It’s well known that the Nationals hope to work out a long-term deal with third baseman Anthony Rendon before he reaches free agency next winter, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote over the weekend (subscription required) that Rendon and agent Scott Boras have been eyeing something in the vicinity of Jose Altuve’s extension from a year ago. Altuve was already under contract for two years and $12.5MM at the time he signed for an additional five years and $151MM, which brought his current contract to a total of $163.5MM over seven years. The Nats are already just a few million dollars shy of the luxury tax threshold, and bumping Rendon’s annual value from the reported $18.8MM figure to which he agreed on Friday would likely take them over the limit. The Nats have been willing to exceed that threshold for Bryce Harper, however, and perhaps the allure of keeping Rendon from reaching the open market would be incentive enough to do the same. As Rosenthal explores, the two situations are also somewhat related, as fitting both players onto the payroll would come with luxury repercussions — even when factoring in the likely stream of subsequent moves that would follow a new contract for Harper (e.g. trading a current outfielder).
More from the NL East…
- There’s still mutual interest in a contract extension between Jacob deGrom and the Mets, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 2018 NL Cy Young winner agreed to a record-setting arbitration raise on Friday when he inked a $17MM contract for the upcoming season, and Puma notes that there’s a belief that any extension would need to cover at least five seasons at rates roughly commensurate with the annual salaries afforded to Clayton Kershaw ($31MM), David Price ($31MM) and Zack Greinke ($34.4MM). That’s a lofty annual price to pay, of course, though after receiving nearly a $10MM raise in arbitration this time around, deGrom’s price tag could approach that point in his final trip through arbitration next season anyhow. He’s controlled through the 2020 season.
- Other teams have been in touch with the Marlins regarding right-hander Dan Straily throughout the offseason, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro in his latest mailbag column, and it’s possible that Straily could yet be moved before Opening Day. The right-hander agreed to a $5MM salary for the upcoming season on Friday and can be controlled through the 2020 season before reaching free agency. While the 30-year-old Straily was limited to just 122 1/3 innings last season, he’s pitched to a respectable 4.03 ERA over his past 495 1/3 innings at the big league level. Fielding-independent metrics don’t necessarily back that output, but Straily has outperformed his FIP throughout his career and, at the very least, is likely looked upon as a viable back-of-the-rotation option for a team in need of a fourth or fifth starter.
DeGrom is going get massive cash if he continues to pitch like he has for the past 4 seasons. The Mets seem to be looking better on paper for this year and with new leadership at the top they could be a real contender over the next 2 to 3 years.
NL east is turning into the best division in baseball. In terms of parity. Although the NL central is looking pretty exciting as well. C’mon pitchers and catchers day!
Was just thinking this the other day .. except for the Marlins, the whole division is either a big-market (NY, Phila, DC), and/or run very well (Atl).. I think the NL Central has the better teams right now, for sure though .. Mil, StL, and Cubs could all win that division next year and approach 95 wins each, similar to a few years ago when StL, Chi, and Pit all had almost 100 wins
Atlanta is the same size market as Boston.
Miami is a mid-market, not a small market.
I don’t disagree with this, but what determines the size of market (i.e. city’s population, attendance, TV ratings/market share, etc.)?
ATL (#12) beat PHI/NYM and was just behind WSH (#11) in attendance. LA/NYC/SF/STL/CHI make up the top-6 in attendance in 2018.
It’s not about attendance at all. It’s much more about factors not related to the actual baseball product, like tv market size and things like that. ATL and Miami and not considered big market. Philly, for example, is smaller in terms of pure population but considered one of the biggest sports markets, after NY, LA, and comparable to Chicago actually.
Same size media market, sure. But same size baseball market? Not quite.
Therefore Toronto has the largest market?
All of Canada
If thats true how come according to Forbes the Chicago Cubs are the 3rd most valuable team and the Phillies are 9th The Giants and the Dodgers are 2nd and 4th so they are the ones most comparable to the Cubs Actually the Braves at 12 are closer to the Phillies
Miami is not a mid market.
