Zuckerman: Deadline Passes, Dunn Stays

Zuckerman: Deadline Passes, Dunn Stays
July 31, 2010, 8:21 pm
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Saturday, July 31, 2010 4:20pm, Updated at 6:41pm

By Mark Zuckerman

Despite fielding offers from several clubs right down to Saturday Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo elected not to deal slugger Adam Dunn.

Rizzo, who had insisted for weeks he would not lower his lofty asking price for the 30-year-old first baseman, stuck to his guns as a frantic trading period around baseball came to a close.

The Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers (among others) all expressed interest in Dunn as the deadline approached, with the White Sox most aggressive in their pursuit.

Rizzo, though, continued to insist on receiving at least two big-league-ready players in return for his cleanup hitter, who leads the Nationals with 24 homers and 64 RBI entering Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"We never got a deal we thought was equal or greater value to Adam Dunn," Rizzo said. "We were on the receiving end of the calls. We weren't making the calls. We got a lot of interest in Adam. We just didn't see an equal return to what Adam Dunn brings to the ballclub on and off the field."

Rizzo said talks on Dunn and other players, including left fielder Josh Willingham, continued right down to the final minutes before the deadline.

Though he wasn't traded, Dunn still has no long-term security with the Nationals. He's still eligible for free agency after the season, and despite on-and-off contract talks since January, no deal has been struck yet.

Dunn, who has expressed a desire to remain in Washington, said Friday he would be willing to continue contract talks over the next two months and into the offseason if needed. He's believed to be seeking a four-year deal worth as much as 60 million; the Nationals are reluctant to offer more than three years.

Rizzo wouldn't discuss any aspect of the ongoing contract talks, saying only that "Adam Dunn is a big part of our ballclub. We've shown that by not trading him for lesser value."

Even if Dunn winds up signing with another club this winter, the Nationals would still receive two compensatory draft picks as long as they offer him arbitration.