Earlier this afternoon, I powered on the car radio just in time to eavesdrop on a steady stream of well-prompted Reds fans calling in to the only local sports radio station and giving their two cents about where Adam Dunn should hit in the Reds lineup. Some said sixth, some said seventh, some others wanted him to hit in the two-hole, and one gentleman- who I can only presume was under the influence of a powerful heroin & absinthe cocktail- said he would prefer that The Dunner hit in the leadoff spot. Personally, I don’t care where he hits, (or shall I say, "swings".....or shall I say, "flails") but if he can’t figure out how to knock in his teammates, I’d prefer it that Dunn Quixote swing at windmills while in the middle of a different team’s lineup. If a stray single here & there with a runner leading off of second is too difficult a task, or the thought of delivering a semi-deep fly ball with a runner on third is too tall of an order, then I suggest he be shipped down the river for a couple of young pitchers and a fundamentally sound minor leaguer to be named later.
I’m not going to stand here and say Adam Dunn doesn’t have value. on the contrary, he certainly does have value, a lot of value in fact- to the right buyer. Despite his poor defense and enormous strikeout rate, his powerful presence and high OBP in the lineup as the DH of an already solid American League team could be extremely beneficial. But on a Reds team that’s built more for a run at the Metro Tournament than a run at the NL Central, coupled with a tight-fisted owner and a GM who's more concerned with not exposing the likes of Jason Romano to waivers than bringing up a 95-mph throwing, 2.19 ERA reliever, there’s just no room for a brick-gloved, 260-pound, 550-foot solo home run machine. It’s just too many freaks in an already crowded freak show.
And pardon me for digressing a bit here, but isn’t this whole “No Sac Flies In Over a Thousand At Bats” streak for a guy with the most pronounced upper cut since Marvin Hagler simply nothing short of astonishing? I mean, he swings at the ball each and every time intentionally aiming to put another hole in the ozone layer, and by virtue of his twenty one homers so far this season, he often accomplishes this feat. Yet, he can't seem to do it if a teammate is hovering around the third base bag. It's simply perplexing, and I don’t know if any of us fully realize how truly amazing this streak is. This could be likened to something like watching Jerome Bettis fall down in the backfield. On every single third and one situation. For a season and a half! It's like witnessing Shaq miss every dunk. Uncontested. For a season and a half! It's like watching Tom Cruise miss an opportunity to promote Scientology, like Star Jones passing on some chocolate covered Krispy Kremes, like Donald Trump letting a chance at self-promotion slip away, like Tom Cruise missing on an open invitation to drone on and on about Scientology...... In other words, it’s honestly almost unfathomable. Yes, un....fath....om....a....ble. What's also unfathomable is the strikeout ratio, the defensive regression, and the soon-to-be, arbitration-powered, $8+ million salary that he'll be rewarded with.
So the problem, or problems, are perplexing and daunting, to say the least. But the question becomes this; “Can Adam Dunn be fixed?” Is there anyone in the Reds stable of brilliant baseball minds who can possibly detect whether his are physical issues or mental issues, and then provide the necessary steps fix them? If so, then Mr. O’Brien, uh, whaddya say you go ahead and get on it? If not, Mr. O’Brien, whaddya say you get on the horn and dial up a contender willing to sell their souls for a few solo dingers? Whatever the answer, two things are certain: 1) With his impending year-end arbitration awaiting, the Reds literally cannot afford to wait to make a decision, and 2) They can’t afford to be wrong in their assessment of this organizationally home-grown guy. In other words, they can’t afford to fall victim to Worst Case Scenario here. What’s the WCS here? Simply put; dealing Dunn for a couple prospects who don’t pan out while he gets tweaked into the next Big Klu by his new club.
While the Austin Kearns Experiment plays out and issues of what to do with the likes of Sean Casey, Joe Randa, Rich Aurilia and Eric Milton will loom large and carry great importance over the next few weeks, nothing, not any other single baseball decision down at GABP, is as vitally important to this club as the decision regarding what to do with Adam Dunn. And the good news Reds fans- it’s all in the capable hands of “40-man-Dan”.