Brave and Phillies are doing good things
nationals are still recovering from Harper possibly leaving
marlins- are the marlins
Mets really didn’t do that much good – Diaz is an upgrade- but the mets have brought in other AL Saves leaders without much good
Cano at 2b is a potential upgrade but the teams was buzzing with McNiel at 2b
Ramos at catcher was a huge upgrade- Will he remain healthy- his legs are beaten up.
As long as the pitchers remain healthy they are an 82+ win team
Miami is a mid market city just not for baseball
5 years is not short term
The Mets are a large market that is financed like a small market. Just sayin.
So Meghan you are saying a sage third place finish for the Mets. Should get enough dumb Mets fans to fill mutt and Jeff’s wallets with cash for another year,
Toss on the original super station revenue from Ted Turner (TBS) as a major cash cow. Granted, Philly and New York have since caught up. Not sure if Washington is affiliated with major television revenue. Attendance may be the least important part of organizational profit versus loss unless a million people are getting drunk on $9.50 beers and eating $8 hot dogs all day. Lol.
Except for ownership. Wagon Wheel’s atm card has been disconnected from any cash.
Michael Yank My doodle, ready for another 2nd place finish in the AL East, with a departure in the wild card? I guess that’s why you love Mets news
Aren’t the Mets set to take the field as the oldest roster in MLB?
They look set to blow it up at the end of this season and do a six+ year dive to the bottom of the division.
“What’s past is prologue” – William Shakespeare
I would assume no. Changes from 2018, when Mets were 12th at 28.9 avg age.
1) David Wright is off the books. He’s 36. Cano is 36. No net effect.
2) Lowrie is 34. Increase avg.
2)JD Davis is 25. Decrease avg.
3) Edwin is 24. Decrease avg.
4) Broxton is 28. Flores is 27. Familia is 29. No net effect.
5) Ramos is 31. Increase avg.
6) Plawecki is 27. Slight increase in avg.
My guess – Trading for very young guys (Edwin & JD Davis) who will be on the 25 man roster will decrease our average age.
Yeah but to be fair your starting players age has increased a lot with Lowrie Cano and Ramos all starting. David Wright is meaningless in this discussion as he hasn’t played in years Broxton probably not a starterJD probably not a starter. Your starting infield and catcher have aged a lot on the other hand your pitching staff is fairly young.
The infield also has Rosario starting, Alonso likely to start soon, McNeil as a frequent sub, Gimenez debuting as soon as this year, Nido available as a young catcher, and several highly rated infield prospects who are 2-3 years down the road. The team is not without young depth, and most of the veterans (Cano excepted) are on short-term contracts.
Pitching staff can’t perform to 2018 numbers. Cano is in regression. If you want to see vintage Cano performance watch Yankee highlights. Otherwise it will be painful.
76 win season about to be served.
Cano played in almost every game he was not suspended for, batted .305, and has played over 150 games in the last 5 years previous while still producing. I get he’s 36, but just because he’s older doesn’t mean he’s regressed. Look at Adrian Beltre. Dude played the hot corner until he was 39 and really didn’t lose too much of a step. His defense is dipping, but still produced a league average DRS.
Why can’t the pitching staff perform again? Syndergaard was out for 3 months, Wheeler didn’t start pitching well until the 2nd half of the year, and Matz was inconsistent all season. You want to say deGrom cant repeat arguably the best pitching season of this era again? That’s fair, but the Mets were 12-18 in his starts anyway! It’s not like you’re subtracting wins if his ERA went back up in to the mid-2’s.
It’s mathmatically impossible to say the Mets will be just as bad this year as they were last year. Bullpen improved, infield depth and top end talent drastically improved, catcher much improved.
The team is not going to the World Series or anything, but a run at the playoffs is not anywhere near crazy to predict.
Good insight. This does seem very familiar for those of us in San Diego… Our rookie GM made very similar moves only to blow the whole thing up the following off-season
“Massive cash” would imply ownership approval (Wilpons). Nothing has changed in that respect – only the scapegoat. Sure, they’ve made some moves, like any team, but I cannot see DeGrom get the massive deal he deserves unless DeGrom’s former agent – and current GM – has already had conversations with ownership about such an expenditure.
