Where Do The OFs Land?

Yesterday, we saw Milton Bradley go to Chicago and Pat Burrell land in Tampa Bay. In general, Cubs fans and Rays fans are happy with their new acquisitions, and both teams are viewing their shiny new hitters as potentially the missing piece that could put them over the top.

You know who can’t be happy about those deals, though? Bobby Abreu, and to a lesser extent, Adam Dunn. The ceiling has been firmly established for offense first corner outfielders (non-Manny Ramirez category), and it’s much lower than it has been in past seasons. There’s not going to be a Carlos Lee type deal out there for Dunn, and Abreu won’t be able to pull in J.D. Drew type money. They’re going to have to take dramatic pay cuts in order to find a team willing to employ them.

The teams that were expected to be in the market for power bats were Tampa Bay, Oakland, Seattle, Anaheim, the Yankees, the Cubs, Atlanta, and maybe Washington. The Rays got Burrell, the A’s got Matt Holiday and Jason Giambi, the Mariners signed Russell Branyan, the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, and the Cubs signed Bradley. That leaves the Angels, Nationals, and maybe the Mariners as teams who could potentially still be interested in a left-handed power hitter with questionable defense.

Washington seems to make the most sense for Adam Dunn – he knows Jim Bowden from his days with the Reds, his best friend in the world is Austin Kearns, and the Nats are reportedly looking for a first baseman, since they don’t want to count on either Nick Johnson or Dmitri Young for 2009 and beyond. Dunn has experience at first base and would probably be willing to move there for a full time job and a decent contract. But considering that the rumored offer from Washington for Bradley was 3/30, it’s unlikely that they’d go higher than that for Dunn, especially in a market where he doesn’t have too many other obvious fits. Would Dunn settle for a contract in the 2/20 range? He might have to, because while he is younger than Burrell, they are comparable players, and his options are quickly dwindling.

Let’s assume Dunn does end up in Washington. That leaves Abreu trying to convince the Braves, Angels, and Mariners to start a bidding war for his services. None of them seem particularly interested, though. The Angels brought back Juan Rivera, which gives them four players to rotate through the OF/DH spots. The Mariners are bagain shopping, picking up the likes of Branyan and Chris Shelton, and kicking the tires on Jerry Hairston. Neither of them seem likely to offer up a high eight figures deal for an aging outfielder. That leaves the Braves as the best fit for Abreu – they know him from his time in Philadelphia, they’ve got a narrow window of contention, and they’ve got the payroll room to pay him. But with some intriguing outfield prospects coming, they’re not going to want to give out a long term deal. Abreu might be forced to settle for a one year contract from Atlanta if he wants anything close to $10 million for the 2009 season, which still represents a 33% paycut over his 2008 salary.

2/20 for Adam Dunn and 1/10 for Bobby Abreu? At the end of the season, those guys would have scoffed at numbers like that, but that might be the best case scenario for Dunn and Abreu now.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Brian Cartwright
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Brian Cartwright

Dunn will only be 29, has never lost time to injury, and has been very consistent. I would not be surprised to see Washington offer something like 4/50 for ages 29-32.

Abreu still has a good bat, but he’s in his 30’s and his component skills have been in decline for a few years. He’s about -10 in rf. I could see 2/20, but I wouldn’t commit any longer than that.

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