Zimmerman sad to see Dunn leave Nationals
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said Thursday that he is happy for first baseman Adam Dunn, who agreed to a four-year deal with the White Sox. However, Zimmerman acknowledged that he is concerned about the Nationals. How are they going replace Dunn in the lineup?
It was Dunn who protected Zimmermann in the lineup. Zimmerman will be the first to say that he was able to win the Silver Slugger Award the last two seasons because Dunn was hitting behind him in the lineup.
“I’m very concerned. I think these are supposed to be the years we take a step forward and become more competitive,” Zimmerman said via phone. “We are supposed to be becoming a team that goes out and gets more free agents. To not be able to sign the best free agent that was on your team to begin with is tough. … It’s going to be hard to replace someone [like Dunn] that is in the middle of the order. I hope — just like everyone hopes – that the front office has a plan in place in the next week or two when all this stuff goes on. Hopefully, this will all makes sense.”
While no one questioned Dunn’s ability as a hitter, there were questions about his defense. People in the Nationals’ front office believed he was a defensive liability, but Zimmermann argues that that Dunn was better than what people believed. Zimmerman indicated that Dunn improved at first base by the second half of the 2010 season.
“Adam is the most one of the most underrated players in the game,” Zimmerman said. “Defensively, I think a lot of people think back to when he was in the outfield. He will be the first to tell you that he wasn’t a very good outfielder. He moved to first. I think the second half of last year he started to get better.
“My biggest comparison is Ryan Howard, who I love to death, but Ryan Howard had one more error than Adam Dunn last year, You never hear anyone talk about Ryan Howard’s defense. If you put Adam Dunn in the Phillies lineup, his offense is going to be as good as his. All of a sudden, you have the same player and Ryan Howard makes $25 million a year.”
Zimmerman is aware that the Nationals have a plan in place, trying to replace Dunn with free agents such as Carlos Pena or Adam LaRoche. They could even trade for a first baseman like James Loney. But Zimmerman still wonders if it was worth letting Dunn sign with the White Sox.
“I think myself, including the fans and a lot of other people, are wondering and hoping that the plan is there,” Zimmerman said. “If it’s not there, this is something we are going to look back on and think, ‘Why didn’t we take care of [Dunn]?’ “: