Bad Contract of the Day to Swap Jason Bay With: Adam Dunn

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After posting his second consecutive subpar season for the Mets, Jason Bay proved his lucrative $66 million, four-year deal was a complete bust. And even though Bay did see his homerun total double (from 6 homeruns to 12 homeruns), he also saw a decline in batting average (from .259 to .245), on-base percentage (from .347 to .329), slugging percentage (from .402 to .374), and ISO (from .144 to .128).

Bay has a guaranteed $35 million over the next two seasons (including his $3 million buyout for 2014), which makes him an incredibly difficult person to trade. However, despite how bad Bay’s contract is, there is a good chance the Mets could swap him for today’s “Bad Contract of the Day to Swap Jason Bay With,” outfielder Adam Dunn.

From 2002 to 2010, Adam Dunn was one of the premier power-hitters in the Major Leagues. During that period, he hit at least 20 homeruns each year, and from 2004 to 2010, he even averaged 40 homeruns per season. While he also led the league in wiffs from 2004 to 2006, he also owned a magnificent .381 OBP and .518 SLG (from 2002 to 2010). So when Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Chicago White Sox prior to the 2011 season, most people were not only in favor of the deal, but considered it to be a steal.

However, Dunn’s first season in Chicago was downright dreadful. The slugger posted a career-worst .159/.292/.277 line with just 11 homeruns, 42 RBI, and 36 runs. From a peripheral standpoint, it gets even scarier. Dunn went from a strikeout machine with great power (30.7% K% and .276 ISO in 2010) to an extreme strikeout machine with no power (35.7% K% and .118 ISO). While his .240 BABIP signals “bad luck,” the hitter’s 70.1% Contact% was on par with his 70.1% career rate–meaning he was still making his usual contact, but just had zero pop behind it. Overall, Dunn’s 2011 season was worth -2.9 fWAR, which is equivalent to -$13 million. Yes, negative money. Considering Dunn showed no signs of slowing down prior to 2011, one has to think that the decimation of his skills could be psychological.

In regards to a Adam Dunn for Jason Bay swap, it would come down to if the Mets felt a change of scenery (and move back the National League) would somehow re-trigger his inconceivably lost power. In the event Dunn were to even partially re-discover his hitting abilities, his god-awful defense (career -13.7 UZR/150 in 9179 outfield innings) would destroy his overall production–unless he hit like his MVP-worthy 2004-self (.266/.388/.569). In addition–unlike Bay–Dunn’s $15 million salary in 2014 is guaranteed. The White Sox would likely kick the Mets some cash, but if the former-slugger continued to be a hopeless dud, it would be a bummer seeing him trot out to left or rightfield a season longer than Bay would have had to. Given the huge question mark surrounding “what went wrong” as well as Dunn’s pathetic defense anywhere on the field, it makes a Jason Bay swap too unappetizing and very unlikely.

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