Would be ironic to see both former BvW clients (Thor, DeGrom) leave come free agency.
I agree. This is the same ownership that Bernie Madoff with a large chunk of Wilpon’s money, and they also still have Bobby Bonilla on the payroll, 1.2 million every July 1st until 2035. deGrom is the ace of my dynasty league team that won me our league championship last year. I’m not sure Wilpon will pay deGrom that much.
Stop with the Bernie madoff annual excuse. That was ten years ago.
Dump the cheap coupons.
Boycott the bums
I don’t see the Mets contending with this team next year. Maybe its just me.
It’s just you. If they can win mid-80’s, that makes them a contending team.
It’s me too. Sure, they look better than last year but that’s not saying much.
Since the All-Star break…the Mets were only 1 game worse than the Yankees. They literally lost the entire season in the month of June. They have definitely improved in the off-season, though they need one more starter (e.g. Buchholz) and one more BP arm (e.g. Warren).
I think teams should be charged a lesser value against the tax threshold for homegrown players so there is some reward for growing your own prospects and the player could get paid more on an early extension without feeling the need for free agency. I feel it could help both sides
This would promote tanking even more, no? Maybe add a “floor” spending cap?
I like that idea. There’s nothing worse than developing a star player and feeling the impending doom of them leaving for free agency.
It’s an interesting idea, but since a comparatively few teams near or exceed the CBT level, wouldn’t you just be advantaging the uber-rich teams who are going to do everything they can to re-sign the Mookie’s, and Gleybers, Kershaws, etc?
But that could just lead to players demanding more money form their current team because they know they count less towards the luxury tax. It would end up being the opposite of a hometown discount.
By that logic players would be demanding more money from teams that are below the cap than they are teams above.
The player doesn’t (and shouldn’t) care what his contract costs the team, he cares how much he gets.
My point is that it would allow a player to have more leverage when negotiating with their current team. Say the current team only takes an 80% payroll hit if they resign players (player makes $20m but counts for $16m). The player could have an offer for 5yrs/$100m from an outside team, but demand 5yrs/$120m from his current team because they are about the same payroll hit. The home team may gain an advantage against other teams to make it easier to resign their players, but it will cost them more money. It’s not a terrible idea, I just don’t think the owners would go for it.
The player can demand it, but why would the team pay it?
Look at it this way- Boston was over luxury tax last year and will again this year, so they will pay at least 30% on the overage.
If Kimbrel comes down to two teams, the Red Sox and another, non luxury tax paying team, is he really going to demand the other team has to pay him 30% more than Boston because that’s what it is costing Boston?
If you are looking to hire a contractor, do you care what tax bracket he is in? Do you feel obliged to pay more to the guy who is paying a higher tax rate so that if events out?
Absolutely. It’s so rare for a player to stay with one team throughout a career, and guys like that are like revered gods when they walk back into the stadium years after retirement. (Ripken, Jeter, Brett, and so on). The baseball purist in me really misses that.
A couple of things:
– Players would then know that the Team is paying less tax, and use that as leverage to get a bigger contract. They’re not going to give away that leverage for nothing.
– The MLBPA would almost certainly argue against it, as it’s financial relief for ownership without player benefit, and is aimed at ensuring less players hit true free agency – particularly concerning considering one of the biggest issues the MLBPA faces right now, is overhauling the pre-arb and arb systems (which they will struggle to do as they blew their last CBA talks).
Asking the MLBPA to support tax cuts for the owners, and less players leveraging free agency for more $, is like asking God for the lottery numbers – ain’t happening.
The players would agree to abolish the luxury tax tomorrow.
The Nats need to move on from Harper. Rendon will provide more value than Harper on a per dollar basis. They need to get that deal done. Also, if the Lerners want to spend ‘stupid money’ they should spend it on Mike Trout.
