The Washington Nationals placed slugger Adam Dunn on waivers on Tuesday afternoon, as part of the standard procedure that involves almost all players this time of the baseball season, according to sources. But Dunn is expected to generate a lot of interest from other teams, and if he is going to be traded -- which seems unlikely at this point -- it will happen in the immediate future.
Other clubs have 48 hours to place a waiver claim on Dunn, who is working on his seventh consecutive season of 38 or more homers, with all National League teams having the first shot at putting in a claim on the slugger.
The wide expectation among some executives is that an NL team like the Colorado Rockies or San Francisco Giants will be awarded a claim on Dunn, and that the AL teams that had serious interest in Dunn before the July 31 trade deadline -- the Chicago White Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees -- will never have an opportunity to acquire Dunn.
If an NL team places a claim on Dunn, as expected, then the Nationals would have three options: Let Dunn go to that team without extracting any trade pieces, trade Dunn to the team awarded the claim, or pull Dunn back and have the slugger finish the season with Washington.
Teams that spoke with the Nationals about Dunn before the trade deadline said Washington's asking price was very high, and given that Washington's trade leverage will only be diminished by the fact that it can only negotiate with one team, it's unlikely -- but not impossible -- that the Nationals can get an offer they find satisfactory.
The Nationals have made it clear they would like to re-sign Dunn, who is eligible for free agency after this season and is expected to draw interest from many of the same teams that tried to trade for him this summer.
In August, teams attempt to pass most or all of their players through waivers, so the fact that Dunn was placed on waivers is not unusual.
Buster Olney is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine.