The Nationals and Nats' slugger Adam Dunn have reportedly been in discussions about a contract extension since before the 2010 season began, but as of September 6th no agreement has been reached, and the soon-to-be 31-year-old left-handed hitting power bat, who hit his 34th HR of the year and the 350th of his career on Sunday, seems likely to enter the free agent market at the end of the 2010 campaign to see what he can command. That's not my opinion, but that of both MLB.com writer Ken Gumick and The Detroit News' Lynn Henning.
MLB.com's Ken Gumick writes about the LA Dodgers' free agent targets in an article this past weekened entitled, "Elusive big bat key to big Dodgers offseason", including Dunn on a list of sluggers who, "...figure to be among the most potent hitters on the free-agent market," though Mr. Gumick quickly says the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat is, "...likely to command the type of rich [contract] the Dodgers have shied away from." According to the Detroit News' Lynn Henning's article entitled, "Adam Dunn likely tops Tigers' 2011 wish list", Dunn is a perfect example of the sort of, "...big bat the Tigers ideally would love to place on either side of Miguel Cabrera as a Tigers team gunning for offense prepares to shop," this offseason. "Dunn, 30, could still sign an extension with the Washington Nationals," Mr. Henning writes, but at this point that, "seems beyond unlikely."
Just like last time Dunn was a free agent, however, his limited defensive skills could limit his options. Mr. Henning notes that though Dunn's transitioned to first, "He can play the outfield, technically speaking,":
"...but any team that pretends defense is important won't want Dunn in the outfield. It's known, as well, that Dunn isn't interested in becoming a designated hitter."
Dunn indirectly confirmed the fact that he didn't consider himself a DH yet in the days leading up to the 2010 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline when he told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (as reported via Twitter @AdamKilgoreWP) that, "...he would be comfortable becoming a DH for the rest of this year. "[Since] It's just two months," but that doesn't sound like someone who's ready to stop playing the field. No AL or NL team was willing to give Dunn the multi-year deal he wanted last time he was a free agent, so the slugger settled for a two-year deal with Washington. If he's unwilling to sign with an AL team which would most likely want him to transition once again to become a designated hitter, and limits himself to the National League, he'll still have suitors, with rumors of interest already having made the news in Chicago, but in spite of the fact that he's 4 HR's away from hitting over 38 for the seventh-straight season, Dunn might just find himself back at the table with the Nats.