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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Adam Dunn declines arbitration

By Adam Kilgore

Nationals free agent first baseman Adam Dunn declined the team's one-year salary arbitration offer, an unsurprising step that will allow Dunn to seek the four-year contract he desires and ensure the Nationals will receive two extra draft choices if Dunn signs elsewhere.

The Nationals offered Dunn offered arbitration last week, and he had until today to decide whether or not to accept. It was not much of a decision given Dunn's obvious preference for a multi-year contract.

Dunn, who led the Nationals with 38 home runs this season, expressed his desire to resign with the Nationals as early as last winter. But the lack of a deal and dearth of recent discussions between Dunn and the team has given many baseball people the impression that Dunn will sign elsewhere.

"We've talked internally about what our options are" at first base, General Manager Mike Rizzo said two weeks ago at the general manager meetings. "We've mapped out our strategy on players that we're going to be aggressive and go after. We're starting the implementing of the process.

"We're keeping all of our options open. Adam, he's opted to include himself in the free agent market. We certainly have to look at not only Adam, but other avenues also."

By Adam Kilgore  | December 1, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Still holding out hope that we sign Dunn. I'm worried Zimm's numbers will dip dramatically without Dunn protecting him in the 4 hole.

Posted by: DMoney28 | December 1, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

"Adam, he's opted to include himself in the free agent market."

Well, that's pretty self-serving, after the feeble attempt the Nats made to re-sign him.

Posted by: louie5 | December 1, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for Mike Rizzo, being tied up by the owners purse strings and unable to re-sign Adam Dunn. I hope I get shocked & the signing takes place, but I sincerely I also fear Zimmermans numbers and production will drop as a non result.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 1, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I like watching Adam Dunn at the plate, but the fact is he is a defensive liability at 1B and should resign himself to be a well-paid DH where he is appreciated by management.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | December 1, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Well, that's pretty self-serving, after the feeble attempt the Nats made to re-sign him."

The Nats have offered Dunn a three year deal at $36M+, which has been on the table since the end of July. (Sources: Bill Ladson and Phil Wood.) Nothing feeble about that at all. Dunn will be lucky if he can match that offer in the FA market, especially if he insists on not becoming a DH.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 1, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

An offer ws made to Dunn - Dunn wants 4 years and he doesn't want to be a DH, so be as critical of you want of the Nats but if Dunn wanted to be here he would be... the Nats aren't 100% guilty in this, it's just easier to put all the blame on the Nats for this falling apart

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 1, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo makes it sound like it was Dunn's fault a deal didn't get done, because he "opted to include himself in the free agent market." This is just spin. Dunn wanted to come back & has been give the cold shoulder for over a year. Rizzo & his geniuses hve screwed this up royally, & should step up & take the blame when the offense drops off next year. They are also to blame if Zimmerman goes elsewhere because Rizzo fails to find as good a hitter to protect him in the lineup.

Nice job, Mike. A few more such "coups," & you'll alienate even more of your ever-declining fan base.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 1, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The Nats blew it. The club knew that the guy was unsignable at the unrealistic to the market numbers they threw out and yet they did not trade him when they could have (they did not even actively try to find a deal, Rizzo claims he never shopped him and only fielded calls).

How could the guy not test the market at the point the Nats finally started talking 3/36? Where was that offer in March? What benefit was there for the guy to take that offer when his age and numbers stack up a lot higher than that and there'd be another 8 teams with better spending habits (and chances of winning) kicking his tires? He is much more comparable to Ryan Howard, than he is to Aubrey Huff. Rizzo knows this. There was no way Dunn could take the deal.

The fact is that they don't want the guy. They want to go in another direction, which is fine. Adam Dunn is not a must-have player. There are other ways Rizzo can skin the cat. But not trading him at the break is ridiculous. Maybe it was Ted holding Rizzo back, who knows, but it was a huge blunder that set the club even further back.

And now they hope like Hell he ends up in the AL so that he does not come in and hit 500 foot bombs at Nats Park in a road unie, but more so they can save face by telling us all that the way bigger money Dunn gets in Texas or wherever in the AL playing 1B/DH is an apple to the Nats offer for the guy in the4 NL playing 1B only orange.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 1, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

dfh, without knowing what we were offered you can't say it was a bad move to keep Dunn. Even if he said there was no way he was coming back you can't just give the guy away.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 1, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it the Nats need pitching more than anything else. However, the possibility of seeing Dunn, Willingham, or Zimmerman homer were the only reasons to attend games after Strasburg got hurt.

