Anthony Rendon finished the 2019 campaign with a .319/.412/.598 line, (career highs in all three stats), while tying his previous career-high in doubles (set in 2018) with 44 total, and setting a new career-high in home runs with 34, with a career-best 126 runs driven in, and his 117 runs scored a career high as well, in a career-best 7.0 fWAR season.
Not bad. But was it an MVP-worthy season?
“Look at what he’s done,” Rendon’s manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters after the third baseman went 1 for 4 with a double, a run scored, and a walk in his final game of the year, (leaving him with 80 walks vs 86 Ks in 646 plate appearances on the season).
“What this guy has meant to this team, this organization, to this city,” Martinez continued, “it’s incredible. So I really believe his on-the-field play deserves an opportunity to win the MVP.”
Whatever accolades he receives for his work this season, Rendon has an impressive resume as he potentially heads into free agency this winter, though according to a report tonight in The Washington Post, the Nationals have made their 2011 1st Round pick an offer in a late-in-the-game attempt to lock the 29-year-old infielder up before he tests the market this winter.
Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, citing “... multiple people with knowledge of the proposal,” reported tonight that the Nationals, “offered third baseman Anthony Rendon a seven-year contract in the range of $210 million-$215 million,” in early September, though that offer, “... is not expected to keep Rendon from exploring his value on the free-agent market this offseason.”
“Two people with knowledge of the negotiations” told the WaPost reporter that the offer to Rendon was, “... structured similarly to the seven-year, $210-million deal the Nationals gave to pitcher Max Scherzer prior to the 2015 season,” with the deferrals included in the offer to Rendon, “to be paid off within the seven years after the contract expires.”
Some back-of-the-envelope math:— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) September 30, 2019
If Nats offer Rendon $210 million over seven years with $110 million due over the first seven years and $100 due over the next seven it’s as if they offered him a deal valued at ~$170 million in today’s dollars.
Svrluga, however, in suggesting that Rendon is still expected to go to free agency when the season ends, mentioned some comments in an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Grant and Danny in July in which the seven-year veteran seemed to explain why signing now didn’t make much sense.
“I mean, if you’re giving me the opportunity, and saying I’m this close from going to go car shopping, from multiple lots, instead of staying in one lot, I mean, what would you do?” he asked rhetorically.
“I mean, the opportunity has been there for five, six years now,” Rendon added.
“And, still open to it, still all ears, but the closer we get to that opportunity, it makes more sense as a player to think about my family and all these other variables that come into play. Why not look forward to it?”
“People familiar with Rendon’s thinking,” told the WaPost reporter Rendon, “has indicated to ownership that he feels he has earned the right to free agency.”
He did also say at one point that there was a number that, if it was on the table, would get a deal done.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. I think there is a number,” Rendon told Grant and Danny in that interview.
“And we’ve discussed that, and there’s also some contingencies into the contract that need to happen. And they know what that is, and we’ve expressed our concerns on what those things are, and if they can make that happen, then I think they’ll be good to go.”
Is that still the case? Is there a number they can hit that will lead Rendon to sign and forego the free agent process even now?