Just under a week after knocking off the Astros in a seven-game World Series, the Nationals are undoubtedly still reveling over their first championship. But now that the offseason has arrived, they’re at risk of losing a few key contributors to free agency.
Two of the many faces of the Nationals’ improbable playoff run were right-hander Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon, who each seemed to come up with one heroic moment after another throughout the postseason. Strasburg deservedly earned World Series MVP honors after going on a particularly jaw-dropping run. It’s no surprise he and Rendon, who have consistently been among the Nationals’ top players and the majors’ most impressive performers throughout their careers, were among the main catalysts for the club’s championship. And now that they’re unsigned heading into 2020, they’re about to be paid rather handsomely for their years-long shows of brilliance. The question is whether they’ll continue with the Nationals going forward.
MLBTR regards the Nationals as the favorites to sign both Strasburg and Rendon, though doing so will require the team to put its enviable financial might on full display. We project the 31-year-old Strasburg (six years, $180MM) and the 29-year-old Rendon (seven years, $235MM) to combine for $415MM on their next contracts. That type of commitment may be especially risky in the case of Strasburg – not only owing to the fact that he’s a pitcher, but because injuries have been somewhat common throughout his career. Although Strasburg did just toss a career-high 209 regular-season innings in 2019, he’s only a year removed from a 130-frame showing – which was the latest of a handful of abbreviated campaigns in his career.
Of course, the point of this exercise isn’t to list the few flaws Strasburg and Rendon may have. It’s to ask whether the Nationals will re-sign one, both or either of the superstar Scott Boras clients. Fresh off a fairytale few months, there’s surely motivation for both sides to work something out. Rendon has indicated in the past he’d like to continue his career with the only organization he has known since it selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. Strasburg, meanwhile, first joined the franchise as an extremely hyped No. 1 pick in 2009. While Strasburg did just opt out of the remaining four years and $100MM left on his contract, that common sense business decision doesn’t necessarily mean he’s champing at the bit to leave D.C. What do you think the future holds for him and Rendon?
(Poll link for app users)