While I have your attention, I figure I might share a couple thoughts I’ve had recently focusing on left field.
As I’ve made clear, I’m not a proponent of the Raul Ibanez signing. I’m against GM Ruben Amaro’s decision to be hasty and overpay, as well as the choice of player in general.
If you recall, I concluded that article with the declaration that I would’ve preferred Manny Ramirez, even given the price tag. Well, now that the market has developed further, here’s another name I absolutely would have preferred over Ibanez: Adam Dunn.
No, I’m not off my rocker just yet. Trade Ryan Howard? Add another lefty strikeout machine to your lineup? Indeed.
Adam Dunn may, in fact, be the most underrated baseball player of the last four to five years. Heck, you may even be shaking your head at my words because you believe that Dunn is nothing more than a Ryan Howard clone with slightly less power.
Your beliefs would be fairly accurate.
It’s true, Dunn’s power numbers over the last three season do not quite match up with Howard. Here’s a look at their stats from 2006 to 2008:
The only brief disclaimers this table could have is that Dunn has done the same thing for about two additional years before Howard broke in as a full-time player. Also, don’t think I’m saying the Phillies should have one instead of the other or starting some sort of Howard witch hunt. I’m merely illustrating a point.
And that point is this: if you want a left-handed bat in left field to replace a departing Pat Burrell, Dunn is probably the guy you want. That table may not do the best job of illustrating that point, though, because as Dunn has maintained a consistent level of production, Howard’s averages and totals are constantly tugged at from opposite directions. His 2006 season gives everything a boost, while 2008 tends to add a bit of drag.
This is a factor you can’t deny, and it isn’t as if Dunn is ancient and aging. He’s seven years younger than Ibanez, and just 10 days older than Howard. Additionally, should Howard eventually be traded, Dunn could most certainly move to first base.
But comparing Dunn to Howard is not the issue; that was merely to provide a basis of reference. Dunn is what the Phillies do not have, Ibanez is what they do. Let’s see how those two players stack up in the same categories:
Now, take a moment to understand just what those numbers tell you. They tell you, quite simply, that while more of Ibanez’s at-bats end in hits and fewer end in strikeouts, Adam Dunn just makes fewer outs altogether. And, as Joe Posnanski says, isn’t that what batting is really all about?
Neither plays stellar defense – far from it, in fact – and so that part of the equation is moot.
You see the numbers. What the question boils down to is this: would you rather pay t he36-year-old Ibanez an escalating amount for the next three years, or the 30-year-old done a much smaller amount over what could be the same time, knowing what kind of offense each gives your lineup?
If you ask me, I’d answer Dunn.