Nationals Sign Adam Dunn
Carla Peay | 2/12/2009, 5:05 p.m.
Coming off of a 102-59 record last season, the Washington Nationals were well aware that changes were needed in this off-season in order to make the club a respectable major league franchise. A major step was taken in that direction with the signing of free agent Adam Dunn. Dunn, a 6-foot-6, 275 slugger with excellent power numbers, will give the team some much needed help in the middle of the lineup. Dunn was signed to a two-year deal, reportedly worth $10 million.
Although Dunn had expressed interest in signing with a contending team, he spoke of how Nationals manager Manny Acta changed his mind during a press conference held at Nats Park on Thur. Feb. 12.
€Manny was a big influence [in his decision]. Playing here gives me the opportunity to make my mark on something. The team is healthy now. This can be a fun place to play if we win,€ Dunn said. Dunn spoke in glowing terms about the new stadium, and thanked the team€s owners and management for giving him the opportunity to play a leadership role with the organization.
€Ryan Zimmerman is still the face of this franchise. When you thing about the Nationals, you think about him. But this is a young team €" the youngest in baseball €" and I can take some of the pressure off of the young players,€ Dunn added.
The 29-year-old left hander will be inserted into the clean-up spot in the batting order. Dunn does have a propensity to strike out, but he has also hit at least 40 home runs in his last five seasons.
€I€m extremely excited about having a big left handed bat in the lineup,€ Acta said. €We need people like him to come here. We want to achieve respectability in this league. We took a huge step forward in our franchise,€ Acta said of Dunn€s acquisition.
Dunn plays both first base and left field, but what position he will play with the team has yet to be determined.
€At the end of spring training, we will see what is best for the team,€ Acta said.
Prior to signing with the Nationals, Dunn played for the Reds from 2001 through 2008, before a late season trade landed Dunn with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of last season. A former Red, as is Nats right fielder Austin Kearns, Dunn says that his best days are still ahead of him.
€He is the kind of players who will represent the Nationals with dignity both on and off the field,€ said owner Mark Lerner. €It will change the way people look at baseball in Washington D.C.€
After failing to land perhaps the biggest free agent position player on the market this off season, first baseball Mark Teixeira, who signed with the Yankees in December, the Nationals claimed that they then set their sights on landing Dunn.
€He has been on our radar for a while,€ said Nats general manager Jim Bowden. €Our goal was to acquire a bat that could hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs. I€m glad to be able to stand here today having done that. His numbers speak for themselves. We are really pleased to have him here. He is a player that fans will love to have as a part of this community.€