Saturday, July 31, 2010

Deadline passes, Dunn stays

Updated at 5:35 p.m.

Despite fielding offers from several clubs right down to this afternoon's trade deadline, 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 tonight's game against the 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 Josh Willingham, continued right down to the final minutes before the deadline.

Rizzo shot down reports that White Sox GM Ken Williams was upset the Nats didn't want pitcher Edwin Jackson (who was traded from Arizona to Chicago in an apparent precursory move): "There was no player that we asked some team to acquire that we were going to trade Adam Dunn for."

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 yesterday 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.


JaneB said...

Thank you Mike!!!!! SOOOOOO Happy.

Suicide Squeeze said...

Now, extend the Dunnkey!

Anonymous said...

Pardon the pun but is this a done deal? He is staying for sure? Can i step away from the computer and the MLB channel now?

Smatt1001 said...

Let's get Dunn resigned.

Richard said...

Thanks Mike Rizzo and Nats for not trading Dunn. He's unique. Now extend his contract ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Great!! Now I can really look forward to tonight's game.

Mark said...

Mark Z thinks 4 years at 60 mill. I say do 3 years at 40 mill with 5 mill in incentives with a 15 mill 4th year option. That is fair IMHO.

That adds up to the 60 mill

Anonymous said...

Mark - I know it's unlikely you can get this, but I for one would LOVE to know what the "final final" offers were. It's impossible to really know if this was the right or wrong move unless you know what the final "no thanks" offer really was. It's such a key decision for the next few Nats seasons that it would be interesting to know what was or wasn't offered.

We Need a Bat said...

They should offer 3 years, $45m today. I think another $5m in incentives would be reasonable but not a 4th year.

Sbrent said...

Great! Now sign the man to a new contract!

TimDz said...

I believe this was just due diligence on Rizzo's part. He appeared to know that Dunn would have great value to many teams by the trade deadline (not a stretch there, I know...) and, by not signing him, Rizzo had the option of seeing exactly what was out there for him. This is the business side of baseball that Dunn himself acknowledged.
Now that the deadline has passed, Rizzo goes to Dunn's camp, lets them know this was good business and then gets the deal "Dunn."

Cwj said...

Awesome. I think most of us hoped he would stay.
Seriously, such raw power is hard to find in this suddenly dead ball era

David Lint said...

Thank goodness!

So happy to have Dunn back.

Now get the deal DUNN!

Andrew said...

Glad Adam Dunn is staying!

D'Gourds said...

I love Dunn, but Rizzo definitely mishandled this. The Nats floated out that they were very interested in Edwin Jackson to trade Dunn. The White Sox acquired Jackson, and then Rizzo said it wasn't enough. Buster Olney says there's a lot of grumbling around mlb general managers about what Rizzo did. If we wanted to sign Dunn, then we should have at least given him an offer before the deadline ad certainly shouldn't have mislead other teams about what we wanted. Now we have him for the rest of the season, but Dunn's camp[ has all the negotiating power because he can just wait it out and let a bidding war start.

Anonymous said...

@D'Gourds: Have to disagree. Rizzo has shown he is a professional, not a cheesy buffoon like our late, unlamented last GM. As between Kenny Williams and Rizzo, I think Williams is the one more likely to have been playing games. And, I don't think Rizzo misplayed his hand - he was right to insist on full value, and not to give up Dunn for less. There was no gun at his head, given that there remains a good likelihood that Dunn will resign with the Nats (which makes this different from the Soriano situation a few years back).

Wendell said...

I heard the Olney comment as well. From a negotiating standpoint, I am not sure that I agree with Buster. Rizzo has said from the beginning that he would not deal Dunn unless he got an offer he could not refuse. If he had agreed on an extension for Dunn before the trade deadline, as Olney insisted he should have done, he would not have been able to test the market. I don't see why Rizzo can't agree on an extension for Dunn now, before he becomes a free agent. Olney suggested that the only option for the Nats at this point is to take compensatory draft picks. Clearly I do not have Olney's knowledge about baseball, insight and contacts, but I do know negotiation strategies and I can't see why Rizzo should be trashed - as Olney did - on his conduct in this regard.

HHover said...

Before taking Kenny Williams' story as gospel and speculating about what it tells us about Rizzo, people should first ask a few questions about how believable the story is in the first place.

Nobody seemed to think that a straight Dunn-for-Jackson deal was good for the Nats, and so there must have been more involved in their talks. So why would Williams trade for Jackson before having the other pieces nailed down and ready to move as well?

There's more to this story--whether its just Williams playing CYA or something more, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

It's not like this is rocket science.
Of course Rizzo has now lost a lot of leverage in his negotiations with Dunn.
Before the deadline, he could always trade him for a decent return in case they could not get an agreement. This option is now of the table.

Now it's either sign Dunn on his terms or get two compensatory draft picks. For the Nats, the latter option is obviously worse than what they could have gotten for him at the deadline.
Thus, Dunn is clearly in a better negotiating position than before the deadline. He knows anything other than signing him would be bad for the Nats.
Now, all this could change in case the market for Dunn develops the way it has at the end of 2008. In that case, Rizzo is going to look very smart. But almost everything seems to indicate Dunn is going to have a few three, if not four year offers. So it's rather likely the Nats will end up paying more for Dunn this winter than they would have now -- if they can keep him, that is. And in contrast to what some seem to think, that's not at all a given.

All this, of course, is assuming Rizzo wants to re-sign him. But if he didn't want to, it would have been downright irresponsible not to get Hudson plus someone else from the White Sox.

If Rizzo gets Dunn to sign for 3 yrs and up to $45, I'll be fine with the way he handled it. If it takes more than that to keep Dunn, I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Buster Olney said Rizzo misled other teams about what we wanted for Dunn. If he really said that, what a ridiculous statement! Rizzo said all along that it would be painful for him to trade Dunn and it would be painful for the team acquiring him. How could anyone think giving up Edwin Jackson for Adam Dunn is painful???

Although, I do agree not signing Dunn before the extension makes it more difficult, I am not sure he will get what he's looking for--4 years for 60m. Additionally, he has said he likes playing here and we have the advantage over an American League team as most would probably want him as a DH. I'm not sure how many NL teams would even come close to what he's looking for. Hopefully, we'll get him signed before the offseason--that would really be great.

Anonymous said...

If Rizzo actually kept telling Ken Williams in negotiations for Dunn that he wanted Jackson and then got cold feet on Jackson after the White Sox already dealt two good prospects for him, then yes, that would be a dick move on Rizzo's part. Omar Minaya would deserve that sort of treatment, for sure, but Ken Williams is a good GM.

D'Gourds said...

The bottom line is that Rizzo pretty much has to sign him now and it will be costly. He's probably lost the good will that Dunn felt toward the Nats by not even giving him an offer before the deadline. Dunn says he wants to stay in Washington, but they all say stuff like that. It means nothing. Rizzo took a risk playing the hard line. He didn't get the trade he wanted and now we have Dunn for two more months and the prospect of compensatory draft picks if he goes elewhere. Sounds like the Soriano/Bowden situation a few years back. To save face Rizzo must now essentially overpay for Dunn and give him the four years. I say do it--Dunn is still young and consistent and I think 4 years would be great.

Dave said...

This year, more than any before, I've become aware that these guys who tweet about things they've "heard" often don't seem to know much more than you or I do. How many of the mainstream guys just KNEW that Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees, for example? Almost all of them.

Thank you for reporting things you know, Mark, and for characterizing rumors clearly as rumors. I don't trust a hint or rumor unless I read it here, usually

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