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Adam Dunn and the Nationals Begin Contract Extension Talks

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Given how great this past week has been for the Nationals, this development seems to be yet another step in the right direction:

While he is not close to an extension, first baseman Adam Dunn said the Nationals and his agent, Greg Genske, talked while the team was in Houston playing a four-game series against the Astros last week.

According to Dunn, the talks were cordial, but both sides didn't bring up dollar figures. Dunn reiterated that he wants to stay in Washington, where he has become a popular figure because of his power and patience at the plate. Entering Wednesday's action, Dunn was hitting .280 with 11 home runs, 30 RBIs and 30 walks. He added his 12th homer with a two-run shot in the first inning.

"The Nationals know how I feel about this place. I hope that something can be worked out," Dunn said. "Again, I'm not in any hurry. It's probably No. 10 on my list of things to worry about."

Lost in the Stephen Strasburg shuffle comes this: the Nationals are actually playing some good baseball. As of this morning, the Nationals are only two games under .500 and shit a respectable five games back of the first place Braves. Dunn got off to a slow start this season, but his presence in the middle of the lineup has vaulted the Nationals' offense from one of the worst in baseball two years ago to a very respectable level in the National League. With Dunn hitting behind him, Ryan Zimmerman has developed into one of the premier offensive players in the National League and is currently putting together a phenomenal season.

I have said time and time again that while the Nationals love Dunn's offensive ability, Dunn's defense would ultimately determine if the Nationals would give him a contract extension. And while Dunn will never be confused with John Olerud at first, his -2.7 UZR is something that the Nationals can live with as long as Dunn continues to rake.