Adam Dunn signed a two year $20M deal with the Nationals. Initially this article was going to be Dunn done with Nationals, but it appeared Dunn was tired of waiting on Manny to sign with a team. If Manny had signed with the Dodgers that would have limited the options for Adam Dunn and pushed the Nationals offer to the top of the list. If Manny had signed elsewhere, it would have allowed Dunn to possibly fill the void in LA and absorb some of the dollars slotted for Manny. With Bobby Abreu reaching a one year deal with the Angels, the dominos began to fall into place for corner outfielders.
Dunn had been sitting on an offer from the Nats for some time. In a down economy and a depressed free agent market the Nationals decided to go bargain shopping and let the price drop on remaining free agents. Maybe a little dumb luck from the Capitals front office decisions rubbed off on the Nationals. Luckily for Nationals fans, the rest of the league played right into Washington's hands.
Bowden's connection from the Reds organization did help sign Dunn. The Nationals almost lost Dunn if not for the stars to align properly in free agency. They don't seem to understand the perceived "stink" on this club. As the line goes in "Who Shot Liberty Valance", "when the legend becomes fact...print the legend." When the perceived stench on a team is real or imaginary then it exists and the team should understand that formulating a free agent spending strategy like a contending organization with plenty of cash is flawed. Contenders can dictate to the market, while bottom feeders need to pay above market prices to sign players.
The Nationals haven't adapted from the Teixeira episode. Washington made a very fair offer to Teixeira, but in the end the prize of free agency chose a comparable deal on a contender (Yankees). When a team is so bad and in such dire need of top talent it must over spend slightly in the initial phase of the rebuilding process. One top player will in turn help sign another player as eventually losing turns into winning making it easier to sign players.
The two year deal signed by Dunn benefits him more than the Nationals. Adam Dunn received the top dollar offer in a bad market. The short term deal also allows him to plunge into a better market two years from now while still in his prime and maybe land on a better team.
The Nationals farm system fell back into the bottom third of MLB as rated by Baseball America. It takes time to develop players. It took so long to sign Dunn and a lot of luck in the market too. It seems like a very short window for the Nationals to sign many marquee players and develop enough young talent of their own for Dunn to re-sign two years from now. In the interim, it appears the Nationals have their first marquee player since Soriano and someone for the fans to watch...for at least two years. Neither the Nationals nor Dunn probably received everything they were looking for this free agent period, but both have made the best of the situation and appear to be satisfied.