Earlier this week, Mike Rizzo said flatly that "We are not trading Adam Dunn. That's as definitive as I can be."
Now, it's possible that this is a bluff of some kind to drive up the asking prices for Dunn, but I highly doubt it. A statement like won't generate better offers. It will make the phone stop ringing altogether.
So assuming that Dunn really is untouchable, the question is: why?
Dunn is signed through next year at $10 million a year. It's clear that the Nationals aren't winning anything next year. Even if everything breaks just right and they go sign a top-tier starter like John Lackey and conjure up a solid bullpen, they still won't have enough pitching to reach .500, much less contend.
This is a rebuilding team that still needs to put a it's primary focus on stockpiling young talent. Dunn is one of a few players on the team that could fetch a decent package of prospects. The team is talking as if Dunn might be around to play for a contender, but at 29 he's past his peak and probably isn't the kind of guy who will age real well.
The list of potential suitors is long. The Tigers, White Sox, Angels, Mets, Cubs, and Giants are all contenders who could all use Dunn's bat. He'd be especially valuable for the Tigers or Angels, who could play him at DH.
Last year, Arizona gave up Micah Owings and a couple C-level prospects (guys who project as major league back-ups, maybe less). What might a team give up for a season-and-a-half of Big Donkey?
Plus, if the team is serious about upgrading the defense (and they have to be), they can't carry Dunn, Josh Willingham, and Cristian Guzman. One, some, or all those guys have to go.
I'm not saying Dunn should be auctioned off to whoever shows up, but I don't see why he'd be regarded as untouchable.