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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo on not trading Adam Dunn

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo met the media. Here, as the Nationals are about to officially introduce Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya, is full transcript:

On why Adam Dunn wasn't traded:
"The reason we didn't trade Adam Dunn is we never got a deal we thought was equal or greater value to Adam Dunn. We were on the receiving end of the calls. We weren't making the calls. We got a lot of interest in Adam. We just didn't see an equal return to what Adam Dunn brings to the ball club on and off the field."

On how close they came:
"We never made a deal."

On how close the deadline the Nats were engaged:
"We were engaged right up to the last couple of minutes with some teams. We just couldn't come up with a deal that I thought was good enough for the type of player that Adam Dunn is."

On the goal in not trading Dunn:
"The goal was to make a prudent baseball decision. We understood what the dynamics of that are. To trade Adam Dunn would give us players in return that will - multiple players that were as good or better than Adam Dunn, the impact or more than Adam Dunn, we would have made the deal. We certainly weren't going to take a step backwards or do a multi-player, a quantity deal for Adam Dunn. This is a prototypical clean-up hitter in the lineup that hits 40 home runs and drives in 100 runs and is a great clubhouse presence. That means a lot to us and to our fan base. If there was a deal to be made, we certainly would have made it. We've proved that with the difficult trade we had to make with Matt Capps. We saw value for value there. We just didn't see the value in return with an Adam Dunn trade."

On if not trading Dunn to be successful means signing him to a contract extension:
"We are going to talk extension with Adam Dunn and his representatives. We are certainly not going to talk about it with the media. Adam Dunn is a big part of our ball club. We've shown that by not trading him for lesser value.

On if anything turned serious with other players:"There was inquiries on several of the players. Some more serious than others. Down to the wire, there were a couple of players we were talking serious deals with, that had serious legs to them."

On the possibility of moves between now the Aug. 31 waiver-wire trade deadline:
"There's always a possibility. We're always doing our jobs and looking to improve the ball club."

On the amount of calls received this year compared to previous years:
"Most definitely. There's no comparison between the volume of calls that we received for our players. I don't know if I'd use the word pride, but I'd use the word going in the right direction. I think the industry sees where we're going and the players that we have. When other teams are interested, especially contenders - when contenders are interested, it means that you have playoff-caliber players on your team that people want. That's a good feeling. It gives us something to build on and a mark to shoot for.

On interest in Edwin Jackson:
"I'm not going to comment on any single player. There was no player that we asked some team to acquire that we were going to trade Adam Dunn for."

On what equal value for Dunn would have been:
"I've said before, it's certainly not a numbers thing. We certainly could have done a quantity deal for Adam Dunn. We simply refused to do that. It would have to be a player that has equal or more impact value that Adam Dunn has in our lineup and in our clubhouse right now. It certainly could have been one person."

On if teams knew the high price:
"Was there a gray area about that? I thought I made myself pretty clear on that since the day we started talking about it."

On inquiries on Josh Willingham:
"Yes. We got a lot. He was a very popular item to discuss. There was serious inquiries for Josh Willingham, and we didn't feel we got the return back to feel good about moving him."

On if more teams called him than vice versa:
"It was much more teams calling us than us calling them."

On the priority now:
"I think evaluating the team. Preparing to take the last two months of the major league season and playing better. Evaluating the big league club and see what we have to do in the winter. Certainly, signing the remaining draft picks that we want to sign."

On any personal relief:
"We're happy with the trades we made, and we're happy with the trades we didn't make. We're in a good place for post trade deadline. I think we really addressed some needs in the organization. Some are closer to the major leagues than other, but we certainly addressed a portion of the needs. Some times the best trades you make are the trades you don't make. We're happy the evaluation process we had. Our scouts up here, they worked very, very hard in order to give me the information to make a good baseball. We feel good about the procedure, the way we went about it, the trades that we did make and the trades that we didn't make."

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 31, 2010; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn , trade deadline  
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Next: Nationals introduce Yunesky Maya

Comments

The ghost of Soriano returns to bite us in the keester.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 31, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Says who? With Soriano, EVERYONE knew we weren't going to re-sign him. Everyone. And we didn't.

We know no such thing about re-signing Adam Dunn. Just let things play out. My money is on Dunn being a National next year, and for a couple beyond that.

And, by the way...you can HAVE that albatross of a contract the Cubbies signed Soriano to.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | July 31, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

SIGN DUNN TODAY!

we know he'll take 4 yrs / $60M. it's a bargain compared to ryan howard or even anybody that is currently approximating dunn's numbers, present and historical.

i know sheinin's in the tank for ownership on this one (disappointing) by proclaiming that would be a "horrible" deal for the nats which is flat out ludicrous. this is a market deal. does anybody doubt he could get this from somebody in the offseason? a horrible deal is the soriano deal (7 years guaranteed for a guy who was older, i think, than dunn is now). we're still a LAST PLACE TEAM! usually, last place teams have to pay above-market prices.

rizzo should lay out 4/60 to dunn's agent tonight and get it done. that is, if he actually has the power to do so. i trust i'm not alone in wondering if he does.

