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Twenty-two hours to go

Just flew in from Albany (and boy are my arms tired ha ha ha) and putting out phone calls. I have heard of continued interest in Adam Dunn, but as we have discussed ad nauseum, the difference between interest and a deal getting done is simply huge. (Plus, Bowden's interest in Dunn could have been reported as a daily story every day for the last three years.)

UPDATE AT 5:42 P.M.: Well, Cordero and Rauch are still the names out there most intensely right now. A new club (which I'll leave unidentified for now (maybe later tonight or when the $.35 edition comes out) hopped on a plane to see them both Saturday and Sunday at Shea Stadium. One person with knowledge of the Nationals' situation I spoke to absolutely believes some sort of deal will happen, and he handicapped Rauch as the most likely to go. When I asked whether it'd be for established major leaguers or prospects, the person said: "Prospects. Absolutely, prospects."

(Caveat: I get nervous about these hour-by-hour updates, because situations are so fluid. I have also talked to folks who think it makes sense that the Nats will stand pat. "If you trade Rauch now," the person said, "you might have to go out and trade for a guy like that when you're ready to win." Opinions are flying, and you have to figure out which ones are the most-informed.)

Also: Reds scheduled starter for tomorrow, Kyle Lohse, was traded to Philadelphia, so the Reds' rotation for this series at RFK is going to be shuffled considerably.

One more thing: Shawn Hill rehab start tonight at Potomac. Lots of people would like to see him back in the big leagues by the end of next week.

Cordero and Rauch: There is some thought they could be packaged together for a stud hitter, a 40-homer guy that the Nationals so badly need. They could, too, be split off as separate entities. I had several people tell me, though, that the asking price is still very very high for either of them. One person told me that the Nationals asked the Tigers for rising stud oufielder Cameron Maybin (who Bowden loved in the 2005 draft) in exchange for Rauch. That's not going to happen.

For the sake of discussion purposes until (or unless) I get something meaty here, consider the guys they have under contract or under their control for next season (and I'll do a more detailed breakdown later):

Signed for next year:
Brian Schneider
Nick Johnson
Dmitri Young
Austin Kearns
Cristian Guzman
Ronnie Belliard

Under control for next year (meaning arbitration-eligible or not yet eligible for arbitration, and keep in mind they don't have to keep any of these guys):
Chad Cordero
Felipe Lopez
Luis Ayala
Jason Bergmann
Shawn Hill
John Patterson
Matt Chico
Jon Rauch
Saul Rivera
Jesus Flores
Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Church
Ryan Langerhans
Nook Logan

Plus a few bits and pieces that they could still control, I believe.

The question, though, is this: Would you feel more comfortable about the direction of the franchise if they made a deal before tomorrow's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline? Or, given what's in the fold, would you rather they stand pat and pursue players through trades and free agency in the offseason?

(Keep in mind the Nationals made trades -- including the one that sent Livan Hernandez to Arizona -- in August last year, so the roster can still change. Cordero and Rauch aren't the kind of players, nor do they have the kinds of contracts, that they would go unclaimed if the Nats tried to pass them through waivers.

Chew on it. I'll post something else as I get more information.

By Barry Svrluga  |  July 30, 2007; 2:54 PM ET
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