Adam Dunn vs Jose Bautista

I keep hearing about how the White Sox want to add either Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder in a deal. I’m smart enough to know that they won’t land Prince without making serious changes to the team, to the point of jeopordizing their playoff hopes or severely alterning their long term future. Therefore, Adam Dunn and Jose Bautista, in my mind, are the best alternatives for the White Sox, and other teams in search of offense, to chase.

To compare the 2 players, I will examine as many aspects of their profiles as possible.

1 – Stats

Adam Dunn: 352 AB/ 99 hits/ 27 DB/ 2 TR/ 23 HRs/ 63 RBI/ .281 AVG/ .369 OBP/ .565 SLG/ .935 OPS

Jose Bautista: 347 AB/ 84 hits/ 21 DB/ 2 TR/ 27 HRs/ 67 RBI/ .242 AVG/ .355 OBP/ .548 SLG/ .900 OPS

Edge goes to Adam Dunn in stats, mainly due to the average, hits, and doubles. Also, he has a historical base to point to that lets you know he’s more than likely going to keep his power numbers up at a minimum. Bautista, on the other hand, could regress. Otherwise their stats match up almost perfectly. I would say the edge isn’t big enough to give Dunn much of a lead.

2 – Positions Played

Adam Dunn: 2010 – 1B/DH for 5 errors, 2009 – 1B/RF/LF/DH for 16 errors (8 in OF, 8 at 1B)

Jose Bautista: 2010 – 1B/3B/CF/RF/DH for 5 errors, 2009 – LF/CF/RF/3B/DH for 4 errors

*Jose Bautista is tied for the lead in outfield assists despite playing 32 games at other positions.

Analysis: Huge edge to Jose Bautista because the acquiring team is able to fit Jose in at various positions. Some of the teams looking for pop, the White Sox for example, are set at 1B and LF and would rather use someone at 3B or RF. Add the fact that Jose Bautista leads all OF in assists despite playing other positions this season and you’ve got one hell of a lead for Jose in versatility.

3 – Salaries

Adam Dunn: 2010 – $12,000,000; will become a FA in 2011 and is seeking a 3-4 year deal at over $10,000 per season (total $30,000,000 to $40,000,000)

Jose Bautista: 2010 – $2,400,000; 2011 – will go to Arbitration (4), can become a FA in 2012. His 2011 salary will be above $5,000,000, but could be well below Dunn’s $12,000,000 from 2010.

Analysis: Huge edge to Jose Bautista because he is not just a rental and will cost the acquiring team very little from here to the end of the season. However, if the team would rather use Dunn as a rental and get draft picks for losing the slugger thereafter, he gets the edge.

4. Intangibles

Both players are worth a ton to their respective clubs for similar reasons. they are great clubhouse guys who are finally feeling at home now that they are seeing success with their respective clubs.

Many who are looking to acquire Adam Dunn point to health as one big reason they are afraid to hand the big guy a huge contract when he becomes a FA after this season. Since he’s looking for a 3-4 year contract, the contract would run through years 31 to 34, making it a riskier alternative than simply playing Jose Bautista his arbitration award (or enough money to avoid arbitration being more likely). Those who are watching Lance Berkman breakdown would definitely say that the same kind of series of events could be awaiting Adam Dunn.

Jose Bautista is 29 and healthy as can be. His arbitration 4 year could cost quite a bit, but he could also be enticed to sign a more team favorable contract now that he’s had his “big year”, meaning that a 3-4 year contract at $7-8 million per season is not out of the question and would be more manageable than Adam Dunn’s expected $10-12 million demands. Jose’s build and health are more condusive to a healthy playing career and the fact that he is slightly younger should also play into the equation.

Both are now leaders in the clubhouse. Adam took on the task in Washington and is loving the environment there. He’s stated that he’d like to stay long term and may be “unhappy” if moved. Being on a winning team usually changes that pretty quickly, but I still say he may be more valuable to the Nats than to any other club. Hey, they have a real slugger who wants to remain there and wants to teach their young Harper the ropes when he gets there – that’s not something that’s easy to find. Will any other FAs be willing to go there and do the same if Adam isn’t there already? I’m not so sure. Therefore, the chances they sign Adam to an extension are pretty substantial.

Jose Bautista, meanwhile, has also taken on the leadership role in the clubhouse to take Yunel Escobar under his wing. His versatility has been invaluable to the Jays this season and his power looks great in the 3-hole. His power stroke doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and he is as positive an influence on the team as you can get. There’s only 1 problem – he’s in Travis Snider’s spot, plain and simple. And between Fred Lewis and Jose Bautista, guess who has more trade value? Yep. Then there’s the possibility of keeping him at 3B, a real possibility with Edwin struggling with constitency at times. Sure, they could do it for 2011 after signing him to avoid arbitration, then let Jose build Type A status and let him walk after 2011. They’d net 2 high picks and would get to use their new scouting staff at maximum performance once again. However, they’d also run the risk of pitchers aroung the AL finding big holes in his swing and losing all value he has, including his possible Type A status.

Just look at what happened to Aaron Hill and Adam Lind after their big seasons in 2009. Who could of predicted it? Therefore, Toronto should treat Jose Bautista like a hot potato. Grab as big a package as you can for him and move on. Sure, it’ll hurt and he could do well elsewhere, but when you look at the edges he has over someone as big as Adam Dunn above, well, you get the sense that his value will never be greater.

Therefore, I give the intangibles edge to Jose Bautista on all counts.

My prediction is that the Nationals will ask for too much in return for Adam Dunn and that they’ll decide to keep him around for 3-4 years….probably 3. Then, the White Sox will find out that Prince Fielder is also out of reach and will call Alex Anthopolous. Once that call is made, the returns may be something like the following:

To the White Sox – Jose Bautista and Kevin Gregg

To the Blue Jays – Dayan Viciedo, Santos Rodriguez, and 2 more prospects.

We’ll find out whether my take on this is accurate or not by Saturday while enjoying what is turning out to be a very entertaining trade deadline period! You have to feel badly for the Angels who saw Dan Haren get knocked out of the game yesterday after being hit by a line drive….ouch!

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Tags: Jose Bautista Yunel Escobar

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