Tigers, Adam Dunn Reportedly Closing in on Deal
They re-signed Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta before they could really hit the open market. On Wednesday, they landed Joaquin Benoit to bolster their bullpen and might be adding a big bat to their lineup as well. Sources have told Ed Price of FanHouse, Jon Heyman of SI.com and Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the team is seriously pursuing a deal with Adam Dunn.
There's no word from the team at this point about what Dunn's role might be with the team, but they certainly have both the openings in the lineup and on the payroll to make room for him. Magglio Ordonez is gone, taking his $18 million salary with him, which means that Dunn, who has balked at being a DH in the past, would have a spot in an outfield corner.
The Tigers also dropped Jeremy Bonderman's $12 million from the rolls this offseason, and that might be even more significant. Word is that Dunn is looking for a deal of at least three years and $40 million and getting him to put his signature on a dotted line this early would probably require going above each of those numbers.
If that kind of salary does wind up coming to fruition, Dunn's history makes it seem like a somewhat shaky deal. Fangraphs pegs his 2010 season as being worth $15.7 million which has a lot to do with a pretty serious improvement defensively over dreadful 2008 and 2009 campaigns. Given the vagaries of defensive metrics, you have to wonder how much stock to place in that assessment and you must be wary of the normal decline of players who fit the same mold as Dunn.
There's no second-guessing necessary when it comes to Dunn's offensive prowess, however. He has hit 38 or more home runs in every season since 2004, driven in more than 100 runs in each of the last five seasons and has a career OPS of .902.
Those kinds of numbers would look mighty good to a Tigers team that finished eighth in the American League in runs during the 2010 season.