful. Dunn ranks 16th out of the 23 players who qualify for fielding percentage at first base at .993. While that might not seem too awful, remember that the 6’6, 287-pound Dunn has the range of a sloth and the agility of a continent.
The Nationals are reportedly looking to go with a cheaper option at first base and may look to add Derek Lee or Carlos Pena.
For Dunn, some team will certainly be hot on his tail this winter. One option would be the Chicago Cubs, though the White Sox have also expressed interest.