Nationals superstar Anthony Rendon is slated to enter a contract year in 2019, but he told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters Sunday that he’s “up for” signing an extension. The third baseman revealed that he and the Nats have been discussing an extension for a year, adding that while he hopes to remain in Washington, he’d be content to enter next season without a new contract. The 28-year-old Rendon continued to make a case for a mega-deal in 2018, as he finished top 10 in both position player fWAR (eighth) and wRC+ (10th).
Here’s more from Washington and one of its division rivals:
- The Mets are hesitant to go after ex-Nat Wilson Ramos, one of the top two free-agent catchers available, because of concerns over his defense and injury issues, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. New York’s “prioritizing” behind-the-plate defense and putting an extra emphasis on pitch framing, Puma adds. Baseball Prospectus has typically awarded Ramos positive pitch-framing and defense marks, though going by its Fielding Runs Above Average metric, he has been a scratch or minus defender for three straight seasons. Ramos has also torn his right ACL twice, including in 2016, which limited him to 64 games in 2017 as he worked his way back. However, Ramos did catch 96 games last season – 92 more than oft-injured Mets backstop Travis d’Arnaud, whom they tendered a contract Friday. Of course, Ramos is sure to require a pricey multiyear commitment, whereas d’Arnaud’s essentially set to play under a one-year deal worth a projected $3.7M.
- Keith Law of ESPN (subscription link) applauds Washington’s acquisition of catcher Yan Gomes from Cleveland, writing that the Nationals made a sizable improvement behind the plate without surrendering much. Having Gomes instead of 2018 starter Matt Wieters as their primary catcher could mean at least a four-win upgrade next year, Law posits. Law goes on to assess outfielder Daniel Johnson and right-hander Jefry Rodriguez – whom the Indians received for Gomes – in detail, noting that the former just endured a disappointing, injury-shortened season and the latter may only max out as a righty specialist in the majors. But Law explains that there’s hope for Indians catcher Eric Haase, who may succeed Gomes as their main backstop.
- Between Gomes and free-agent signing Kurt Suzuki, the Nationals have made a pair of noteworthy additions at catcher in the past couple weeks. Although, as Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post notes, it’s not yet clear how the Nats will divvy up playing time between the two next season. GM Mike Rizzo suggested Saturday that he’d leave it up to manager Dave Martinez, who declared that “they’re both going to split time.” Rizzo added that Suzuki could see action at first base, where he has never appeared in a major league game. Regardless, Suzuki’s “totally on board” with the Gomes pickup, per Rizzo.