While quiet Nationals star Anthony Rendon elected not to participate in this year’s All-Star festivities — somehow the first time he has been selected — his less-than-taciturn agent was on hand and willing to discuss Rendon’s contract situation. As Todd Dybas of NBC Sports reports, Scott Boras certainly did not sound like a man who was close to wrapping up a contract for his client.
Engagement between the Nats and Rendon/Boras has seemingly been sporadic. There was an apparent uptick in activity recently, with Boras present in D.C. and reports indicating that the sides were negotiating in earnest. But the super-agent doused that flame, explaining: “I go to a lot of ballparks. It doesn’t mean we’re investing into anything that’s relevant to contract terms.”
Boras was content to press the obvious leverage he has gained over recent months. The mammoth Nolan Arenado extension removed a major market competitor and set a big price for top third-base talent before the season, with the surprisingly light Xander Bogaerts contract providing only a meager counterweight in terms of precedent. Rendon has since ramped up his already sterling resume to the point that Boras now has trouble embellishing. (Not that he wasn’t willing to dabble, labeling Rendon a “superstar” and at least hinting at a partial comparison to the peerless Mike Trout.)
A few choice quotes hint at Boras’s stance vis-a-vis a Nationals organization he has dealt with frequently:
- “I think [Rendon’s] focused on the season.”
- “I don’t know what their diagnostics are, but we’ll see as we approach the offseason.”
- “It’s really in their corner as to how we go from there.”
- “Ted and the Lerner family, and the organization, we’ve always worked out things — usually.” (an under-the-radar, instant Boras classic)
The takeaway is clear, if already obvious to the familiar Nats: Rendon’s camp is in the driver’s seat and in no rush to make a deal. Convincing him to forego a run at a market that’ll be mostly devoid of other top talent will take a major payday — one that the team may ultimately be willing to post. If there’s an ace in the hole for D.C., beyond its familiarity to Rendon, it may simply be that it’s the only place the reserved 29-year-old can line up his future without an attention-grabbing foray into free agency.