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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals/Adam Dunn/Matt Capps.

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Will Washington Nationals' closer Matt Capps be a Nat after the July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Will Washington Nationals' closer Matt Capps be a Nat after the July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Not long after MLB.com's Bill Ladson posted a story entitled, "Tigers have 'great interest' in Adam Dunn", about what he'd heard from a "baseball source" about the Detroit Tigers' sudden interest in the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat, Adam Dunn, in light of the recent injuries to outfielder Magglio Ordonez, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, citing no sources, but simply offering his opinion, sent the following Tweets (which I've combined) out via his (@Ken_Rosenthal) account: 

"Don't know this for certain, but it's in the #Nationals' interest to leak #Tigers' supposed interest in Dunn when they're trying to extract as strong a package as possible for Dunn out of #WhiteSox. Again, no direct knowledge. Just sayin'!"

Just sayin'? MLB.com's Bill Ladson spoke to the Nats' GM Mike Rizzo this weekend as well, for an article entitled, "Rizzo: Starters remain biggest need for Nats", though the RZO was relatively tight-lipped about potential moves with just six days remaining before the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline on July 31st, so the only thing really new to come out of the conversation is the fact the Nats have received calls about the Amazing Willie Harris. Mr. Rizzo, as he has throughout all the recent rumors, responds when asked if the Nats are trying to trade Dunn, Josh Willingham or closer Matt Capps, by once again saying simply, "'No,'":

"'We are not looking to trade Capps, Willingham or Dunn. We don't make calls. We get a lot of calls, because all three of them are terrific players.'"

Mr. Rizzo points out once again that the Nats, "...control Capps and Willingham through 2011 and they are terrific young players," but ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN), who occassionally hears things, speculated this afternoon on his own Twitter feed that the Nats' closer could be one player who actually does get moved: 

"Heard this: Rival executives think the Nationals are going to trade Matt Capps, who is making $3.5 million this year and is in line for a major raise, as he climbs the arbitration ladder; he'll have 5-plus years of service time. Do the Nats want to pay him $6-7 m? We'll see."

The Pittsburgh Pirates parted ways with Capps, non-tendering their '02 7th Round pick rather than go to arbitration with 26-year-old right-hander even though he was coming off a down year statistically, but the Bucs' GM Neal Huntington predicted at the the time in an interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette writer Dejan Kovecevic entitled, "Huntington: Capps' money for replacement" that Capps might return to the form he'd shown in previous seasons: 

"'The only reason we had interest in him is that we felt he's due to have a bounce-back year. But there are other options out there. Like Matt gambled that he can get more through free agency, we're gambling that we can replace him with similar dollars toward one or multiple pieces.'"

With a closer-in-waiting in Drew Stroren, will DC GM Mike Rizzo and the Nats risk returning to the days of the questionable bullpens that plagued the team since they parted with Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch and hope that Storen lives up to expectations, or take their chances in arbitration with Capps in spite of the season he's having, which will earn him more of a raise than he probably would have received from the Pirates after the '09 campaign?Will the Nats allow Storen another season of apprenticeship, and deal the closer at the peak of whatever value an occassionally injured, often-erratic late-inning arm can have? The one thing I'd focus on if I was a tea-leaf-reading rumor-monger, is a quote from Mr. Ladson's interview with Mr. Rizzo, in which he states that in order for him to trade a player like Capps, or Willingham, "...I have to have a replacement in mind and have to get something in return that impacts us not only in '10, but into the future," and Storen was drafted because he was an almost-major-league-ready closer, so if there's a reasonable offer out there...Just sayin'