I'm not even frustrated with this team anymore, I'm just apathetic.

Can we just hit Fast Forward and go to the next two draft classes. I'm not sure it will even matter though. We don't sign free agents, we don't bring in many international players (excluding Maya), and there aren't many "hot prospects" in AAA looking to take a step up. 2011's team is looking like 2007 all over again. There's simply nothing to get excited about.

Posted by: PNatsFan | December 1, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

SCNatFan -- We do not have to know exactly what was offered to know it was a bad move not to trade the guy when they knew they could not sign him. We KNOW that Rizzo did not even seek a deal. Can I at least say that not actively seeking a deal for Dunn was a bad play? Because it was. And we KNOW Rizzo said he would have to be overwhelmed to move Dunn in a trade. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2010/07/to_trade_adam_dunn_the_nationa.html
Not that he'd take a fair swap that he'd have to be WOWed in order to move the guy? Why? A 2 month rental of this defensively awful only puts the ball in play 40% of the time can't hit lefties guy requires a King's ransom??

And we have a pretty good idea that MLB ready pitching was being offerd by at least the Chi Sox. Do you think a 3 or 4 starter under control for a few years would have been good to have in lieu of paying more money to get 2 picks, niether of whom may ever see the MLB roster?

The Nats blew it. They just did.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 1, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Of course, we are not positive who was offered for Dunn. But there were very strong indications that the Nats could have had Dan Hudson. But Rizzo, or whoever, insisted upon Hudson and Viciedo, a ridiculous request, considering Dunn was a two month rental. Then Chicago traded Hudson to Arizonia for Jackson, apparently at the Nat's request. Alledgedly, Chicago was upset that the deal still wasn't made.
The Nats stll wanted more? Did it all go down like this? Maybe not, but it sounded more plausible than not, and, nobody to the contrary has denied it. Not that they're inclined to divulge such information.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 1, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I understand and somewhat agree with your points, but lets go back a couple of years with Soriano - would you have taken a player who would contribute a minor role for a couple years or Zimmermann? Of course Rizzo asked too much for Dunn but my point is you just don't give the guy away with the knowledge that 2 good picks will be coming your way; I know that stinks short term and, like all of you, I want to win now, but long term it just might be the right choice.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 1, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Nunof1: Boz says that offer did not come until late summer. Ladson passes on rumors, Boz is here all the time and reports on the team. I suspect Boz is right, but in fact none of us knows what offers were made or when. Regardless, the team has a lock on last place and the payroll is not competitive and other teams have been signing FA like crazy while this team plans to sign what is left and the fan base is melting away to nothing. That we do know.

Posted by: NatsFly | December 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

This team and ownership reminds me of one other group that was here before. Bob Short and the Senators- Texas Rangers. Mr. Short did everything he could to kill the fan base, but look like he was trying to build. Same here with this group. A fan favorite and someone who puts fans in the seats is let go for nothing again.

Posted by: ajoboyl | December 1, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

SCnats -- I think that the Nats made the right move to let Soriano walk years ago, because they were looking to build the farm. But in the time since they have not built the MLB roster the way they should have and now have back to back to back last palce finishes and a LOT of holes to fill still. This year they had to ink Dunn or trade him for something to improve the club in the near term and they opted to do neither. The worst part is that I think they were just afraid to make a deal.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Nunof1: Boz says that offer did not come until late summer. Ladson passes on rumors, Boz is here all the time and reports on the team."

Boy are you clueless. Ladson is the full-time mlb.com beat writer covering the Nats. He's there in the press box at every game home and away, at every post-game press conference home and away, in the clubhouse before games home and away, at spring training from beginning to end, etc. Boswell lives in Annapolis and flits in whenever he feels like it - which isn't nearly often enough. He misses big chunks of the season taking vacation and covering golf tournaments. He watches more games on TV than he does live - if he's not watching the Orioles instead. Right now he's covering the Redskins and Caps, not the Hot Stove season. You can choose which reporter you want to believe or not as you wish. It's a free country. But if you're basing your choice on which of the two has better access to sources, then if you believe Boswell over Ladson you're seriously deluded.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 1, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the idiocy. The Nats gave Dunn a reasonable offer, considering his offensive production and defensive liability. In going through the list of those interested, all of them are in the AL, where they will do two things:

1. Play him, mostly, at DH (unless he proves in Spring training that he can actually play first base).

2. Play him in the AL with a much greater number of band-box parks, preferably with short right field porches.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 1, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The local Media and Nats Fans should stop trying to be Adam Dunn's Agent, it's all about the money not about the love a player has for fans. How long do you want Adam Dunn holding 1st base for the Nats, wouldn't you want to see Tyler Moore or Chris Marrero move up to the major league team in two to three years from now?