Trout isnt a free agent until after the 2020 season. Quite a bit of time between now and then….although the Nats have limited payroll flexibility between now and then as well.
And the Nationals do all this without a TV contract.
with disputed TV Contract $ tied up in litigation
Thanks to that jack-ass in Baltimore!!
The Nats have a viable contender without re-signing Harper. Rendon, while not having the media hype Harper does, is an elite type player at a much more important position. The Nats have, at this time, 10 players that will be arb eligible after the 2019 season. A few of those will either be non-tendered or traded, but that will still leave 6 or 7 that will get raises through the process. It would be foolish for anyone to expect both Harper and Rendon will remain with the team. I’d pick Rendon over Harper.
Nailed it. As a Braves fan, I have enjoyed watching Rendon play over the years, often times at the expense of my Braves. But give credit where it’s due. If I’m a GM, I’m taking Rendon over Harper all day.
Exactly, but don’t discount that Rendon plays more of a premium position than Harper, as evidenced by Soto already replacing Harper at 19 y/o. Rendon wouldn’t need a record-setting deal and provides that lineup consistency that Ryan Zimmerman once did when they extended him.
They have Rendon locked up through 2020 though. He’ll be turning 31 in June of the first year of his new contract. Harper turns 31 in October of what will be the 5th year of his deal. It’s a lot more complicated than how you all are making it out to be. Harper is 2+ years younger and is already a Free Agent. We’re not discussing both of them being free agents right now and which would you want to sign. It’s more about do you want Rendon for the next 2 years and then letting someone else sign him for age 31-36, or do you want to sign Harper for age 26-36 to play alongside Rendon? I’m not advocating signing Harper, I just wanted to point this out
Rendon is on his final year of arb. He signed a contract for $18.8MM recently. He is not locked up through 2020. The Nats will likely try and open serious negotiations with Rendon before ST starts. As i stated above, the Nats have 10 arb cases after the 2019 season. That is a lot of arb decisions, of which, i’m sure, some will be non-tendered or traded before going to arb. Some, like Turner, might sign an early extension to cover his remaining arb years and possibly more.
The fact remains, signing Harper to a 10 year $300+ MM contract and also Rendon at say, a 6 year $140+ MM contract is unrealistic along with the many arb cases.
You are correct. I misunderstood Baseball Reference when I saw it said that “Earliest Free Agent 2020”. I appreciate the correction
Tough choice between Harper and Rendon. In terms of play on the field, they are both elite. But to the owner, Harper puts butts in seats; Rendon doesn’t..
If I had to choose one; it would be Rendon. But the Nats don’t have to choose one. This is a unique situation vis-a-vis going over the tax. If you assume (billionaire and 93 year old) Ted Lerner doesn’t care that much about the $s penalty, you have to look at the other penalties: poorer draft compensation for a FA with a QO you sign; worse draft compensation for a FA with a QO you lose; $1M in international bonus dollars.
If the Nats sign both Rendon and Harper, they have no FAs that would even be considered for a QO until 2022. And what FAs with a QO would they need to sign in the next couple of years.
They’d also have the highest payroll in MLB for the next 5 years and pay taxes out the a$$ and lose draft positions because of penalties. Other than that it’s all good.
9The Mets need to extend deGrom and
deGrom 5yr/$152mil (through age 35 season)
Syndergaard 4yr/$122mil (age 33 season)
Wheeler is a free agent after this season. While I’d love of we could keep him…im not sure with the need to lock up deGrom and Syndergaard, I’m not sure it’s possible
If he has a full season like last season, Zach will certainly cash in.
Say 16-8 2.65era 210ip 45bb 228k’s 1.12whip
If you look at his 2nd half numbers, he outperformed deGrom…and deGrom had a historic season. Wheeler has said he loves NY and would love to finish his career here…and if Mets don’t get him…i’d bet the farm that the Yankees do.
