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Adam Dunn still in the dark as deadline nears

The most prized asset remaining at the trade deadline is waiting just like everyone else in the baseball world. With less than four and a half hours to go before the Nationals make their capital-D Decision with Adam Dunn -- trade him, sign him or stand pat -- Dunn was as clueless as the rest of us outside General Manager Mike Rizzo's inner circle.

"No idea," Dunn said in a text message.

Yesterday afternoon, Rizzo strongly suggested the Nationals aren't about to lower their sky-high asking price for Dunn. Dunn may have made himself more desirable to an American League contender by saying he wouldn't mind serving as a designated hitter for the rest of this year. Now it's decision time.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 31, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
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Next: Adam Dunn still a National as trade deadline passes


Do the right thing and resign him Nats! A bat and teammate like Dunn is not easily replaced... I'll be wearing my Dunn shirt tonight at the game either out of appreciation or out of happiness that the right decision was made! Stop fooling around and resign the man!!!!

Posted by: HenryStin | July 31, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If he agrees to three years, the right thing is to sign him. If he wants 5-6 years it is not the right thing to sign him. 4 years????

I'd hate to see him go and I think Rizzo wants him here too. But one thing we saw yesterday is that he sticks to his demands and offers. The Capps deal was great, after all is said and done (NPI) I have faith in Rizzo's plan.

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 31, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Three years is out of the question, as he has way too much leverage to short change himself like that.

Four years is fine from the Nats' perspective, as they are not going to do any better than that. He will still be pounding the ball at age 34 anyway. And he will be learning 1B. He is OK now, but he will get better. Remember, the switch to 1B is easier for former IF. He has come a long way at 1B in half a season, so there is every reason to think he will continue to improve.

The big question is five years. Do you have to take the 5th year because he has that good leverage over you? both sides know that Dunn can probably get an even better deal in the off season?

The Nats are being tested now. A salary dump will not go over well with the fans or the remaining players.

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo is an idiot. The nats need pitching to become a contender which would probaly take three years if that. Make a trade you clown.

Posted by: chiro1623 | July 31, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who was called up to replace Guzman? It can even be someone not on the 40-man roster previously, so there is no need to keep bringing Justin Maxwell back. That being the case, I would really like to see Chase Lambin get the call-up he deserves. He is a utility player who has hit well in Syracuse, and has never been called to the majors to this point. He deserves his cup of coffee, at the very least.


Posted by: kevincostello | July 31, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Dunn will stay. He gives us some offensive pop - but according to the conventional wisdom Rizzo is and acts like a baseball genius. So he will probably trade Dunn for another weak hitter (Mr. Major League ready Ramos - Ha!) or some mediocre AAA pitcher. After giving up a strong closer (who also liked being here)for a weak hitting catcher, I just can't take Rizzo seriously.

Posted by: CountDemoney | July 31, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone know who was called up to replace Guzman?"

John Lannan. So far looks like Bally is here until either Marquis or JZimm are ready.

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

After giving up a closer who wanted to be here for a weak hitting catcher I just can't take Rizzo seriously anymore. I am confident he will do the stupid thing.

Posted by: CountDemoney | July 31, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"After giving up a strong closer (who also liked being here)for a weak hitting catcher, I just can't take Rizzo seriously."

Your Closer is not a shutdown closer. Peralta, Storen and even Clippard could be. They have **NO*** major league ready catcher other than the pathetic hitting Wil Nieves? Ramos is probably now the highest ranked prospect in the Nats farm system. And he is a major league ready catcher.

Basic baseball logic seems to have escaped along with yesterday's Dunn trade balloon. Must be all that helium they suck in kind a like that kid Fred Finglehorn.

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

This deadline is a lot of fun, though I understand why Adam doesn't see it that way...