Personally, I find Adam Dunn to be a selfish player who strikes out too much, who doesn't supply the key hit when needed, who wants to pad his homerun stats and who doesn't want to do what's best for the team, like hitting more often to the left side when opposing teams are stacking the right side of the diamond with four players.

Posted by: 4U2Know | December 1, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Although I love Dunn and want him to stay. I think not trading him, and letting him go via free agency is the correct move. All of the big scouts for the last two years have been saying that the 2011 rule 4 draft class will be the deepest they've seen for years. Getting two extra picks during this critical draft is worth losing Dunn.

Posted by: anyone1 | December 1, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Pretty funny seeing ABM call someone else "clueless," especially on this issue. Boz had a pipeline to Kasten, especially this past season.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 1, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the Nats made a decision that they'd rather have the compensation than pay, plain and simple. It would be refreshing if they said that.

Maybe they'll be better off with a .196 hitter at first base and a couple more Tommy John patients; we'll see. But I don't like the way they've handled it.

Posted by: louie5 | December 1, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"All of the big scouts for the last two years have been saying that the 2011 rule 4 draft class will be the deepest they've seen for years. Getting two extra picks during this critical draft is worth losing Dunn."

The Washington Nationals...now building for 2015. Expect it.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@Nunof1 - Do you read Ladson's blog? Or his Q&A sessions? For a guy with that much access, he adds nothing to the conversation. Have you ever read anything insightful from him?

Posted by: comish4lif | December 1, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I suspect when the Nats talks with Carlos Pena heats up, Adam Dunn's agent will be crawling back for the Nats 3 year contract offer which is probably more than 36 million.

Posted by: 4U2Know | December 1, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It gets more obvious by the day that Major League Baseball will never return to DC.

Posted by: bflorhodes | December 1, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Personally, I find Adam Dunn to be a selfish player who strikes out too much, who doesn't supply the key hit when needed, who wants to pad his homerun stats and who doesn't want to do what's best for the team, like hitting more often to the left side when opposing teams are stacking the right side of the diamond with four players."

Amen to that! I agree with this statement wholeheartedly.

Posted by: richs91 | December 1, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

In the end the Nats need pitching, especially top run starting pitching. That's the main problem and defense certainly helps with that. If Dunn does go to an AL team and becomes a DH, the Nats brass should be vindicated by the all the gloomy gus types here.

Morse also hits the ball pretty far ... he has impressed more than a few teams on the road with his strength. And his numbers project to 30+ home runs. Does that mean he should start at first base? Dunn can't field his position but can hit 38 home runs but with a .250-.260 average along with 200 strike outs. His OBP and walks went down this year. Does that mean he should start at first base? On a good team probably not.

Posted by: periculum | December 1, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The way the Nats management is going in a few years the team will re-locate to say Montreal. Now that would be a laugh, they would have come full circle.

They need pitching and they do need Dunn (defensive liabilities included) because the man can help protect Zimmerman and others in the line-up.

Don't know what they have officially offered, everything is a rumor until a contract is signed. But one person's opinion is ALL pro athletes get paid way to much for what they actually do.

Posted by: mrcox54 | December 1, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I am entirely fine with letting Adam Dunn walk as long as we don't replace him with a lesser player in Carlos Pena. If you hit .200 and play half your games at Tropicana field, you are not a major league baseball player.

Posted by: SkinsWins | December 1, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I attended the Nutcracker ballet performance this weekend at the Kennedy Center. When looking through the program, I came upon the sponsors and contributions list. These lists rank the donors by their generosity. In one of the lowest (150k) groups, I found the Lerner family. 150k is obviously a lot of money, and I am assuming they contribute to other good causes. It did however make me think that though they are generous, and that though they do spend some money, it's much like the way they do it with the Nationals. They rank amongst the lowest in spending and it shows........................

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | December 1, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought of Dunn as bigtime protection for Zimmerman doesn't hold water. Who was protecting Zimmerman when Dunn was in his many slumps during the season. It looked to me a lot of times pitchers were pitching around Zimmerman to get to Dunn, especially left handed pitchers.

