As the trade deadline approaches, it is becoming apparent that Adam Dunn has a better chance to be traded by July 31st then to remain a long-term part of the Washington Nationals.


Rumors abound that Dunn is perturbed at the Nationals’ perceived lack of urgency in getting a contract extension completed . 


Also, during the second inning of Saturday’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers went upstairs and had an on-air visit with Brewers’ radio man Bob Uecker.  


Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman told reporters that he didn’t want to hear about it, and Dunn said on Monday that “I could care less if I get in trouble for going up and seeing my guy after he had heart surgery. I’ll pay my fine.”


It doesn’t sound like things are too copacetic between the team and the first baseman, at least for the moment.


Okay, so the chances of Dunn resigning with the Nationals seem unlikely, leaving the team with two options. They can either trade him between now and Saturday, or allow him to leave this winter as a free agent and get two additional draft pick in next summer’s amateur draft.


But really, the Nationals can’t afford to let their highest profile hitter walk away,  and get back a couple of players who may—or may not—turn into major league players in, oh, I don’t know, four or five years.


No, they need player(s) who can make an immediate contribution.


But is Edwin Jackson that player?


General Manager Mike Rizzo has made it clear for some time that he is a fan of the 27-year-old Jackson, and rumors have swirled on Monday that a three-way trade involving the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Nationals could bring Jackson to Washington in exchange for Dunn.


It is difficult to determine what a premier slugger is worth in exchange for two months of playing time. The Rangers gave up four minor leaguers to get Cliff Lee for two months, so you would think that Dunn would have similar value.


Teams however, are unwilling these days to trade away their best prospects for a rental hitter. If the rumors are to be believed, Dunn’s value is a couple of good—but not great—minor leaguers.


So is a Dunn for Jackson swap a good deal for the Nationals?


Jackson was a sixth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2001 and since 2006 has spent time with the Dodgers, Tampa Bay, Detroit and the Diamondbacks.


His first season as a full-time starter—with Tampa in 2007—was a disaster as Jackson went 5-15, 5.76. He blossomed the next season though, going 14-11, 4.42. He was at his best in 2009 with the Tigers, garnering a record of 13-9, 3.62.


His numbers with Arizona this season haven’t been as good (6-9, 5.01) but his internal numbers match his career marks (9.3/4.0/7.0) so his difficult year may be the product of playing with a bad team, or a run of bad luck, or both.


Jackson has a 95 mph fastball along with a good slider and change. His fastball, though, doesn’t have particularly good movement at times, leading to a higher-than-normal ERA for a pitcher of his caliber. He also walks too many batters.


But he’s just 27 and would be an excellent addition to the Nationals’ growing-by-the-day pitching staff.


Come 2011, the Nationals’ rotation could include Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Jackson, Cuban defector Yuneski Maya and Jason Marquis, with Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Ross Detwiler all fighting to gain a rotation spot as well.


Pretty good, I’d say.


Reports this afternoon suggest that a possible trade for Edwin Jackson would send prospects, and not Adam Dunn, to Arizona.


We’ll know in a few days, but regardless, starting pitching won’t be one of the Nationals’ problems next season.

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