Updated at 4:23 p.m.
It's July 31 at last, and the final hours leading up to the magic 4 p.m. trade deadline are sure to be hectic as always as teams make last-ditch attempts to pull off a blockbuster.
Quite often, these deals don't happen until the very last minute. A year ago, the Nationals were in Pittsburgh on deadline day, with players sitting around the clubhouse watching MLB Network to find out what was going on. When the clock struck 4 p.m., Nick Johnson left the clubhouse and went down to the batting cage to take some hacks, assuming no news was good news. A couple minutes later, Johnson learned he'd actually been traded to the Marlins right at the deadline; it just took several minutes for the word to actually get to him.
So don't be surprised if something dramatic happens in those last few moments later this afternoon.
For now, here's what we know...
Adam Dunn, of course, still remains a National. The list of potential suitors appears to have dwindled after the Yankees acquired Lance Berkman and the Rays acquired reliever Chad Qualls (using up some of the little money they have to spend right now).
The White Sox still are the team that most covets Dunn, but it's going to take a change-of-heart from GM Kenny Williams -- who up til now has been unwilling to part with major-league position players like Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin and Dayan Viciedo -- in these final hours for something to get done.
Could another team swoop in and make Mike Rizzo an offer he can't refuse? Sure. But again, that offer would have to include big-time talent (I believe both a major-league-ready position player and a pitcher).
There's also a reasonable chance Rizzo could strike a deal with one of his lesser, role players before 4 p.m. Perhaps someone out there is willing to give up a low-level prospect for Willie Harris or Adam Kennedy. Perhaps someone really wants Livan Hernandez, though at this point Rizzo might be more inclined to keep the veteran right-hander because he looks like he could return in 2011.
I'll be sure to pass on any pertinent updates throughout the afternoon, so check back here for that. Until then, two other important items to share...
-- John Lannan will indeed be recalled from Class AA Harrisburg to start tomorrow's series finale against the Phillies. Several of you subscribers noticed I included Lannan's name in my emailed series preview yesterday; with all the trade talk, I completely forgot to post the news on here.
-- Many of you have asked about the status of Yuneski Maya, the Cuban right-hander who agreed to terms on a contract last week. Well, I've been told Maya has been granted his visa and has traveled to Washington. I expect a formal announcement of his signing will come in the very near future, perhaps as soon as today.
More trade updates coming later this afternoon...
2:43 P.M. -- Just got to the ballpark, and the biggest news to report is that Adam Dunn is in the Nationals' starting lineup. That doesn't necessarily mean he still can't be traded before 4 p.m., just means he's still on the team as of this moment.
The rest of the lineup, for those interested...
4:23 p.m. -- If you haven't heard already, the deadline passed and Dunn was not traded. Check the homepage for the full story. Also check the homepage for news on Stephen Strasburg's throwing schedule.