At some point in the next nine hours the following headline will be plastered all over NatsTown: "Dunn Denies Nats' Arbitration Offer." A 10-12-year-old "newsie" will walk out to the corner of South Capitol Street, SE in tweed short pants, matching flat cap, once-white work-stained dress shirt and suspenders and hold the hot-off-the presses papers up with ink-stained hands, (for the sake of this image imagine the Nats print their own news), as he begins screaming at the top of his lungs:
"Adam Dunn denies ahh-bitration! One step closer to leaving town! Read all about it!! Adam Dunn denies ah-bitration!! One step closer..."
Hopefully these headlines won't be the late-2010 equivalent of the early November '48 Chicago Tribune's "Dewey Defeats Truman" gaffe, but the chances of Adam Dunn accepting arbitration and returning to the nation's capital's Nats on a one-year deal are slim. The 31-year-old free agent first baseman may not get the 4-year deal he's been looking for, but even if he does eventually decide to stay in D.C., he's likely to get a multi-year deal, with Washington reportedly having already offered a 3-year contract before Dunn hit the market.
FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi wrote this morning in an article punnily entitled, "Here's why it isn't a Dunn deal yet", about why the best available bat on the market hasn't inked a deal so far with a week to go before the Winter Meetings, but there was nothing in the article (and I'm not taking a shot at Mr. Morosi, it's just true) that fans of the Nats haven't been discussing since last March/April when talk of extending Dunn first surfaced. Dunn wants to continue to play the field, but it seems all his suitors are in the American League where he'd be used as a DH.
Mr. Morosi provides a list of five potential destinations for the perennial 38-40 HR/100 RBI threat, but not one is a National League team. (No, he doesn't mention the Nats). One of the AL teams that's reportedly interested in acquiring Dunn's bat presents a potential Mid-Atlantic PR nightmare for the Nationals, as Mr. Morosi includes the Baltimore Orioles on his list of interested teams along with the White Sox, Rangers, A's and Blue Jays. If the Nationals let their big middle-of-the-order bat walk thirty minutes up the road to Baltimore, the team will never hear the end of it from an already frustrated fan base.
Will Dunn accept being put out to pasture as a designated hitter in the AL? If he wants a better deal than that which Washington reportedly had on the table at the end of the season, he'll likely have to leave the National League unless an unexpected suitor comes out of nowhere next week at the Winter Meetings, but either way, Dunn, who said he wanted to know where he'll play next season early this time around after waiting til just days before Spring Training to sign with Washington in 2008, will be making a decision soon, right after one last formality of either accepting or rejecting arbitation tonight.