Washington’s offer to Bryce Harper at the end of the 2018 campaign and Scott Boras’s pitch to potential suitors for the free agent outfielder this winter have been the big stories in the last twenty-four hours.
According to a report Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty early this morning, however, the Nats have also discussed an extension for another Boras’ client over the last year.
The Nationals, Dougherty wrote, “have ‘made efforts’ to extend [Anthony] Rendon’s contract in the past year.”
Rendon, 28, is coming off a .308/.374/.535, 44 double, 24 home run, 6.3 fWAR campaign in the nation’s capital in which he earned $12.3M after avoiding arbitration last winter.
MLBTraderumors.com’s arbitration projections for 2019 have the 2011 1st Round pick getting a raise to around $17.6M this time around.
Rizzo said on Wednesday, as he has before, that he doesn’t think a Harper deal, expensive as it may be, would keep the Nationals from extending Rendon as well.
“I don’t think they’re contingent on each other, no. I do not,” he told the WaPost reporter.
“He’s one of the guys we’d love to have here long-term. We’re certainly going to make an effort to do that.”
Rendon has previously stated that he would be open to the idea of signing on long-term in Washington.
Reporters asked the infielder last winter if his agent and the Nationals had discussed a long-term extension.
“Maybe,” he said. “I don’t know. That’s up to them. That’s why I hired them. I dropped out of school. That’s why I’ve got them, though. I can focus on just playing and go work out.”
He said he was open to the idea of remaining with the team that drafted him.
“I’ve grown comfortable with you guys, kind of,” he joked with reporters, “but for sure, why not stay with one organization.
“Especially with all the heat that the NBA players are getting as of late for trying to leave, I’m scared to leave.
“But no, for sure, it’s a great organization, and it’s great to see how we’ve changed over the years, so it would be good to stay.”
Rizzo addressed the possibility of extending Rendon publicly when he was asked about the third baseman and shortstop Trea Turner’s futures by 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this past summer, and how a Harper mega deal might affect the plans for the left side of the infield.
Turner is, of course, under team control for the next few seasons (and he’s due a significant raise, as an arbitration-eligible Super Two player, from $577,200 to around $5.3M according to MLBTR’s arbitration projections), but a decision on Rendon will have to come before next October or he too will be testing the free agent market like Harper is right now.
“Rendon we have one year left of control on him,” Rizzo said. “I don’t see one precluding us from doing another. It’s all about asset allocation and how you spend your money and you can’t spend your money better than on those two human beings, and like I always say, when you’re talking these long-term, expensive extensions, I like to talk about signing the person more so than the player, and these two people are as good as it gets.”
Will the Nationals find a way to bring Harper back this winter? Will they extend Rendon at some point before he hits free agency? Who thinks both end up getting signed long-term?