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For Nationals, Signing Adam Dunn Took Time and Convincing

"I'm not going to sit here and whine and complain about it," he said.

It's not as if Dunn had no other offers. Both the Angels and Dodgers were thought to have interest in him, as were the Atlanta Braves. Dunn's agent, Greg Genske, did not confirm any other offers, saying only that "there were other offers for good money, in good markets."

Bowden characterized the negotiations as "excruciating" at times, and Nationals President Stan Kasten said the sides went "back and forth, for a long time." Still, the Nationals felt throughout much of the winter as if they held the upper hand, particularly as prices continued to fall and other teams began to fill their holes. Bowden said it was Monday night when he felt he had the player wrapped up.

For yesterday's news conference, most of the Nationals' personnel, including Bowden and Acta, had to fly to Washington from Florida, where they already had set up shop. Most of them were flying back either last night or today, to prepare for tomorrow's opening of a camp that all of a sudden has an entirely different feel.

"When you walk into the clubhouse and he's in your uniform," Bowden said, "the timeline doesn't matter."

Dunn, too, was making arrangements to get himself and his family to Space Coast Stadium in the coming days. It may not have been the destination he envisioned for himself 3 1/2 months ago, but by the end of yesterday's proceedings the idea seemed to have grown on him.

"I can sit here with a straight face," he said, "and say this is where I wanted to be."

Staff writer Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.

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