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The Nationals failed to trade Adam Dunn last week, and sources are saying that they will try to get the slugger through waivers this month to explore further trade offers. However, the Nationals have failed to extract the maximum value from Dunn, failing to capitalize on interest from teams such as the White Sox, Yankees, and others. After the failure to secure a contract extension with the Dunn earlier this year, it leaves on the table the very frightening proposition that the Nationals may be left with nothing to show for one of their best assets.
Besides the the chance to play armchair GM, what this lack of movement on the part of the Nationals represents to me is a failure to establish an identity of any sort. Earlier in the year, when the Nationals were overachieving, there was a call for the team to acquire veterans such a Roy Oswalt to make an unlikely push for the playoffs. Lately, as the team has faltered, the call has been to trade players like Dunn and Nyger Morgan and to continue to rebuilding effort centered around Zimmerman times two, and Stephen Strasburg. However, the Nationals pursued neither strategy, and seem content to sit idle and do nothing.
Which puts the Nationals in the worst place a major league franchise can be, rebuilding limbo. Not good enough to truly compete year in and year out, but without the player pipeline established to erupt like the Tampa Bay Rays. The Nationals on their current course resemble the Houston Astros, doomed to to mid-market obscurity and 60-70 wins each year, without a true plan to build a winning franchise.
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