The Nationals lost again tonight, and have now lost 10 of their last 12 games. This team has glaring issues with their roster, and after being in DC for 6 years I’m still seeing the Montreal Expos. There is little reason to cheer, especially without Stephen Strasburg’s arm for the next 12 to 18 months. For that reason, along with a slew of others, it is so important for Washington to re-sign first basemen Adam Dunn.
Corner infielders that can hit for power are highly coveted in Major League Baseball, and the Nationals have a fierce combination of third basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. If you look at a few of the teams competing for postseason play, you see that they are very strong at the corner infield spots. For example:
- NY Yankees: 1b Mark Texeria (30 HR), 3b Alex Rodriguez (25 HR)
- TB Rays: 1b Carlos Pena (27 HR), 3b Evan Longoria (21 HR)
- Cin Reds: 1b Joey Votto (34 HR), 3b Scott Rolen (19HR)
You could argue that Dunn’s asking price is rather hefty, but the truth of the matter is that the Nationals lack the resources to attract a suitable replacement. Without his bat in the line up you leave Ryan Zimmerman with zero protection (teams basically don’t have to pitch to him), and you push this team’s development back even farther.
The Nats should instead build their offense around him, and they can start by upgrading at other positions. A reliable center fielder could really help the young pitching staff by running down would-be extra base hits. Current CF Nyger Morgan’s defensive lapses and erratic behavior have been an eye sore an already ugly season. Finding a short stop that can play an entire season with less than 15 errors is ideal too, and could really help solidify an otherwise talented infield that includes Zimmerman, and future star second basemen Danny Espinosa. A power-hitting outfielder would also have to be on this list, because LF Josh Willingham is all they have there.
In 2012, the Nationals will have their top of the rotation pitcher back when Strasburg returns from Tommy John surgery. With Strasburg back at the top, the development of current pitchers, and possibly adding one other veteran hurler then Washington will have a reliable pitching staff in place. However, without the bats necessary to score runs in bunches, it just won’t matter and Nationals fans will be doomed to more of the same. Plan for that 2012 playoff run by keeping Adam Dunn in D.C.