Posted by: DCPowerGator | July 31, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Atomic, not signing Soriano was for the best. The Cubs are now regretting the length of that over priced contract. The Nats saw the best in Soriano when they had him, he will never repeat those numbers, NEVER. I am hopeful that A.D. will remain a Nat for at least 3 or 4 more seasons.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 31, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

the truth is none of us know the whole story, nor are we general managers. We are fans, and like with Soriano, we all want Dunn resigned. I myself, included. I badly wanted Soriano signed when he was with the Nats, but they let him go. He had one productive year and now deserves to ride the bench. As long as the Nats aren't dumping salary or trading prime players before F.A. (i.e. the Marlins, Royals, and Pirates) then I trust the Nats for who they sign and don't sign. They seem to have a decent track record. Anybody name one Nationals (not Expos) player that the Nats let go that came back to bite them???

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

@DCPowerGator: Just because someone will give him that contract doesn't mean we should. The Ryan Howard deal is seen around baseball as historically bad. It will be fine for a few years, but in the second half of it he'll be making $20 million/year and be completely untradeable. And while the Lerners may be cheap in some circumstances, they certainly aren't making the revenue to to support throwing $15 million down the drain at the end of that contract.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | July 31, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Repost:

"The drop-off at 34 talk is just a way of rationalizing cheap budgets. " Watched it happen with Howard and Powell. Even the great Frank Robinson (and believe it he truly was great) dropped off. As did the great Eddie Murray. It happens to the best of them ...How do you keep it from not happening? Jim Edmonds of the Brewers is a great example. Posted by: periculum |

Of course a drop-off could happen at age 34. Or it could not happen. I remember when the O's signed Brady Anderson at like 33 for maybe 5 years. That was stupid, as he soon ran out of gas (or PEDs). Signing Dunn is not stupid. He is a quality guy on a team that has trouble attracting quality.

My only point on this is that the team does not always get to call all the shots. Signing is a two-way deal. Dunn knows he can get 4 years on the open market. So the Nats will have to come up with 4. Naturally, you try for three. But if you don't get three, you might have to pay market rate for an excellent player, which means four. You don't just drop him altogether because the 4th year is too big of a risk. Boswell gave some good data awhile back on how sluggers perform well at 34, and he did not just use PED guys.

The Nats do not pay market rates for enough guys, which equals last place. That is a good habit to break. Let's start!

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The fact is, Dunn has no incentive now to sign a contract before free agency. He would be stupid to take what the Nats offer without seeing what other teams will offer him. The Nats blew it by not at least getting an agreement in principle with Dunn before the deadline -- being traded mid-season was their only bargaining chip to get him to give up the competition of free agency.

Posted by: greggiebaba | July 31, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

greg,

No doubt the Nats had a better deal for Dunn to sign in the off-season than they have now. They waited, maybe hoping his value would drop. It will cost them either a bigger contract than they want to pay, or it will cost them the loss of their clean-up slugger. You are so right that the closer you get to the end of the season, the more the player is tempted to think about free agency and the possibility of playing on a contender. And the more you wait, the more likely the price goes up, especially when the player is having another quality year.

Posted by: EdDC | July 31, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@greggiebaba: I think the other clubs will have the same apprehension that the Nats have about a long term deal. That, and the fact that Dunn likes it here, will give the Nats an advantage between now and October...
If some team wants to go Soriano on Dunn, i say let them. Ask the Cubs FO if they would like a redo on that contract...

Posted by: TimDz | July 31, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@greggiebaba: I think the other clubs will have the same apprehension that the Nats have about a long term deal. That, and the fact that Dunn likes it here, will give the Nats an advantage between now and October...
If some team wants to go Soriano on Dunn, i say let them. Ask the Cubs FO if they would like a redo on that contract...

Posted by: TimDz | July 31, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Anybody name one Nationals (not Expos) player that the Nats let go that came back to bite them???

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2010 6:17 PM

I agree their track record is pretty good, and I'm not sure he fits the "came back to bite them" label, however...

They made a mistake releasing Marlon Byrd after the 2006 season.

Posted by: db423 | July 31, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Marlin Byrd??!!! Yeah, I remember the howls of protest here when he was released. I mean we ALL saw that he was going to become an excellent hitter.

Posted by: Natstoyou | July 31, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Marlin Byrd??!!! Yeah, I remember the howls of protest here when he was released. I mean we ALL saw that he was going to become an excellent hitter.

Posted by: Natstoyou | July 31, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"The fact is, Dunn has no incentive now to sign a contract before free agency."

He has exactly the same incentive that he had before the trade deadline passed -- he likes it here. If all he cared about was money, then he would have never considered signing during the season, and would have just waited for free agency to go to the highest bidder.