Posted by: 4U2Know | December 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I love you know-nothing Nats fans who keep talking about Dunn's defense. Check out Ryan Howard. He's become an OK fielding 1st baseman after the past 6 years but they were still able to win 4 Division titles in a row, two Pennants in a row and a WS championship. Dunn is the same kind of hitter putting up similar stats. Now the Nats are "gonna get cheap on you now." and put in somebody with half the numbers. 1st base is a Power position. Having Zim, the 2 young guys up the middle and Dunn would've given you an infield similar to the Phils. That's the strength of that team. Sign Dunn and get some guys in (Crawford, even Francouer) that can play the outfield. That's this team's weakness. Unless Pena can switch to the Outfield forget him.

Posted by: Dog-1 | December 1, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

If the 3/36 offer is true then Dunn should have taken it, look in this economy of double digit unemployment and foreclosures by the thousands, pro athletes, all of them need a reality check. The fact of the matter is how many millions do you really need? i like AD, yes he's a liability at first base but at the end of the day he and Zimm are a more than adequate 3/4 tandem in this lineup. This fanbase is very supportive of this franchise given it's talent here's hoping Dunn takes a step in the right direction and resign's with the Nats.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 1, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"@Nunof1 - Do you read Ladson's blog? Or his Q&A sessions? For a guy with that much access, he adds nothing to the conversation. Have you ever read anything insightful from him?"

Yes I have read Ladson's writing. And yes he does occasionally have insight into what's going on with the team. Not always, but then what writer does? If you're dismissing Ladson's writing out of hand just because he's not telling you what you want to hear every time, then that shows nothing other than that you have a closed mind yourself.

Same goes for Boswell. He can be wrong, and has been wrong. Not always, but often. And he's been getting by solely on his reputation for far too long. The "pipeline to Kasten" that Kevin claims Boswell had is merely an indication that no one else in the front office really talks with him much at all. Kasten was likely the only one there who would even pick up the phone when Boswell's number showed up on the caller ID. And anyone who knows anything about journalism knows that a reporter needs to have more than one source, and also needs to work those sources. Sadly, the last time Boswell worked a source was probably that time the tap got clogged on the keg in his basement man cave.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 1, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It gets more obvious by the day that Major League Baseball will never return to DC.

Posted by: bflorhodes | December 1, 2010 11:48 AM

Best line in this entire thread.

General Manager Mike Rizzo said two weeks ago at the general manager meetings. "We've mapped out our strategy on players that we're going to be aggressive and go after. We're starting the implementing of the process.

Worst line in this entire thread.

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | December 1, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Team can't move before about 2045, IIRC; otherwise they have to pay for the park. And what's the point blaming the players? They don't set the market, the owners do.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 1, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit that it is a trill to see Dunn hit a ball in the fifth inning 500 feet. I used to get the same charge watching Hondo. But for the kind of money we are talking it comes down to this. Who would you want at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with runners on 1st and 2nd and we are down by a run with the other teams closer on the mound? I don't think it is Adam Dunn. I love Dunn but he's not the protection for Zim that I hear talked about. He has and always will have too many holes in his swing and gives away too many at bats. In a couple of years Bryce Harper will have us forgetting about Adam Dunn. If we had Lee and Grenke at the top of our rotation we'd be competitive so it would make a lot of sense to sign Dunn, but we are not THAT team yet, unfortunately.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 1, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Pants says they're looking at a #1 starter and a leadoff man at the meetings. Carl Crawford or bust! Don't forget about Cliff Lee, Pants!!

Quote/ Pitching isn't the only thing that needs fixing. Rizzo also stated that he would like to acquire a bat at the top of the order to set up the sluggers that follow.

There aren't many good leadoff hitters available, except for Carl Crawford, but the Nationals will not be the only team wanting his services. They likely would have to overpay to convince the free-agent outfielder to come to Washington.

Look for center fielder Nyjer Morgan to get a second chance at the top spot, if the Nats don't acquire a leadoff hitter via free agency or trade. /quote


http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101129&content_id=16225766&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

Posted by: Brue | December 1, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

They got depth alright - 20,000 leagues under the sea. Oh Pants, are you trying to sell tickets now that half the marketing department has been laid off by the Lerners?

Quote/ "We need a front-of-the-rotation guy to put everybody in their proper places in the rotation," Rizzo said. "That's the No. 1 priority going into the offseason. We definitely have depth." /quote

Posted by: Brue | December 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

No number 1 for you, Pants!

