For the time being, Adam Dunn is still with the Nationals. He’s in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, batting cleanup as he usually does, even as general manager Mike Rizzo’s phone lights up with offers and counteroffers for the slugger.
With less than 24 hours to go before the trade deadline, Dunn’s status changes by the minute. He could be headed to Chicago, New York, Tampa Bay, San Francisco or some other locale by tomorrow, or he could be celebrating a new contract with the Nationals (though that seems less likely).
Or, Dunn could be doing exactly what he’s doing today, suiting up for the Nationals with no better idea of where he’s going to play next season than he has today.
His best option at this point for dealing with all of it seems to be indifference.
You just get tired of hearing it. You can’t even watch TV. I don’t know how else to put it,” Dunn said. “It probably would affect other people more than it does me. It doesn’t, because my options are awesome. I can’t have better options that what I have.”
Meeting with about a dozen reporters in front of his locker on Friday afternoon, Dunn sounded more open to the idea of DHing for an American League team, because, as he said, it’s just for two months. “It’s not like if I make this move, it’s career-ending.”
Dunn’s agent, Greg Genske, has talked to general manager Mike Rizzo at various points throughout the season about a contract extension, but the two sides have not made appreciable progress, which is why the free agent-to-be might be the hottest name on the trade market.
The first baseman admitted on Friday it was a bit of a letdown that negotiations hadn’t gotten any further.
“I would say (I’m) frustrated more than disappointed,” Dunn said. “I know it’s the business side of it. But I really did expect to get something done and at least make a little progress. Just hasn’t worked out that. It’s no fault for anyone. It’s how it goes, man.”
Rizzo said the Nationals’ price for Dunn won’t come down from where it’s been; he’s said all month that a deal for Dunn would be “painful” for any team that wanted him. He said there are a number of teams that still have interest in Dunn; the Rays have had a scout here all week. But the Nationals haven’t found a trade that would be palatable, and Rizzo had little interest in giving any ground to make that happen.
“The closer to the deadline it gets, more pressure is on the teams to come with something that makes sense for me to trade one of the best offensive players in baseball,” Rizzo said. “I will come to the price where I originally said I’m going to go, or I won’t trade him.”
He would not comment on negotiations for a contract extension with Dunn, but Dunn said he imagined the two sides would keep negotiating a deal if he isn’t traded by the deadline. And his thoughts there, like several others on Friday, were tinged with exasperation.
“I wanted to get it done as early as possible, and that hasn’t worked out. It’s not going to change,” Dunn said.