He will sign a 4yr/$78mil if he stays in Queens (sort of a hometown discount)
But if the Yankees sign him…i see a
I always liked Wheeler….it took a little bit to reach that potential…but he got there and will hopefully cash in.
why would the Mets give Syndergaard a contract of $30MM per season. He can’t stay on the field and he’s affordable. The whole point of early extensions is to get value contracts, not pay free agent market rates for controllable players.
I would run away from signing Harper for 10yrs. Besides the fact he hit sub 250ba 2of the last 3yrs, he’s also got a lot of wear and tear on that young body, and never won much on a really good Washington club, plus is very streaky. He’s very good, but I totally understand why people aren’t giving him his wanted contract so quickly. Honestly feel there is a ton of risk going 10yrs for him. He’s only hit 30homers twice in 7 seasons and only one 100ribby season, and to hit sub 250ba in ur contract yr isnt exactly a great thing.lol Lucky for him he walks a lot and has pop. I can think of quite a few players id take over Harper to be honest.
Harper plays hard every day. Problem is, he had a lot of moving parts in his swing and s good pitching coach will exploit those when he gets out of whack. When he is on, walk him. When he is not, he’s terrible. His swing mechanics will not adapt well as he ages.
In terms of market size, the Philadelphia metropolitan market reach is technically considered to be fourth in the nation.
The value of the franchise is relatively low because of how poorly it has been run over its history. Inefficiency hurts profits and value. That being said, if this FO keeps pushing it in the right direction, the Forbes ranking could soar.
I’m a huge Nats fan, and if I had to pick between Harper and Rendon, I’m going with Tony Two Bags hands down. He is way more consistent than Harper and plays near-Gold Glove defense at a premium position. When you factor in the lower salary, Rendon is a much better value. Yes, Harper might help put more butts in seats, and sell a few more jerseys (though you still see just as many Scherzer, Strasburg and Rendon jerseys in the stands), but the mega deal they keep talking about for Harper would limit Rizzo’s ability to build a competitive roster. Harper just isn’t consistent enough. Rendon is.
I have to agree with you on this one Papa. I still think Harper hes upside, especially if he gets back to using the whole field at the plate. But push comes to shove… Tony takes my vote
I’m one that believes most athletes are over paid, clueless, entitled spoiled brats, but having watched deGrom pitch since aaa, give him the bank. I’m not even talking about performance on the field. What he brings to “the office” every day is amazing. He works hard, focuses on his responsibilities, positive influence on every one around him, and just lives his baseball career daily as though each one is a gift. Maybe having that Tommy John surgery in college gave him a different perspective than other players, but he brings preparation, effort and focus to his job every day and never throws his team under the bus. Respect.
Am I missing something? Per the link the Nats are $21.2MM away from hitting the luxury tax, not a “few million dollars”. You use AAV not the current year lol…
Surprised an MLBTR writer would whiff on that
The Nationals biggest problem last year was the rotation. They still have Scherzer and Strasburg at the top of the roto, but they’ve replaced Gio with Corbin (huge upgrade), replaced Roark with Sanchez (also and upgrade) and have Ross returning from TJ to replace Hellickson (potential upgrade).
The lineup, even without Harper, is also deeper. Basically Murphy didn’t play (56 games before trade) so they’ve replaced Difo with Dozier. They had the worst offensive production in the league from the Catcher’s position. They added to solid hitting backstops with Gomes and Suzuki. 2019 could also be the first time they could get a full season with a healthy (knock on wood) Adam Eaton. Add in a full season of Soto and the debut of Victor Robles. If Harper doesn’t return, they will miss his HRs, but they should have a higher team BA and even more speed (Turner, Robles, Eaton).
The bullpen is deeper with the additions of Barraclough and Rosenthal. Suero has a solid debut last season. Miller was solid, while being over-used. Doolittle was great until his injury. If Koda Glover can ever stay healthy, he’s got the stuff to contribute. IMO, the missing piece is a lefty specialist. Grace isn’t that type of pitcher (long relief is his spot) and Solis should be selling cars.
The bench is solid with Adams, Kendrick, Suzuki, Difo and Taylor.
Every team in the division has improved, except the Marlins, so it should be an interesting season.