Riggleman believes Dunn will be back in '11

Riggleman believes Dunn will be back in '11

NEW YORK -- Manager Jim Riggleman said he doesn't believe that Sunday will be Adam Dunn's last game in a Nationals uniform. Dunn will become a free agent after the World Series comes to an end.

Riggleman compared Dunn's two years in Washington to that of Frank Howard's time in Washington when he was with the Senators in the 1960s and early '70s. In his two years with the Nationals, Dunn hit 76 home runs and drove in 208 runs.

"I think Adam Dunn in two years is what Frank Howard did in his seven years in Washington," Riggleman said. "Dunn is that guy that comes to the plate and might hit one out at anytime. There is a great excitement that comes along with that. It spurs interest, it wins ballgames.

"He plays almost every game. He's a 150- to 162-game guy. It's hard to find those guys. He comes out there ready to play every day. We understand that Adam Dunn is going to strike out, but we knew Frank Howard was going to strikeout. Now, it's in other people's hands. It's not necessarily going to be in Adam's hands. It's going to be in the agent's hands -- Mike Rizzo and the Lerners' hands. Whatever the decision it's going to be in the long run, it's the best for the Nationals."

There is still a debate in the front office on whether to give Dunn an extension. There are some in the front office who would like to see him walk because of his below-average defense, enormous amount of strikeouts and lack of leadership. In fact some people consider Ian Desmond the leader of the Nationals.

There are others who want Dunn to stay because of his production at the plate. Finding someone who has Dunn's power will be hard to find.

One thing is certain, Dunn is not getting a four-year deal from the Nationals. If he gets a three-year deal, it has to be in the Nationals' favor.

As for Dunn, he is not thinking about Sunday being his last game.

"I don't have any feelings. I'm not looking at it that way," Dunn said. "I'm looking at it as the last home game of the season, just like I treat every one of them."