The Nationals have held ongoing contract talks with third baseman Anthony Rendon, with optimism at times of reaching a long-term deal. But Rendon says he rejected an offer in late February (around the time that Nolan Arenado signed his new deal with the Rockies) and that talks have “kind of come to a halt lately,” as Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington reports.
It’s not known what the Nats dangled to Rendon when last the sides spoke in earnest. But the number “wasn’t to where we thought we should be,” per the 28-year-old.
While it seems that chatter hasn’t picked back up since, there’s still an opening to a possible deal. Rendon says that the Nationals told him “we’re going to continue to talk.” And it seems that he’s still open to working something out. But it’s now more clear than ever that Rendon will be demanding full market value for his future services and that he’s plenty willing instead to play out the 2019 season and hit the open market.
As Rendon put it: “If [an extension] happens, it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
Even as the sides have batted around scenarios, other teams and players have lined up on deals. Several third-base price points have hit the books, in fact. It’s hard to draw much from the deal reached yesterday between the Astros and pre-arbitration infield Alex Bregman, but Manny Machado’s free-agent contract with the Padres (ten years, $300MM) and Nolan Arenado’s extension with the Rockies (seven years, $234MM) are plenty relevant.
While Rendon is older than both Machado and Arenado, he’s less than a year senior to the latter. Even if Rendon would need to take a shorter pact, the average annual values of those contracts — $30MM and $33.4MM, respectively — seem within reason for the long-time Nationals infielder. Both of his contemporaries are more visible players, to be sure, but Rendon has edged them both in fWAR over the past three seasons.
Prior indications were that Rendon sought a contract of the sort previously agreed to between Jose Altuve and the Astros (five years, $151MM). Whether that is in fact his asking price, and if so how close the Nats will come to reaching it, remains to be seen.