Rizzo talks trade deadline

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said again this afternoon the Nationals aren’t buyers or sellers, in the strictest senses of the terms, as the team heads into July.

“We’re going to make a deal that’s a prudent deal for the Nationals long-term,” Rizzo said. “If that means buying, we would buy. If it means selling, we would sell. But that hasn’t changed since Opening Day.”

The Nationals have been linked to big-name targets like Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, partially because of their ability to take on payroll. It’s questionable whether they’d have the prospects to land a player like that, but Rizzo did say the team is after front-line starting pitching, as most teams are.

He also said he’s under no directive from ownership to shed payroll or deal veterans.

“There’s no marching orders to dump payroll or add payroll,” Rizzo said. “It’s, ‘What’s a good deal for the Nationals in 2010 and beyond?’ We’re always looking to do deals. Last year, we did a deal well before the trade deadline (getting Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett on June 30) because there was a deal to do, and we did it.”

Rizzo also said the team is still interested in signing first baseman Adam Dunn to a contract extension.

“We’re looking into it. We’ve been talking about it since spring training,” Rizzo said. “We’re looking at every way to improve the club. We like where Adam’s at, both offensively and defensively. He’s a big part of the clubhouse, and he’s a big part of the middle of the lineup.”