All winter we've been hearing that the market just isn't there for free agents, that the big contracts just aren't coming, that the economy is hurting baseball, etc. Some days, like when Pat Burrell signs a 2-year/$16 million contract, that seems true. Other days, like when Hank Steinbrenner is feeling bored, that seems like total crap. But if you're looking for a sobering reminder of just how slow this offseason has been, look no further than this story about the "market" for Adam Dunn.
As it stands right now, Dunn might be looking at a $5 million deal in 2009. That's a lot of money for you or me, but Dunn's hit 40 or more homers in his last five seasons. He made $13 million last year and hit 40 bombs with a .386 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage. Maybe his batting average isn't great and maybe he doesn't play great defense, but he certainly didn't have the kind of year that gets rewarded with an $8 million paycut.
And still, it looks like that's where we are right now. Interest in Dunn may increase when Manny Ramirez signs, but right now it's mostly just the Nationals looking to add the big outfielder to the mix. If $5 million is the best offer Dunn gets, you can bet he's only going to be willing to take a one-year deal wherever he signs in the hopes that the market is better next winter.
The longer this winter goes on, the more it reminds me of the winter of 2002-2003 that saw Jeff Suppan, Reggie Sanders, and Kenny Lofton all sign for the Pirates for a total of less than $3 million. Which is to say, don't be surprised if Adam Dunn ends up on the Nats this year.
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