As July 31st inches closer, the three Nationals getting the most attention from other teams are Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, and Matt Capps.
Dunn is in a frustrating situation; he has been on the trading block for as long as anyone can remember with teams like the White Sox and Yankees showing the most interest, but Washington has been unable to reach any agreement with either team due to GM Mike Rizzo “treating Dunn like he’s Ryan Howard“. To make things worse, Dunn and the Nats have not even been able to see eye to eye on an extension, meaning Dunn may play out the rest of the year without an extension and securing him an off-season back on the hot stove. If that is the case, Dunn will look to cash in this off-season, as he will be one of the top free agents avalible in a class that includes Carl Crawford, Lance Berkman, and Jayson Werth.
Willingham has enjoyed a surprise year by his standards with the Nationals in 2010, and has been one of the most consistent bats in his team’s lineup. He has expressed interest in signing a multi-year deal with the Nats, but that hasn’t stopped recent trade rumors linking him in a deal with Atlanta. Willingham won’t be a free agent until after 2011, but I expect him to stick around in Washington and sign a multi-year deal sometime in the near future, despite the fact that the club has yet to approach Willingham on any talk of an extension.
Are the Nationals really shopping their only All-Star representative? The same guy who was the winning pitcher for the NL in their first victory over the AL since 1996? Matt Capps has taken his share of hits this season but he is arguably having the best year of his career with 24 saves and a 2.93 ERA. Like Willingham, Capps has said he would like to stay in Washington and with the lack of depth in the Nats bullpen, it is likely that Capps will be around for the rest of the season.
The Nationals have some of the top “available” players on the market right now, Dunn, Willingham, and Capps are some of the best at their respective positions, but Mike Rizzo will need to be “overwhelmed” if he plans to pull the trigger on a deal for any of them. Expect the three players to finish out the season in the nations capital.