Here’s the latest from the Nationals, who take a 2-0 series lead into tomorrow’s Game Three of the NLCS….
- Could Anthony Rendon be open to the idea of a relatively short-term contract for a high average annual average? “Some friends of Rendon believe that he’s more interested in a shorter-term deal…because he might not be devoted to the idea of playing for as long as he possibly can,” ESPN’s Buster Olney writes, which Olney feels could make Rendon even more of an attractive target for a team like the Dodgers. Los Angeles reportedly had interest in such a short-term deal with Bryce Harper last winter, though such efforts fell short since Harper was specifically looking for a very long-term contract. A premium free agent like Rendon showing interest in only a very pricey deal of four or five years would be a fascinating wrinkle, as clubs would no longer have to worry about a late-30’s decline if Rendon is only under contract through his age-33 or age-34 season. (The third baseman turns 30 next June.) It could also create a ripple effect for future superstar free agents around the game, and the players’ union may also not be pleased at one of its top names taking what teams would certainly adopt as a precedent-setting model. Then again, Rendon’s agent Scott Boras has long aimed to garner maximum money at maximum years for his clients, and Rendon reportedly already turned down a seven-year extension offer from the Nats worth $210-$215MM.
- Victor Robles is expected to take part in batting practice and some running drills on Monday, manager Davey Martinez told reporters (including MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr). Robles also did some running today and underwent treatment on his bothersome right hamstring, which was tweaked in Game Two of the NLDS. The injury has kept Robles out of action, though there is some optimism he will be able to return for Monday’s game. “I’m not going to anticipate anything until he comes in tomorrow. But he’s progressing and hopefully he will be ready tomorrow,” Martinez said.
- Robles will regain the regular center field job when he is ready to play, Martinez noted. This will send Michael A. Taylor back to the Nats’ bench, though Taylor has performed well (.300/.333/.450) in 21 plate appearances since filling in for Robles. It marked a nice turn-around for Taylor, the Washington Post’s Sam Fortier writes, as Taylor’s early-season struggles led to a demotion to Double-A, before he finally got his swing back on track in the final days of his minor league assignment. “I was finally able to get that feeling. I just tried to repeat over and over,” Taylor said about a hot streak that saw him post a 1.191 OPS over his last 52 PA in the minors. Though he was at one point a top prospect and seemed to be breaking out at the MLB level as recently as the 2017 season, Taylor has been inconsistent over his six big league seasons, but now stands as a very valuable bench asset as the Nationals continue their postseason run.