Wire Taps: Washington Nationals - Pat Listach To Chicago Cubs, Adam Dunn vs Carlos Pena.

• UPDATE: More Dunn Chatter In Chicago: The end of the World Series last night started the clock on the five-day window that MLB teams have to negotiate exclusively with their own soon-to-be-free agents, which means the Washington Nationals must now sign Adam Dunn to the contract they couldn't get done all season within the next five days or they'll have to outbid the rest of the league for the big middle-of-the-order bat's services next season. According to Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan, in an article entitled, "Cubs' organizational meetings begin Tuesday", Adam Dunn will be high on the list of topics for the Cubs to discuss when they meet in Mesa, Arizona today for their annual organizational get-together, with Mr. Sullivan writing that, "The Adam Dunn question will be debated in Arizona, with the Cubs apparently ready to pursue the left-handed slugger to play first base and protect Aramis Ramirez in the lineup." Chicago, at least according to Mr. Sullivan, will benefit from the fact that the team's GM, Jim Hendry, "...has a long relationship with Dunn, as does pitcher Ryan Dempster, while [Carlos] Zambrano has already lobbied for the signing." The only question Mr. Sullivan raises in discussing the prospect of acquiring Dunn, which is sure to anger the Dunn defenders, is whether or not the team can, "...afford to sacrifice defense for offense at first?" 

• Listach Leaves...

The Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that third base coach Pat Listach, who came to Washington from the Cubs' organization in 2009 on the recommendation of then Cubs' manager Lou Piniella, was returning to Chicago to become Bench Coach for Mr. Piniella's now-permanent replacement, Manager Mike Quade. Listach joined former Nats' Skipper Manny Acta's bench staff when Mr. Piniella called then-Nats' GM Jim Bowden to suggest the former major league infielder for a position after Listach had coached and managed for several years in Chicago's system, winning the '08 Pacific Coast League's Manager of the Year award in his final season with the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate. Washington Post writer Chico Harlan reported at the time in an article entitled, "As a Coach, Listach Wants Low Profile", that Mr. Piniella had, "...viewed Listach as one of the game's rising managerial stars, but didn't have room for him on his staff."

Listach was hired by the Washington Nationals to replace much-maligned outgoing Third Base Coach Tim Tolman, and according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's 10/24/08 article entitled, "Nationals add five to coaching staff", the then-DC GM Jim Bowden, said that Listach's mentor, Mr. Piniella, "'...swears that [Listach] will not only be a good big league manager, but a phenomenal big league manager someday.'" MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling wrote this afternoon, in an article entitled, "Pat Listach leaving Nationals for Cubs", that his anonymous source, "...said the Nationals already have a replacement selected, and will announce the hire after the World Series."

Adam Dunn Chatter...

In a recent post by a writer for DRaysBay (the SB Nation's Tampa Bay Rays site) named Mr.Negative1, which was entitled, "Not So Fast My Friend: Why The Rays Should Re-Sign Carlos Pena", the author advised the Rays not to let soon-to-be-free agent first baseman Carlos Pena leave as easily as some believe they will. (ed. note - "In spite of the fact that Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon told Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenXMFOX) that, "he is almost certain that Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano and Carlos Pena will not be back next year for $ reasons.") Instead, the writer recommended giving Pena a "possibly incentive-laden" two-year deal that would keep the 32-year-old power bat in Florida.

What I found interesting, however, (in light of something I read a while back, which I'll mention in a minute) was what Mr.Negative1 wrote about how some believe if the Rays let Pena walk the power he provided could come from young Rays like, "[Matt] Joyce, [Ben] Zobrist, [B.J.] Upton, [Sean] Rodriguez, or [Evan] Longoria," and how, "...others may believe the power will come from another free agent signing," but the writer believed, "...the most certain power uptick may come from a healthy Carlos Pena with something to prove in 2011."

MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling reported in late September in an article entitled, "Sources say Nats unlikely to resign Adam Dunn", that sources of his who were, "...familiar with the team's thinking," were telling him that Washington was, "...likely to let [Dunn] walk," in favor of, "...a more reliable defensive option at first base, though they understand no one on the market would be able to offer the same kind of power as Dunn." "The team," Mr. Goessling wrote, "...is hopeful they will recoup some of the production as middle infielders Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa continue to mature, and Michael Morse and Roger Bernadina improve in the outfield." 

Where should the Nats put their faith? In Adam Dunn continuing to produce as he has for the last seven major league seasons, or the four players mentioned above making up for the offense Dunn provided? Why are both the Rays and Nats seemingly willing to part with their power bats in the hopes that others pick up the offensive output? Pena's coming off a down year. Dunn hardly had a down year, though he's likely not any more attractive to an NL team than he was after the '08 campaign, and more likely less attractive as he ages...Any chance either Pena or Dunn sign in the five-day window which will folllow the end of the World Series? Why would they?

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