It's become a rite of summer. If a major league team has an available player at the trade deadline, he'll be connected to the Yankees somehow, whether he makes sense for New York or not.
So it comes as no surprise that the Yankees have been connected to just about every available player at this year's trade deadline. They've made known offers for Cliff Lee and Dan Haren and have made inquiries about several other players they view as upgrades.
One player that hasn't been overwhelmingly rumored to be a Yankee target is Washington first baseman Adam Dunn. Aside from a few Buster Olney tweets, Dunn-to-New York rumors have been nearly nonexistent.
Dunn is in the last year of a two-year contract and will be a free agent at year's end. The Nationals have expressed interest in resigning the prodigious slugger, but with less than three days before the trade deadline, they've yet to offer him an extension.
With each day, it looks less and less likely that the Nationals and Dunn will eventually come to terms on an extension. Because of this supposed impasse, it makes sense for Washington to get player value for him now rather than lose him for nothing but draft picks in the offseason.
Dunn's bat would obviously play well in any Major League lineup, but the Yankees have the opening and opportunity to acquire the perennial 40-homer Dunn.
For all intents and purposes, Nick Johnson is gone for the season. In his absence, the Yankees have been using a combination of Juan Miranda and Marcus Thames in the DH spot, occasionally giving their regulars a half-day as the designated hitter.
Thames and Miranda are better suited as bench players at this point in their respective careers, and using Alex Rodriguez or Jorge Posada in the DH role means that Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli are getting more at bats than they should.
Acquiring Adam Dunn would make the league's best offense even more formidable and give the lineup a more consistent look. He's hit 40 home runs in four of the past five seasons, and hasn't hit less than 38 since 2003. He consistently posts high on-base percentages, and when kept out of the field, he becomes even more valuable to his team.
I'm not overly familiar with the Nationals farm system, so I can't accurately assume what type of package they'd want in return for Dunn. Washington GM Mike Rizzo has said that it would take an overwhelming offer to pry Dunn away, but that was before his team fell 15 games back in the National League East.
The Yankees certainly have the pieces to make a deal for Dunn, and GM Brian Cashman has shown a willingness to include just about any prospect in the right deal. Dunn isn't the type of player that would require the Yankees to part ways with uber-prospect Jesus Montero or even his second-fiddle Austin Romine.
The Yankees have a stable full of low-ceiling, high-probability arms sitting in Triple-A and Double-A and could start their offer with a pitcher along the lines of Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister or Hector Noesi.
The Yankees could continue to build a package around one of those pitchers by adding a hitter like someone along the lines of SS Eduardo Nunez (AAA) 3B Brandon Laird (AA) or 2B David Adams (AA), all of whom are enjoying nice seasons for their respective teams.
A package with one of those pitchers, one of those hitters and maybe another low-level prospect or two would be comparable to what Dunn was traded for the last time he found himself on the block.
Many Yankee fans find themselves overly attached to prospects within the farm system, but part of a prospect's value is that he can be used to acquire a player that more readily impacts the major league team.
The Yankees have done a good job in the past five years developing depth at multiple positions so that they can deal for a player like Adam Dunn and not completely decimate the farm system.
Do the Yankees need Adam Dunn? Almost certainly not—they have the majors' highest scoring offense, and that has carried them to the major's best record over the first four months.
But adding a bat of Dunn's caliber to an already potent lineup would undoubtedly add some serious pop and would limit the number of plate appearances that inferior hitters would otherwise see.