IMO, five years is way too much for Dunn. Four probably is as well, and I'm pretty sure that's why there hasn't been a deal yet. Dunn probably wants at least 4 years, $ 60 mio, but Rizzo won't give him more than two, maybe three.
I'd say if you can get him for around 3 years, $ 42 mio now, do it. If you can't, trade him if you get a fair deal.

I won't be happy at all if the Nats just stand pat. It would not be good at all if Rizzo can't re-sign him now or doesn't trade him.

In the offseason, all three possible scenarios would be bad for the Nats.
No arbitration offer (not likely, I know)? You lose Dunn and didn't get anything in return.
Two compensation picks? Bad as well. You lose Dunn, and you very likely get less than compared to what Rizzo could have gotten at the deadline.
Re-sign Dunn, probably for slightly above market value? Not good either. While it's impossible to know how the market for Dunn would develop this winter, it's pretty safe to assume it won't be as weak as two years ago. He's getting better defensively plus his power is worth more today. Rizzo could likely be in a '4yr $ 60 mio. or Dunn walks' spot. And that's where you don't want to be as a GM.

That being said, you don't just give the guy away either.

Rizzo will really have to earn his money in the next few hours...

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

On a different note:

Keith Law on twitter:
"Heard from an exec not involved in the discussions that the White Sox are furious with the Nats over Edwin Jackson."

If this is true, one side here was really, really stupid. Either Rizzo for suggesting that Jackson was the key to a Dunn trade (seriously??), or Kenny Williams for understanding that and not for a minute wondering if that was possible.

In any case, the White Sox seem to have traded away their best pitching prospect in Hudson for a guy (Jackson) they thought they needed to get Dunn...

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

BTW, apropos of nothing, for those who didn't see the game last night (we were in section 317)...

Presidents Race, Teddy came charging out of the gate, with a lead of a good hundred yards over the rest of the pack. I started yelling, "He can't POSSIBLY lose!!!" knowing full well he would lose as certainly as Riggleman would do at least one double switch in the coming week.

Teddy made the turn at the right field foul pole, his lead big enough that he could have hopped backwards on one foot to the finish line and still have won. He can't POSSIBLY lose!

He chugged down the first base line towards the infield, looking like Secretariat at the Kentucky Derby; he would have needed high-powered radar to see the rest of the presidents in his rearview mirror. He can't POSSIBLY lose!

Coming towards the area where foul territory gets bigger, at section 134, he's still leaving them choking in his dust - he can't POSSIBLY lose! - when what does he see?

It's a very pretty young lady!

And she's holding a bouquet of flowers!

He stops in front of her and she gives him the bouquet!

The pretty young lady is...


And the two of them what appeared to be a had a very pleasant chat while George, Tom, and Abe came around the bend and passed Teddy and his new GF.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 31, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the comments from Twins fans about the Capps deal, and you'll see the Nats did well. Twinkie followers are irate that Ramos was sent packing.

I ended up in a small minority voting to ''stand pat'' on Dunn. I favor signing him to a reasonable deal but not adhering to an arbitrary deadline of later today. If nobody is willing to meet Rizzo's price and Dunn ends up not re-signing here, the Nats still get a couple of solid compensation draft choices.

Selfish of me to want the last two months of this season to hold at least a little bit of excitement, I know.

Posted by: nats24 | July 31, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I would jump at the chance to sign Dunn for 4 yrs and $60m...he will still hit at 35 and you actually have to pay for offensive production. I'd sure take Dunn at that price over Ryan Howard's bloated deal. It's crazy to me to trade a player that everyone is after to replace him with who?

Posted by: HenryStin | July 31, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@ amo36 - Almost nobody thinks that Dunn for Jackson makes sense. Plus, Williams would have been foolish to finalize one leg of the trade without the second worked out. And so it frankly sounds like he was being doubly foolish here.

