The Nats have offered Dunn arbitration, the assumption being that he will decline arbitration and sign somewhere else and because he is a Type A player the Nats will pick up a couple comp draft slots for their trouble. It's a very safe assumption. Dunn wants a long term deal, and arbitration only promises a one-year contract. It would also be unwise of his to go through arbitration, he's on the wrong side of 30 now and he had a fantastic year last year. Playing another year to see what he can get is more likely to lower the value of his next contract, rather than raise it. He doesn't want arbitration and he doesn't need arbitration.
Still, I can't help wondering what the situation would be if Dunn shocked the Natsmosphere and accepted arbitration. I guess it IS still possible. The Tigers signed V-Mart. The White Sox went ahead and offered arbitration to Paul Konerko, who as a long time White Sock, you have to figure is more likely than Dunn to agree to it at the very least to re-open contract negotiations. Plus it makes it less likely a team will grab Konerko which makes it less likely that a spot will open up for Dunn. Of course I wouldn't put it past the WhiteSox to bring back Konerko AND sign Dunn.* The Cubs are still in the hunt and he would be a pretty nice fit there too. Not to mention outside of Thome and Ortiz, who both could crash at any moment, and the surprising Luke Scott, Dunn would be a big improvement for every other AL team at DH.
*That seems dumb but Kenny Williams is smarter than you think. If 2/3rds the league are quixotically aiming for the same goal - super good, super cheap teams somewhere 3+ years down the road - that means there is going to always be a nice surplus of good but somewhat older talent available. If you have some cash to play around with you can build a perennial winner from these neglected souls. There's a reason he's GM'd the team to only two losing seasons in 10 years.
If Dunn did go for arbitration they might be able to get him back with whatever 3 year deal they offered him before. Kind of doubt it though. If he only accepts the one-year arbitation the Nats would have around $15 mill invested in Dunn for next season, plus that roster spot at first locked up. It shouldn't matter - the Nats could still spend money and get a pitcher, if not a pitcher and a bat. But, there would be no good reason for Rizzo to go after his BFF Carlos Pena, and 15 million is a lot of money. Maybe there is a cap we haven't heard about and that Carlos Pena bargain Rizzo is expecting is what's allowing him to test the free agent pitcher waters. If that's the case then it would at least create assumed friction between the front office and a fairly popular player. In short, it would be great off-season blogger fodder.
It's not going to happpen, though. Right? Right.