We wrote about Adam Dunn coming to the north side this off-season more because of the quotes from Carlos Zambrano indicating that he would love to have Dunn on the Cubs because of his big left-handed bat. While it made a lot of sense from several perspectives, I wasn’t sure how likely it would be given the tenuous financial position that the Cubs are in – they had the highest payroll of any National League team in 2010, but only finished with 75 wins.
Now it looks like Dunn has the Cubs on his radar screen and the Cubs have Dunn high on their wish list. But will it happen. Dunn has averaged 40 HR’s and 100 RBI’s a season for each of the last 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals. At 31 years of age (by the start of the 2011 MLB season), those numbers will likely dip a little bit, but Dunn should still be a nice fit for the Cubs after the departure of Derrek Lee. The Cubs need a left-handed bat to take some of the pressure off of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup. Dunn is also durable – having missed just a total of 26 games during those 7 years. Dunn also has good numbers at Wrigley Field – 25 HR’s in 66 games – tied for the most with Albert Pujols by any active player for the most home runs by an opponent at the Friendly Confines. He has 41 career home runs against the Cubs, 2nd only to Pujols’ 47 for active players. Sure he strikes out a lot – his 199 strikeouts in 2010 was the 2nd most in the major leagues – and his batting average is never great – .267 in 2009was his career-best – but he would be a major upgrade from Lee at 1st base. His .358 career on-base percentage would fit nicely in the Cubs lineup as well. How you would like to a see a projected lineup of – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Blake DeWitt? If the Cubs can somehow move Soriano, you c ould see another average-type player in his place on a daily base which would be an upgrade as well.
GM Jim Hendry and Dunn do have some sort of personal relationship from over the years. The Cubs couldn’t sign Dunn back in 2009 (when he signed a 2-year deal with the Nationals), because Derrek Lee was under contract until the end of the 2010 MLB season. Makes sense that Dunn only signed a 2-year stint with the Nats, making look ahead to 2011 when the Cubs would be in the market for a 1st baseman. The Nats never pulled the trigger on a trade to move Dunn this past July before the trading deadline, and their attempts to lure Dunn back at the end of the season went nowhere. Dunn clearly won’t be back in DC – the question is will he end up playing for the Cubs and if so, how long of a deal will he get?