When he signs in the few weeks, this will have played out exactly as Rizzo said: (1) we want to keep Dunn here (2) we'll listen to offers, because it would be irresponsible not to (3) we're not trading him unless we get blown away with an offer.

Posted by: joebleux | July 31, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I hesitate to say the name - Austin Kearns? At least for one night?

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 31, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

joebleux, thank you.
Thanks for being reasonable, rational, and taking perspective into account on this issue.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 31, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

They made a mistake releasing Marlon Byrd after the 2006 season.

Posted by: db423
---------------------------------

Releasing Marlon Byrd wasn't a mistake. He stunk for years and took multiple pit stops to get his game together.

Posted by: dlgood | July 31, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't see much of a comparison between Soriano and Dunn. Soriano had peaked. Dunn is still on the rise. Rizzo wouldn't have let the trade deadline pass if he didn't have a plan to sign Adam Dunn. As a Manager, Bowden wasn't in Rizzo's league, and the team was nowhere close. Looking at all the young talent the Nats have assembled, Dunn is going to want to stick around. Adam Dunn is going to want to be a part of the Nats rise to the top of the NL East. When the Nats eventually get there, whether its in two years or three, they'll stay on top for a long long time.

There's a fair price for Adam Dunn and that's what Rizzo will pay and that's what Adam Dunn will agree to. After Dunn signs, Rizzo needs to get Bryce Harper signed. Boras has to like what he sees in how the organization has handled Strasburg and how Rizzo negotiates. The future is bright.

Posted by: dannykurland1 | July 31, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

It would have been nice to 'loan out' Adam (especially as a DH to an AL contender), get a worthwhile piece in return and then bring him back with a new contract next season. That this didn't happen ought to indicate that Rizzo is telling like it is when he says that whoever was offered in return wasn't worth it to us. So be it. Now we can either get him signed to a decent deal or receive draft picks. I'm not at all worried about his 'value' somehow skyrocketing after the season, if it takes that long. His value probably peaked yesterday, and the way we were able to sign him last time around suggests we should be able to do it again if he wants, and he's always said that he does. My prediction: Dunn stays, for about the same money he's reported to have said he'd accept in lieu of free agency. (Whether he actually remains as our first baseman for the next 3 or 4 years, or eventually gets traded to the AL as a DH in exchange for a needed piece or pieces, is another question, one probably dependent on the Nats' level of success over the next couple of seasons.)

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | August 1, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse

My guess is that Dunn is thinking something like:

You guys could have signed me earlier in the season so that I wouldn't have to endure months of wondering about, and being asked about, whether I'd be traded. But you didn't, because you wanted to get a sense of the market on what I'm worth, even though you knew that unless you got an eye-popping offer, you weren't going to make a deal.

Fair enough. But now I'm going to do the same thing. Unless you give me an eye-popping, above-market offer, I have no incentive to sign right now. I'll test the waters, and you can compete with the other clubs, and then I'll decide.

Nothing personal, just business.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 1, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

THE NATS WERE SMART TO KEEP ADAM! HOW MANY GREAT CLEAN UP HITTERS ARE THEIR IN BASEBALL? OTHER TEAMS COULD NOT AFFORD TO GIVE UP WHAT HE IS WORTH..AND STILL CONTEND.
WASHINGTON HAS GOOD ENOUGH GUYS WHO PLAY EVERYDAY TO COMPETE WITH THE OTHER TEAMS IN THEIR DIVISION.
WHAT THEY DO NOT HAVE IS QUALITY PITCHING EXCEPT FOR STRASBURG. THE PHILLIES WENT OUT THIS YEAR AND GOT HAALLADAY, AND NOW OSWALT.
UNTIL THEY SERIOUSLY UPGRADE THEIR STAFF...THEY WILL BE IN LAST PLACE.
ON A GOOD NOTE..WITH STRASBRUG HERE, AND PLAYERS LIKE DUNN, ZIM, AND WILLINGHAM...OTHER GOOD PLAYERS MAY WELL WANT TO PLAY HERE IN TH FUTURE.
PITCHING IS WHAT WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS...RECALL THE 69 METS..TEAM BATTING AVERAGE OF .220 SOMETHING...BUT HAD 4 GREAT PITCHERS, AND A CLOSER...AND WON IT ALL.

Posted by: blazerguy234 | August 1, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"It would have been nice to 'loan out' Adam (especially as a DH to an AL contender), get a worthwhile piece in return and then bring him back with a new contract next season."

Two problems with this:

1) It probably would not work; chances are slim Dunn would return from a contender to the Nats, especially if he performs well for those few months.

2) It would absolutely poison the clubhouse. That's one unspoken reason why Dunn is still here. The entire roster badly wants him to stay. I guarantee you would not get the same effort from the remaining players if the FO engaged in such a cheap (and probably futile) ploy with the team's most well-liked member.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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