While Bryce Harper potentially hitting free agency next winter figures to be the big story (we all want to avoid) in 2018, there are plenty of other Nationals who will be free agents after this season.
USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale wrote yesterday that, “... this is likely the last year Bryce Harper wears a Nationals uniform before he departs for the greatest riches in baseball history,” and Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez could become free agents next winter as well, if not extended by Washington beforehand, but “... perhaps, most scary for the Nationals,” the reporter added, is the fact that this could, potentially, be the, “... last year with their architect, Mike Rizzo, president of baseball operations and general manager, still in office.”
Rizzo is set to become a free agent as well, if not extended before the end of next October.
“Mike’s contract will be addressed in the normal course of business as we have done in the past,” Nationals vice chairman and principal owner Mark Lerner told Nightengale, in “a written statement to USA TODAY Sports.”
Will the Nationals’ ownership group wait until the 2018 campaign is over to work out a new deal with their GM?
Rizzo, for his part, told Nightengale he was proud of what he and the Nationals have accomplished, though they haven’t yet reached their goal of bringing a World Series championship to the nation’s capital.
“it’s really unsung and under-appreciated,” Rizzo told the USA Today reporter of the success they have enjoyed.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.”
Will the Lerners, Nightengale asks, pay Rizzo like some of the other General Managers around the game and give him something close to the 5-year/$50M Theo Epstein got from the Cubs, or closer to the 5-year/$25M deal Brian Cashman has with the Yankees?
If Rizzo’s going to stay in D.C. beyond 2018, the Nationals will likely have to land in that neighborhood. Will they get it done?
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