During spring training Adam Dunn made it clear that he wants to remain with the Nationals long term, but he recently admitted that there’s “nothing going on” with contract extension negotiations.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that the two sides “are seemingly at a momentary standstill” while “Dunn still believes a deal could be struck before the end of the season.”
Complicating matters is that Dunn is off to a 7-for-43 (.163) start with just one homer through 14 games, which will inevitably lead to fans and media members questioning whether the contract situation is hurting his performance. Dunn isn’t having any of that:
That’s not why I’m not hitting the ball like I’m not supposed to, I promise you. I don’t control that. That’s out of my hands. I can only control one thing. I’m not going worry about [stuff] that I can’t control. It’s probably No. 50 on my list of things to worry about right now. I’m not worried about that at all.
Incidentally, if negotiating a contract extension that would no doubt be in excess of $20 million is truly 50th on Dunn’s “list of things to worry about” then he sure does have a ton of important stuff to worry about. I suppose earning $50 million by age 30 will do that to a person.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.