Posted by: HHover | July 31, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Sign Dunn! A four-year deal wouldn't kill the Nationals, particularly if it were front-loaded. Let's just say the big guy is asking for a 4yr/60M deal; Fine, load it as $17.5/17.5/14/11M. That way, Dunn's salary is decreasing as others are increasing. Also, even though he's approaching 10-5 status, if the Nationals are still struggling, the lower contract cost makes him more attractive to a contender in the last two years of the deal.
Sign Dunn!

Posted by: BinM | July 31, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mjwies11 | July 31, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Kilgore writes...Dunn was as clueless as the rest of us outside General Manager Mike Rizzo's inner circle.

"No idea," Dunn said in a text message.

What did the judge say to the kid who was arrested? Being clueless about the law isn't an excuse.

If Dunn is CLUELESS then he probably doesn't care. Dunn is the client. If he can't pick up the phone and tell his agent what he wants for a deal then shame on Dunn. I am sure Rizzo offered Dunn a fair deal that by now could have been negotiated into a deal both sides could live with. Has Dunn forgotten nobody really wanted him after the 2008 season except the Nats?

Posted by: dmacman88 | July 31, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree, but it's just curious that the White Sox seem to spread around their side of the story quite a bit. You don't usually do that in a situation that makes you look that bad unless you think you have a legitimate beef.

It's entire possible though that KW thought he had a deal with Jackson (plus probably someone else) but Rizzo didn't say it explicitly and there was some room for interpretation or something like that.

I just hope (and have no reason not to) that Rizzo doesn't deserve the blame the White Sox suggest he does.

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd say if you can get him for around 3 years, $ 42 mio now, do it. If you can't, trade him if you get a fair deal. Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 12:49 PM |

That's the same thing as saying "If Dunn insists on getting market value, then dump him."

Market value is 4 or maybe 5 years. I would jump at $60/4 and would consider more in $ or years. Anything like that will seem like a bargain, if Dunn does not re-sign with the Nats and tests the off-season market.

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

gilbert - thanks for the race recap. I normally ignore the racing presidents, but it's cool that Teddy got in the act with Miss Iowa.

CountDemoney - you're so wrong in the way you're looking at the Capps - Ramos deal.
Ask the other 28 MLB GM's about the deal and 100% of them will say that Rizzo did the right thing, cut a very good deal.
Ramos is the highest rated minor leage catcher, he's MLB ready, fills a real hole we have, and Rizzo gets him by dealing from our strength, the bullpen, where we could very likely end up not missing Capps at all.
Plus we get the kid Ramos with 6 years of control.
This is a great deal for us, not just a good deal, a great deal.

Baseball America has Ramos ranked as a prospect in the top 26 - 50.

And peric is dead right on this, that Ramos immediately becomes our highest rated minor league player.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 31, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse


You are 100% right. A few guys yoou may have heard of hit a few HRS at 33 and 34 (and some later), without any juice. Let's start with Howard and Killebrew, then Aaron, Schmidt, Kingman... Dunn's record to date puts him in that HR league

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | July 31, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

you may be right, but two things:
How could any of us possibly know whether three or four/five years (with, let's say $ 45 or 60/70 mio., respectibely) is his market value??
And, related to that, how can there even be such a thing as market value without a market?

The Nats got Dunn with a terrific deal two years ago, when his value should have been, in theory, much higher.
Today, he is essentially the same offensive player, yet two years close to the end of his prime.
Now, his defense at 1B might be better than in LF, and his skills are generally valued a bit higher than two years ago.

But there is no basis whatsoever to suggest that he will get 4 years with $ 60 mio. or even more. There is simply no way of knowing. And that calculation is part of Rizzo's gamble.

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It's my understanding the Nats were interested in getting Hudson from the White Sox for Dunn. So why trade him to the D-Backs for Jackson and make a flip? Maybe they thought they would wind up with an all-around better outcome that way. Seems like you would have something in place to make sure deal went down as planned before you make the initial trade. Blaming the Nats could be a CYA move by the Sox to deflect the bad reaction. Then again, they needed a bat, not a ptcher swap.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 31, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

According to the guys on XM (including Jim Bowden!) the Nats have never made a contract offer to Dunn. His agent said they made a preliminary offer to the Nats, expected a response and never got one.

