After getting much of their business done early in the offseason, an extension for Anthony Rendon should be high on the Washington Nationals wishlist.
While a video game trolls the whole of Philadelphia over Bryce Harper, many Washington Nationals fan clamor for an Anthony Rendon extension. Unfortunately, in the latest of what is a recurring theme for much of this offseason, there’s still a bit more waiting to do on that front.
The Nats have been determined to get their third baseman locked up for the foreseeable future ever since the 2018 season ended. He’s been one of the most underrated players in the league, slashing .285/.361/.469 in his career with 102 home runs, 420 RBI while playing stellar defense at the hot corner.
That’s exactly why a long-term extension should be one of the remaining priorities for the team this offseason. While the team’s desire to get it done hasn’t changed, it looks as though there are still some obstacles that need to be negotiated before Rendon can sign on the dotted line.
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Rendon and the Nationals have already settled on a one-year, $18.8 million contract for the upcoming season for his final year of arbitration. As Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post has previously noted, this likely means that the two sides aren’t yet close on a long-term deal for Rendon.
With the Harper sweepstakes still far from resolved, that’s probably going to take precedence for now for the Nationals as well as Rendon’s agent, the notorious Scott Boras. That’s the elephant in the room between the two sides right now. It makes sense to wait financially to see what the Nats will be working with payroll wise for future seasons if they did land the superstar outfielder.
On the other hand, if the Nationals were to then miss out on signing Harper, they would immediately become even more motivated to make sure they don’t lose their other homegrown star. They simply can’t afford to have both depart via free agency.
Recent rumors have suggested that the infielder is looking for something in the region of Jose Altuve‘s seven-year, $163.5 million deal. When that report came out, it seemed like several Nats fans were scrambling for a pen for him to sign it immediately. Perhaps if Harper leaves, the Nationals would be ready to pony up that contract, that carries a little over $23 million average annual value.
Now, from a luxury tax standpoint, extending Anthony Rendon actually won’t affect the team’s 2019 tax figure. They could simply sign him to an extension that kicks in once the 2019 season is over and then his higher tax figure would begin to count in 2020.
Even though it was during the season rather than before it, the Nats did the exact same thing with Stephen Strasburg when he signed his seven-year, $175 million deal in 2016. Before the season, he and the Nats settled on a $10.4 million deal before the season and then the new $25 million annual average started to count against the luxury tax the following season.
Anthony Rendon deserves to be a big part of the future of the Washington Nationals after his excellent career so far. It’s just going to take a little more time than many fans would like before we get a resolution on his future with the team.