Nats Discouraged About Signing Dunn, Hudson

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 9, 2009

The Washington Nationals have not stopped pursuing top free agent targets Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson, but the team is discouraged about its chances of signing either, one well-placed source said yesterday. For now, Dunn and Hudson are asking for contracts larger than the Nationals anticipated and are willing to pay.

That leaves Nationals officials with two options: wait for Dunn's and Hudson's demands to drop -- both, for the moment, are said to be asking for longer and pricier deals than those signed earlier this week by Milton Bradley (three years, $30 million) and Pat Burrell (two years, $16 million) -- or dedicate the rest of their offseason attention to trades and lesser free agents.

"The demands of those players," one source said, referencing not only Dunn and Hudson, but also free agent pitcher Randy Wolf, "have them concentrating more on trades now."

Unless the market for those players withers, Washington will enter 2009 with a roster largely unchanged from that which lost 102 games last year. The team made a monumental run at Mark Teixeira, but lost out to the New York Yankees. To date, the Nationals this offseason have added one everyday player (outfielder Josh Willingham) and two starting pitchers (Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera). Willingham and Olsen arrived in a package trade with Florida. Cabrera, cut loose by Baltimore, was signed to a one-year, $2.6 million deal.

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