How can this team honestly say they had to trade Dunn (if they do so) because they were going to lose him at the end of the season if they never actually negotiated with him? Why wouldn't you negotiate with him? It's impossible to say Dunn absolutely wants three years, four years, or five years if you only have one offer with no counterproposal.

And to bring back that oldie but goodie, how can the Lerners convince us they want to spend the money it takes to build a winner if they won't even negotiate with somebody like Dunn? Does any of that make sense?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Who did Dunn's agent say it to?

If this is true, and that's a big if, that would not exactly increase my trust in Rizzo...

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, a legit young catcher for a club to build with is a "must" for any ambitious organization, as Sunderland points out. The catcher keeps the game under control, and maintains the confidence of the pitcher and the entire club. Catcher is a key defensive leadership position. Without a legit catcher, you are asking for chaos, on the basepaths and in tough and situations in general. On Ramos' offense, if you dig back in his numbers over time, the guy has some pop and will hit some. You won't have to hit him eighth, once he gets settled in the bigs.

Maybe the Nats are doing the right thing with Dunn. The organization is financially conservative. By clearing salary from Capps and Guz, maybe the Nats are finding some of the room needed for Dunn. By signing Dunn and Harper, the Nats will still have to stretch their budgets some, but perhaps they are taking that next step these days.

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

baltova1 - I wouldn't read too much into the XM show, or at least, not without parsing it very carefully for weasel words (we are talking about agents here).

If "made him an offer" means handing him a contract with the blanks filled in, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that. But the two sides have clearly been talking to each other.

Posted by: HHover | July 31, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@baltova: you actually believe Jim Bowden?? Lets see how this plays out. I am learning, as I read the comments, which ones to skip immediately. Today Count & Chiro lead the way - using stupid and idiot makes me pretty confident they are not 1. fans, 2. knowledgable. I don't always agree with JayB, peri, sunderland etal but they are fans, and passionate about the game and the nationals without throwing mud. Does anyone really think Rizzo got to the position he is in by being an idiot or stupid? Am I upset with 4 double switches a game, do I think Willie Harris gets too much time over Morse, absolutely, but I will continue to root for our team.

Posted by: sjm3091 | July 31, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that XM report is damning. Better not be true.

On the 3 years, of course that's under market value. How do I know? I don't. I just follow signings, and it would seem stupid if he agreed to such a deal. He is in the last years of his prime. You don't want to go out on the market again at 34 and seek a long term deal. Your long-term deal must be struck now while the player is in his prime, and it should be for 4 or 5 years.

Remember how he wanted more than two years last time? He wants a little certainty now, instead of just jumping around.

Forget his last contract. It has little or no bearing on his current value. "That was then; this is now."

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

They arent going to sign him according to Buster Olney. Either Dunn gets traded or they get two compensatory picks after the season. With draft picks, its always a crapshoot and a high schooler might never pan out. I think its better to go after two or more almost major-league ready players with talent under the circumstances than letting him go.

Posted by: Nasir32 | July 31, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I've been listening to Bowden on XM this week. Quite frankly, I don't think he really has any idea what he's talking about. It sounds to me like he's pretending that he's still a GM.

Now, HE might have traded Dunn for Edwin Jackson and/or a bucket of baseballs, in order to ultimately get a "toolsy" outfielder like Nook Logan or Brandon Watson. But his job is to make noise on the radio.

He lost the job of acquiring and trading major-league baseball players by playing fast and loose with poor teenage players and their families in the Dominican Republic.

