SI.com's Jon Heyman just reported on Twitter (@SI_JonHeyman) that Adam Dunn will decline arbitration (the MLBPA has since confirmed by omission as Nats Insider.com's @MarkZuckerman pointed out), turning down the Washington Nationals' offer after he'd reportedly left a long-standing deal on the table and become a free agent officially five days after the World Series ended back on Monday November 1st. This deadline passes with much less drama than the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline when Dunn was all but traded out of town according to just about any national baseball writer who had a source with knowledge of the situation, and the Waiver Deadline when Dunn was reportedly claimed and later pulled back by D.C. GM Mike Rizzo and the Nats.
@SI_JonHeyman: "no surprise, adam dunn to decline arbitration. if he'll dh, he may get the $60 million deal he seeks. since 2004, hes 2nd in HRs to albert."
The 31-year-old first-baseman/future DH initially objected to moving to the American League and becoming a designated hitter, saying he preferred to remain in the National League where he could play first or (he claimed) left field for any team willing to let him. Early on it was apparent, (after the Chicago Cubs entered and quickly exited the market for the 10-year veteran who's averaged 40 HR's and 98 RBI's per 162-games-played over the course of his career, with 38 blasts in the each of the last two years and 40-a-year in each season for five straight years before that stretching back to 2004 when a then-24-year-old Reds' outfielder hit 46 out while driving in 102), that the only interest in the big middle-of-the-order bat was in the AL...
A source told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine, as reported back on November 17th in an article entitled, "Source: Adam Dunn expects $40 million", that the, "...the starting point for Dunn will be a three-year, $40-million deal." Earlier today, Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan wrote in a section of an article entitled, "Greinke is OK with pinstripes" which was subtitled, "Big money abounding?", that Dunn's agent, Greg Ginske, had, "...let interested teams know that the bidding for the left-handed slugger will start at four years for $60 million."
This wasn't exactly news either. As far back as July 18th in a Baltimore Sun column entitled by Phil Rogers entitled, "Phil Rogers' whispers: White Sox's Crede almost ready again", the national writer had reported that, "Adam Dunn is looking for a deal of at least four years for $60 million after having to settle for a two-year deal with the Nationals in his first run at free agency." "The Nats want to keep him," Mr. Rogers wrote, "but not at that price." MLB.com's Bill Ladson quote a "baseball source" in an early November article entitled, "Nationals have options if Dunn doesn't re-sign", who said that, "...the Nationals have had a three-year deal on the table for three months," which Dunn and his agent had left on the table when he chose to become a free agent.
Dunn let the Nationals dangle in the winter of 2009 too, waiting til the last minute (mid-February) before Spring Training to accept a 2-year/$20 million dollar deal from his one-time GM in Cincinnati, Jim Bowden, who was then General Manager with the Nats, but Bowden was out of his position with Washington less than a month later. Bowden's replacement, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo decided against dealing Dunn last August, pulled him back off waivers rather than work out the second post-non-waiver deadline deal of Dunn's career, and then made what he thought was a fair offer to Dunn before he became a free agent.
The fans in Nationals Park let Dunn know they wanted him back during the last homestand of the season back in September. The Nats let him know what they thought he was worth more than three months back. It's been Dunn's decision since. Will he find a better deal than what the Nationals offered, and is the Nats' deal still on the table? Those are the questions now...well, those and "Why three years but not four?", "Why Carlos Pena exactly?" and "Did anyone tell Pena he had to play for the Nats?"