All of the talk coming from the Nats about their big middle-of-the-order bats following Sunday's first-half finale loss to the visiting San Francisco Giants, was from Washington GM Mike Rizzo, who was telling everyone who would listen that the Nationals would prefer it if they didn't have to move either one of their heavy hitters, Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham, though the future of the Nats' four and five hitters remained uncertain heading into the All-Star break with some outside the Beltway saying that Dunn, at least, was not long for DC. The rumors, much to Dunn's dismay we're told, have been swirling around the left-handed hitting first baseman/future DH, but as Mr. Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson following Washington's 6-2 loss to San Francisco, as quoted in an article entitled, "Postgame Q&A with Mike Rizzo":
"As I said in the past, Adam Dunn is a big part of this club -- anchors the middle of the lineup, anchors the clubhouse. It would take an extraordinary deal to trade him, but we are going to keep our options open for anything that happens."
The Nats' GM, in an appearance on MASN's broadcast Saturday night, repeated a now-familiar refrain about how it, "...would be very, very painful for me to move [Adam Dunn]", but, "It would also be very painful for another team to acquire him." The talk from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal last week, in an article entitled, ""No Dunn Deal", was that the Nats', "...asking price for Dunn is exorbitant,":
"...one says the Nats wanted either second baseman Gordon Beckham or right fielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox."
Boston Globe writer Nick Carfado, however...
Boston Globe writer Nick Carfado, however, wrote on Sunday, in a section of his article entitled, "Arroyo has dealt well with life in Cincinnati", which is subtitled, "Updates on nine", that, "...unless the Nationals decide to commit to a multiyear, big-money contract for the perennial 40-homer, 100-RBI producer, the Nats may come to the conclusion that he must be traded." In spite of Dunn's stated desire to remain in Washington, where the 30-year-old slugger is playing out the second year of a 2-year/$20M dollar deal given to him by former DC GM Jim Bowden, Mr. Carfado writes that the team might not be able to take for granted that they can sign him after the deadline and before he walks:
"...the Nationals may not be able to take the chance, and probably wouldn’t be willing to get into the $15-$18 million range with Dunn. Not sure many teams would, despite his stats."
As for Willingham, the 31-year outfielder who is under control for another year, and currently playing for a reasonable $4.6 million, Mr. Rizzo is quoted stating in Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's post game Nationals Journal post entitled, "Mike Rizzo prefers keeping Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham on the Nationals", that the Hammer, "...is a part of the family and we want him around long term."
The Nationals are now T-minus 20 days and counting until they have to make two big decisions about their two big middle-of-the-order bats...
• ?'s For The DC Faithful:
• Would Dunn be willing to take the stability of a 3-year/$36 or $4/$48 million dollar deal over a raise on a yearly basis, in order to avoid being the subject of trade talk every year?
• Would you be willing to take the chance that Dunn walks and take the compensatory draft picks, or do the Nationals have to sign or trade Dunn by the July 31st deadline?
• Should the Nationals trade Josh Willingham? The fact that he's under control for next season at a reasonable price would be just as attractive to prospective buyers as it is to the Nats...
• Will Adam Dunn be the Nats' first baseman on August 1st? Will Willingham be in left?