Bill Ladson infuriates me.
Maybe it's the fact that he makes a typo every third word, or maybe it's the fact that he often is only good for pointing out the obvious. Whatever the case, I've never been a fan of Ladson's work.
So, it comes as no surprise that when I read his most recent 'mailbag' I was sent into a tizzy.
One of Ladson's favorite pastimes is openly opining for the removal of Adam Dunn from the Nationals roster. Despite the fact that it would cripple an already weak Nationals offense, Ladson has it in his head that Dunn is the key cog in what ails the Nats.
Overcome with anger/rage/what have you, I have decided to break down Bill's answer to a question posed by a user named Tracy D., who wrote...
Should the Nationals trade Adam Dunn?
-- Tracy D., Washington, D.C.
What follows is Ladson's response; my thoughts are intertwined between the quotes.
I have mixed feelings about Dunn. Considering the Nationals are having problems on defense, I would say they would have to make a move. While Dunn has improved at first base, I think Washington can do better. Granted, Dunn is better hitter than I thought. But when I look at the defense at shortstop, second and first base, something must change.
Naturally, Bill hopes for it to be Adam Dunn. And really, why should it be Dunn? Adam is not the problem defensively. Infact, he's having a very solid year there.
Fielding percentage for 1B: Dunn 7th in the NL at .994 (4 errors)
UZR for 1B: -0.6 (16/30 MLB rank)
On top of his stats, Dunn currently has a better UZR than former Gold Glove winners Mark Teixeira (-3.6), Albert Pujols (-1.1) and Carlos Pena (-0.9).
So, Bill, tell me again what Dunn has done to deserve your ire? Obviously it wasn't his defense.
Defense is the No. 1 reason the Nationals have a record under .500 entering Tuesday's action.
It has nothing to do with the fact that the offense has only scored 337 runs, good for fourth worst in the NL? Or maybe the fact that the pitching staff has given up 338 ER's , good for fifth worst in the NL. ER, that stands for earned runs, Bill. Earned runs are runs that were earned by the pitching staff, not a result of error filled defense. I'd say hitting and pitching is much more responsible for the Nationals being under .500 than the team's defense.
I often think back to what the White Sox did after the 2004 season. They traded Carlos Lee to the Brewers and let Magglio Ordonez become a free agent. Both were power hitters, but were not the best on defense. What happened in 2005? The White Sox improved their defense and won the World Series. Ask Willie Harris, who was on that championship squad.
You're joking right? Do you mean the Chicago White Sox that gave up MORE ER's (782) in 2004 than RUNS SCORED (642) in 2005? That team? What made the White Sox better was 100 percent a result of a bolstered starting staff. In 2004 the White Sox starters ERA was 5.17 (once again, ERA stands for earned runs allowed). In 2005? 3.75.
That's right, a drop of 1.42 runs a game.
To put things even more in perspective, here is the name of every pitcher that started one game for the White Sox in 2004, the number next to their name is the number of games they started in 2004.
Mark Buehrle - 34
Jon Garland - 33
Esteban Loaiza - 21
Scott Schoeneweiss - 19
Freddy Garcia - 16
Jose Contreras - 13
Jason Grilli - 8
Felix Diaz - 7
Dan Wright - 4
Jon Rauch - 2
Josh Stewart - 2
Neal Cotts - 1
Arnie Munoz - 1
Of the 13 pitchers that started at least one game in 2004 for the White Sox, six never started another major league game (Munoz, Cotts, Stewart, Wright, Diaz, Schoeneweiss); three pitchers never threw another big league pitch (Stewart, Wright, Diaz).
2004 was a historically bad year for the White Sox pitching staff. To say their 2005 turnaround was because of defense is dishonest at best.
Bill Ladson has a vendetta against Adam Dunn. His response to Tracy's question was not the first time Ladson has openly campaigned for Dunn to be traded. I'm sure it also won't be his last.
As often as Ladson makes grammatical mistakes in his articles, he makes just as many mistakes in evaluating anything baseball related. Adam Dunn is a player that brings the fans to the game. His bat is positively deadly and his defense has improved dramatically. Ladson, of course, will never be mistaken for someone that knows baseball (later on in his column, Ladson proposes the Nationals start Willie Harris and his .254 OBP at 2B and bat him leadoff). It's time we add the writing off of Adam Dunn as just another mistake in Ladson's ever growing blooper file.