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Washington Nationals Rumors: Anthony Rendon and deferrals; meeting with Rangers + Stephen Strasburg chatter

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There was finally some more chatter about Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg last night.

Washington Nationals Victory Parade Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In his initial reporting on what was said to be a 7-year/$210-$215M contract offer to Anthony Rendon, Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga wrote that the initial offer, made in early September, differed, “... vastly from the 10-year, $300 million offer the Nationals made last September to outfielder Bryce Harper,” which, “... included about $100 million in deferred salary, with the final payment coming in 2052.”

According to Svrluga’s reporting, the, “... offer to Rendon, in contrast, is structured similarly to the seven-year, $210 million deal the Nationals gave to pitcher Max Scherzer in 2015.”

“The deferrals, according to these people, are to be paid off within the seven years after the contract expires.”

Rendon, 29, put up a .319/.412/.598 line with 44 doubles, 34 homers, 117 runs scored, 126 RBIs, and 154 wRC+ in 146 games and 646 plate appearances this season, finishing with a .969 fld%, (which was tied for fifth among qualified NL third basemen), +2 Defensive Runs Saved, (which were the sixth-most in the NL), and a +2.0 Ultimate Zone Rating, (which was fifth best), and he ended the year with a strong postseason run which saw him put up a .328/.413/.590 line, seven doubles, and three home runs in 17 games on the way to a World Series win.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday morning that while Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg both accepted significant deferrals in their contracts with the Nationals, it seems, “Rendon was less keen on proceeding with such a structure, some with the club say.”

“Players generally look at the totality of a deal, focusing on its present-day value. Deferrals lower the present-day value, and some players want their money sooner rather than later, reasoning they should get the chance to invest it, not the club.”

As multiple writers have noted over recent weeks, Rosenthal wrote that the, “Nats remain more confident of re-signing Strasburg than Rendon,” after Strasburg opted out of the four years and $100M that remained on the 7-year/$175M extension he signed with the team in 2016.

MLBTraderumors.com’s free agent prediction for Rendon has the free agent getting a contract in the neighborhood of a 7-year/$235M deal on the market this winter.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote in early October that he was hearing, “... some friends of Rendon believe that he’s more interested in a shorter-term deal -- perhaps a higher salary for a four- or five-year contract -- because he might not be devoted to the idea of playing for as long as he possibly can.”

Rendon played into some of that speculation when he talked to reporters during the World Series about what he was seeing from teammate Howie Kendrick, 36, who was the NLCS MVP, and hit all year, both in the regular season and playoffs.

Asked where he saw himself at 36, Rendon said, “hopefully not playing baseball. Probably sitting on the couch hanging out with my kids.”

How serious a statement was that?

With Rendon, it’s always kind of hard to tell.

Dallas Morning News’ writer Evan Grant wrote last night about the Rangers reportedly meeting with the Houston, TX-born and raised Rendon in Houston over the weekend.

“While no contract offer was made, according to the sources, the Rangers were there to make a presentation indicating their interest in the top position player on the free agent market.”

Meanwhile, Rosenthal reported at The Athletic last night that sources said New York’s Yankees will meet with Strasburg in the next two days.

New York’s AL club isn’t the only interested party, of course. San Diego’s Padres are reportedly a suitor, though, Rosenthal writes, “... many in the industry believe he will return to the Nationals.”

Rosenthal reiterated again what others have written about the Nats thinking they have a better shot of signing Strasburg, and added that after the reports of Rendon’s meeting with the Rangers, “[GM Mike] Rizzo might wait only so long, knowing Josh Donaldson is the only other impact third baseman on the free-agent market.”