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11/23/10 12:54 PM EST

Nats offer arbitration to free agent Dunn

Team would get two extra Draft picks if slugger signs elsewhere

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have offered first baseman Adam Dunn arbitration, according to a baseball source. Washington had until midnight ET on Wednesday to make the offer.

The move means Dunn could accept the arbitration or continue to look for a deal elsewhere. If he accepts arbitration, Dunn will be off the free-agent market and be back with Washington for the 2011 season. If Dunn, a Type A free agent, signs with another team, the Nationals will get two additional picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Dunn and general manager Mike Rizzo were not available for comment.

Dunn has made it known for months that he would like a four-year contract, but sources have indicated that the Nationals will not give Dunn that kind of deal. Washington has a three-year offer on the table, but Dunn and his agent, Greg Genske, have yet to respond.

Baseball people in the Nationals' organization are split on whether to give Dunn an extension. Some are saying he is worth signing because of the offense he brings to the table. Others have focused on his below-average defense and his high amount of strikeouts (199).

Dunn is coming off one of his better seasons at the plate, hitting .260 with 38 home runs and 103 RBIs in 2010.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.