MLBTraderumors.com released their "reverse-engineered" Elias Rankings a few weeks back with all the necessary caveats about how, as they put it, "There are a lot of moving parts in reverse-engineering the Elias rankings, so these are subject to change if we find errors," but they caused quite a stir anyway when they projected that Nats' first baseman Adam Dunn would be a Type B Free Agent leaving the Washington Nationals with just one supplemental draft pick should he sign somewhere else this winter. When MLBTraderumors.com released the "Official Elias Rankings" in Ben Nicholson-Smith's article today, however, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Dunn was in fact a Type A Free Agent, meaning the Nats would receive two picks as compensation should they fail to sign their big-middle-of-the-order bat.
The Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo told MASN's Ben Goessling, in an early August interview entitled, "Deals for Dunn and Harper?" that as they'd said all along, the Nationals, "...like Adam Dunn. We like him around here. But the worst-case scenario," if Dunn walked, "...is we get two first-round draft picks for him. And that's very exciting to me. Being a scouting guy and an ex-scout, that's very exciting to me." The idea that Washington would instead only receive one pick in return would have made Mr. Rizzo's decision to refrain from dealing Dunn at either the Non-Waiver or Waiver deadline this past season look even worse to those who wondered why he hadn't pulled the trigger.
Two first round picks though, and a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd Round? For a front office that prides itself on the strength of their scouting? Combine that with the fact that the rumored no.1 free agent target on the Nats' list of potential replacements should Dunn depart, Carlos Pena, is now officially a Type B free agent, and assuming, as many are, that Pena would leave Tampa Bay for D.C., the Nats could sign him after a down year statistically without losing a draft pick, and have a hard hitting plus defender at first and three high picks to go along with the $40-50 million they'd avoid giving to Adam Dunn whose departure would have already given them $10M dollars a year to put toward their search for an outfield bat and a starting pitcher to supplement the young talent that's gathered and waiting for the franchise to now take the next step...But is Dunn done in D.C.?
When Washington Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman, who recently learned officially that he'd be back on the bench in year '11, appeared on 106.7 The Fan in DC's "The Mike Wise Show with Holden Kushner", this morning, Holden Kushner (@HoldenRadio) told the Nats' Skipper that he was of the opinion that "Dunn is done" in D.C. and would sign with the Cubs, prompting Mr. Riggleman to respond that he'd, "...[heard] Chicago is very interested in Adam,":
"...so there's going to be some competition there for sure, but the one saving grace is that if we weren't able to work anything out with Adam, it is a pretty good free agent class of potential first baseman out there so, we've got our sights on Adam but there's going to be some other pretty good talent out there."
Before that exchange, Mr. Riggleman had offered his own opinion on Dunn's fate to Mr.'s Wise and Kushner:
Jim Riggleman: "I hate to ride the fence on it, but I guess it's 50/50 because at this point, having not gotten a deal done before the season ended, now [Dunn's] going to be listening to a lot of interesting offers. There's some clubs that just would absolutely make no sense for Adam because of who they already have, but there's a select few clubs who look at Adam Dunn as the final piece that they need, so Mike [Rizzo] is going to have an interesting time dealing with Adam and his agent, because, you know, we certainly have interest in bringing him back, but the other clubs may outbid you, you just never know how many years and how much money they're willing to give if they feel like he is the piece for year '11 that will get them over the hump."
The Nationals have a five day window once the Texas/San Fran World Series ends in which they can negotiate exclusively with Adam Dunn, then he's available league-wide. The Nats heard from a small but vocal segment of the fanbase during the last homestand of 2010, when several sections of the D.C. Faithful routinely started "Sign Adam Dunn" chants whenever the big middle-of-the-order bat stepped to the plate. Dunn heard it. Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman actually said he didn't hear the crowd when asked after one late-September game in which the entire press box and television audience had picked up the message loud and clear echoing around Nats Park and out over the airwaves on the stadium's mics. Mr. Riggleman told reporters he understood the fans' point of view, "You know Adam's a big-time player, he's done some things that nobody in the game has done over a period of about five or six years, and this thing is going to play itself out. I don't know where it's going to end up, but Adam and his agent and Mike [Rizzo] and the Lerners...they'll figure that out."
I think most Nats fans just want to know one way or another at this point. #SignAdamDunn or like the Face of the Nats' Franchise© Ryan Zimmerman told the Washinton Post's Adam Kilgore after the late September game referenced above by Mr. Riggleman in an article entitled, "Adam Dunn's homer sends Nationals past Phillies":
"If they don't sign him, they better find someone good to replace him. I think all of us think that. I think, more important, all the fans think that."
In Rizzo We Trust?