Quote/ "But we have other irons in the fire. We have a lot of other decisions to make and a lot of other people to talk to. We are going to make a prudent baseball move via free agency or trade. But we are certainly not going to make a move [just to make a move]."

Free agency isn't the only option. Rizzo could trade for a starting pitcher. If a pitcher like Rays right-hander Matt Garza or Royals right-hander Zack Greinke is available, don't be surprised if Rizzo tries to work out a deal. However, opposing teams most likely would ask for either shortstop Ian Desmond or right-hander Jordan Zimmermann -- or both -- in return. /quote

Posted by: Brue | December 1, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Crawford would be a good get. It would give us that leadoff bat and it would probably have a domino effect. Crawford is a left fielder so Willingham would be available in a trade package. Morris is Willingham anyway and you don't really want them both in the same outfield. Plus it probably diminishes any value that Morgan has. Morgan was hoped to be a top of the order bat, but Crawford would solve that issue. Bernadina does not appear to be a leadoff or number 2 type guy, but if that is not needed it would put him into a competition in center field, I would think. We don't have many tradeable pieces, but a move like this might free up a Willingham. I still think we have to give Rizzo a little time. Aside from the need for starting pitching, the starting eight from last year isn't a combination that does the trick with too many hot or cold hitters. We need other ways to score runs or save runs.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 1, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

>Crawford would be a good get.

Posted by: Jurgensen9

Granderson might be a little ticked off when he shows up, but they'll manage.

Posted by: Brue | December 1, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

This statement is 100% correct.

>I love you know-nothing Nats fans who keep talking about Dunn's defense. Check out Ryan Howard. He's become an OK fielding 1st baseman after the past 6 years but they were still able to win 4 Division titles in a row, two Pennants in a row and a WS championship. Dunn is the same kind of hitter putting up similar stats. Now the Nats are "gonna get cheap on you now." and put in somebody with half the numbers. 1st base is a Power position. Having Zim, the 2 young guys up the middle and Dunn would've given you an infield similar to the Phils. That's the strength of that team. Sign Dunn and get some guys in (Crawford, even Francouer) that can play the outfield. That's this team's weakness. Unless Pena can switch to the Outfield forget him.

Posted by: Dog-1

Posted by: Brue | December 1, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I, too, have tired of waiting for Major League Baseball to come back to DC. Why do the Baltimore Orioles look good now in comparison? The Lerners may be on their way to being more hated than Angelos. This is sort of like watching the Redskins play to win every year with known inferior talent. Isn't this the definition of insanity, where we do the same stupid things over and over and somehow expect a different result??

Posted by: southsidejohnnie | December 1, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Looks like things are in mid-season form around here. A few comments:

--Criticizing a first baseman for his defense is like criticizing a catcher for his footspeed. Dunn isn't any worse at 1B than Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder. That's not an issue.
--Money isn't an issue, either (other than the fact that the Nats don't want to pay him what he'll get elsewhere). At his age, with his numbers, he's worth four years. And he'll get it (my hunch is from the Cubs, but we'll see). He appears to be asking for fair market value so what's the problem with that?
--What's the alternative? Pena or Morse at 1B? Or even better, if you believe Kilgore that Willingham will be traded, Pena at 1B and Morse in LF? Hope they convince a good free agent OF'er to come here (when they won't pay a proven, current player what he's going to get elswehere)? Wait two years and cross our fingers that Harper is the next Ken Griffey? How are they a better team now and in the future following that path?
--I'm willing to cut Rizzo some slack because he seems competent and has made competent moves so far. But he's been blowing smoke so far this offseason about their plans and I'm not sure any big moves are on their way that will change my mind. Some "insider" types, like Jon Heyman of SI, seem to believe the Nats will make a real run at Cliff Lee but I'll believe it when I see it. It's only fair to wait until we see what the roster looks like when they break camp next spring, but it's hard to be optimistic about what we'll see.
--Now, more than ever, after working our way through Kasten, Bowden, F. Robby and Acta, the spotlight falls (where it should) on the Lerners. And it's not a pretty sight so far.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 1, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Amen to what baltova1 said!

Posted by: anyone1 | December 1, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow, not unexpected but never the less its just another sad chapter in the saga of Nats Baseball. So I'm still holding out regarding renewing my ST's, looks like next week (Winter Mtgs) will be the make or break for me. Come on Jizz, do your due deligence and make a trade.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 1, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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