MLB Trade Rumors reports that according to both Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Tumes and ESPN's Buster Onley, the Chicago Cubs and Adam Dunn could have mutual interest in getting a deal done this off season:
''[Wrigley Field's] obviously one of my favorite parks to hit in,'' Dunn told Wittenmyer. ''I've always really enjoyed playing there. The atmosphere is great there for any player. The fans are always hard on the other team, which makes it fun." Dunn later continued, "I know Jim (Henry) from my Cincinnati days. We hit it off. He's one of my favorites. And I hear nothing but great things about him.''
Dunn, 30, will become a free-agent at years end if the Nationals fail to sign him to a contract extension. The club looked very heavily into trading the big hitting left-hander at the trade deadline, but was unable to get a package in return that they deemed good enough for the slugger. Nearing the end of a two-year $20 million dollar contract, the two sides appear to be heading opposite directions towards talks of an extension.
Dunn has hit .263/.353/.548 with 31 homers and 78 RBI this season, and is looking to sign a multi-year contract this winter. While Dunn's defense has been poor throughout his career, the reformed first-baseman has expressed interest in staying in the National League because he does not wish to become a designated hitter in the final chapter of his career. While admirable, Dunn's ambition to stay in the field may cost him financially.
The Cubs appear willing to take on Dunn's defensive liabilities in order to have a strong power hitter from the left side of the plate, and Buster Olney seems convinced that all it would take is a four year deal. While the Nationals have not been willing to discuss terms on a possible extension with Dunn, it is widely believed that they do not want to sign him to more than a three-year contract due to his age, body type, and track record.
Last night we did an interview with Bleed Cubbie Blue, a great Chicago Cubs blog from SB Nation. Based on the conversation going on in their game thread, it seems like the city of Chicago is much more enthusiastic about signing Dunn than Washingtonians are. This is likely a result of the general eternal optimism of all Cubs fans, the same people who signed Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley. They want Dunn because they believe it will help them return to glory, but will it?
Dunn is a great player and Nationals fans should be happy that we all were able to watch him play over the past two years. For his price, he has been one of the most productive players in baseball, and despite his disastrous fielding debut in 2009, he bounced back to be at least a marginal first baseman in 2010. His power has slightly declined and 2010 saw him lower his walk rate to the worst of his career, but Dunn has done his part to make the past two seasons bearable. The club will have to decide in the coming weeks whether its worth opening their wallet to keep him or not.
However I think it's time for us to be realistic here. If the Nationals were going to open their wallet and extend the offer to Dunn, telling him he was a part of this team's future, don't you think they already would have?