Saturday, November 04, 2006

"How did you know that wasn't me?"

In the fantastic British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, the single living human being remaining in the universe is Dave Lister, a ne'er-do-well. Among other delusions, he fancies that he is a fantastic guitar player, which makes the title of this post a lot funnier than it sounds in a certain situation that occurs during the opening episode of season 6.

Today's newest turn in the saga of Adam Dunn and the Cincinnati Reds, reflecting a larger problem at the Great American Ballpark, reminds me of Lister's line. It also comforts me that our own Mariners have somewhat less incompetent leadership than do the Reds right now.

Item. Newly hired Reds batting coach Brook Jacoby announced in his first press conference that he believes he can "help" Dunn cut down on his strikeouts. Now, improvement is all well and good, and Dunn HAS led the majors in K's for the last three seasons. However, the young man has also swatted 126 HR in those three seasons, and his WORST season in terms of getting on base and slugging is better than every one in Jacoby's own 11-year career, with the one exception of the anomalous 1987 season (which saw Brook Jacoby slug ONE HUNDRED POINTS higher than his next best season, and get on base 22 points better than his second-best effort...huh). HR come with K's, Mr. Jacoby.

The problem that this public statement reveals is bigger than just Jacoby. General Manager Wayne Krivsky (let's call him Dave Lister, just for fun), who soon after taking over that position during the 2006 campaign made one of the worst trades in major league history, has made no secret of his dislike of Dunn's strikeout totals. Dunn has his flaws (he's an awful defensive left fielder, and no great shakes at first), but he's a Three True Outcomes kind of player, and a damn fine one at that. He's also young enough that, other than whispers about conditioning issues, there's not much to worry about in terms of an impending decline. Oh, and he's a left-handed hitter.

Mmmmm. Left-handed sock, anyone?

Alright, let's put the pieces together. Krivsky has made it clear that he's confident in his ability to evaluate talent. He is, therefore, the Dave Lister of MLB. Put a guitar in his hands, and he'll make you wish for an hour listening to Helmet play live instead. But he thinks he's Jimi Hendrix reborn. You get the picture.

This is the kind of GM that makes me feel less ashamed of Seattle's leadership. Let's make an offer to the Reds to take Dunn off of their hands. Now, honestly, he's only a DH; Ibanez is better in left field than Dunn is. So here's the offer: Ben Broussard, Bobby Livingston, Julio Mateo for Dunn. Oh, I know, that's sports-talk-radio-call in bad as an offer, in large part because the Reds have first base filled already, and don't have any use for Broussard. The thing is, Krivsky's just poor enough at his job that he might jump at ANY offer of major league players for Dunn.

Adam Dunn is guaranteed $10.5M in 2007, with a club option for $13M in 2008 ($0.5M buyout). As a young LH slugger with an excellent batting eye, he would fit Safeco like he was built for it. Shipping off Broussard (who could receive in the neighborhood of $5M in arbitration, as Tad guessed earlier), means that we're only taking on about five and a half million bucks to add an exciting power hitter. At his worst, Dunn is a huge upgrade over Benuardo at DH.

Let's look for all the creative ways possible to cut down the ~200 runs we need to compete in the West in 2007; pitching is the priority, but a Dunn acquisition (short of sending away truly valuable properties) is a no-brainer. 29 GMs in baseball probably already know that.


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Tad said...

Love it! But what if got Adam Dunn and Grover played Willie Ballgame because he puts the ball in play??

Would I be required to light myself on fire (tm Bill Simmons)?

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Aha! You've solved the mystery of Dice-K. To wit: Bavasi KNEW that once the Japanese ace arrived, Hargrove would incorrectly conclude that he is really just an (extraordinarily expensive) mopup guy--since he's lacking in MLB experience.

It's gonna be a long season. I think we need a GroverMeter, to count down the days until Hargrove is jettisoned.


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