So I'm not worried at all about what JimBo is saying on XM.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | July 31, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo knows he can sign dunn long term for 15 mil a year for 3 years and club option for a fourth year. Dunn probably accepts the offer, but why make that deal if there is a chance you get Viciedo, Sanchez, or Hellickson plus some A prospects. Especially if Dunn ends up resigning with the Nats in the offseason. Remember he wants to still play the field and although he may get 12-15 mil a year it will only be to DH. Nobody gives him that kind of money to play 1B or LF, only the Nats would. I say trade Dunn for a legit top 25 prospect or announce a contract extension on August 1st.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

From what I heard, Bowden claimed the agent told him that. You did indeed have to consider the source (although Bowden has praised Rizzo's work this week). But this should be fairly easy to confirm (cough-Adam-cough-Sheinen-cough-Boswell)...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The problem with that is that the Rays are flinching on Hellickson as part of the deal and I doubt they would want to part with him. Our asking price has alienated almost every suitor.

Posted by: Nasir32 | July 31, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BTW, how about Austin Kearns going to the Yankees? He not only bounces back but puts himself in position for postseason play (and money). Well done...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

JimBo lost his job by signing toolsy players? No, he lost his joib by staying within the limits of the overly frugal budgets he was given. Rizzo seems a little safer, signing more dependable bargains, many on the downside of their careers. But both Rizzo and JimBo are stuck with signing mostly bargains within exceptionally small budgets, especially for a large market club.

If you are going to ding JimBo for Nick Logan and Brandon Watson (two minimum wage guys), also ding him for Soriano, Dunn, Hammer, Olsen, Kearns (who was hurt last year), Flores (who showed promise before he got hurt), Ryan Zimmerman, and Jordan Zimmermann, as well as the bargain basement guys who basically gave you what you paid them.

What if the GMs of the winning clubs like Philly, Twins Braves and Boston were given Nats' budgets? How well do you think those geniuses would do? Seriously...

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked, the Marlins and Rays, for example, have been doing rather well with a small budget...

Money does matter, but it's not like our GMs have had to deal with $ 30 mio/year.

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

amo36, the Marlins' biggest problem is budget. Every few years, they trade some of the best players because they can't afford to keep them (think about Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen).

As for the Rays, if they don't start drawing bigger crowds, let's see how many of those younger stars they keep...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, The Yankees now have at least four ex-Nats in their system: Nick Johnson [NYY-DL], Austin Kearns (NYY-OF), Tim Redding (SWB-SP), Bruntlett (SWB-IF).

Posted by: BinM | July 31, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Um, yeah, I agree, but the point of bringing these teams up was that a bottom-third budget can't be the excuse for almost everything, as some seem to think.

Posted by: amo36 | July 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

why would anyone listen to anything that Bowden has to say?

He's lucky to have a job ... but that doesn't mean he has any credibility. He doesn't

Posted by: fendertweed | July 31, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't see much point or value in doing serious negotiations with Dunn until the trade deadline passes. They have a valuable asset which might produce a favorable trade. If the asking price isn't met then you try to resign him. Seems worse to negotiate a possible resigning and then trade the guy. Everybody is looking for leverage until the last card is played. Getting upset about rumors is a waste of energy.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 31, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Natmeister, the best time to negotiate with Dunn was spring training. Get a deal done before he gets a whiff of freedom. Now, he's been the center of trade talks and realizes he's got value on the market. Why should he start negotiating with the Nats now?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals have had plenty of problems since coming on the scene six years ago, and frugality of the previous caretakers (MLB) & the current owners are part of it.
The Lerner group are starting to loosen up financially, allowing Rizzo to 1)staff a competent FO, 2) sign draft picks. The next step for them is to come to grips with the economics of ML salaries; I don't expect them to throw away money over a long-term deal (ex: Zito in SF, Soriano in CHC, Howard in PHI, A-Roid in NYY/TEX), but I would hope they are learning that 3-5yr market value contracts for players 'in their prime' (age 25-33) pay dividends in terms of an interesting team to watch, and more local 'butts in seats' at the game.

Stop the 'out of town' marketing & Sign Dunn!

Posted by: BinM | July 31, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

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