Thursday, December 2, 2010, 5:05 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
NATIONALS PAGE NATIONALS VIDEO
Washington Nationals fans (and players) who pleaded with club management to bring back Adam Dunn in 2011 won't get their Christmas wish. The free agent first baseman has agreed to a four-year, 56 million contract with the Chicago White Sox, according to a source familiar with the deal.
The White Sox made a strong push to acquire him before the July 31 trade deadline but couldn't pull off a deal with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
Because the Nationals offered Dunn (a Type A free agent) arbitration last week, they'll be compensated with two 2011 draft picks. They'll get Chicago's first-round pick (23rd overall) as well as a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds.
Rizzo had sought to keep Dunn in Washington by offering him a three-year contract during the season. Dunn, who has found himself involved in trade rumors each of the last three summers, all along said he wanted the stability of a four-year deal. The Nationals never upped the offer to meet those demands, despite pressure from fans and from players including third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to do what it took to keep the 31-year-old in a Nationals uniform.
Dunn has spent his entire career to this point in the National League and has long said he does not want to serve as a designated hitter. His role with the White Sox remains to be seen. GM Kenny Williams has also been negotiating to retain free agent Paul Konerko. If Konerko returns, Dunn may be forced into a regular DH role. If Konerko leaves, Dunn could continue to play first base.
The Nationals must now find a suitable replacement both in the lineup and in the field for a slugger who hit 38 homers each of the last two seasons. Major-league sources said Rizzo has his eye on two free agents: Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche. Neither offers the guaranteed offensive punch Dunn provides, but both Pena and LaRoche are considered better defensive players.