Despite rumors that he will end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals say that they will open talks to re-sign Anthony Rendon — their third-baseman since 2013. But Rendon had his best career season and appears likely to win the National League MVP Award this year — perfect timing for his first foray into free agency.
According to a report by MLB.com, however, the Nationals may already be looking toward a future without Rendon. The club has expressed serious interest in 2015 American League MVP Josh Donaldson, who played the 2019 season with the National League East-winning Atlanta Braves.
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said at the annual Major League Baseball General Managers Meetings on Tuesday that he expects to talk with Rendon’s agent, Scott Boras, at some point before he departs the meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Thursday, according to a report by The Washington Post.
“I’m sure we’ll touch base before we leave here at some point. We’ve got several meetings with several different agents about a bunch of different variety of players,” Rizzo said.
But the Post report called Rizzo’s vague statement “common general manager speak at this time of year,” saying that like most GMs as the free-agent season gets rolling, Rizzo is unlikely to reveal his plans for pursuing any specific player — even a homegrown one like Rendon, who was selected by Washington sixth overall in the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft, out of Rice University in Texas.
Rendon is the consensus top available third-baseman in the 2019-2020 free agent group, according to MLB.com correspondent Mark Feinsand. But Boras has a reputation for keeping his clients on the market as long as possible, in order to extract the most lucrative available contracts.
As a result, “teams in the market for a third baseman might not wait around for Rendon,” Feinsand wrote, citing one baseball executive. And one of those teams unwilling to wait may be the Nationals.
According to Feinsand’s reporting, the Nats are joined by the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Braves in giving strong consideration to signing Donaldson, along with at least two other clubs.
Last year, Donaldson signed with Atlanta in November, on a one-year, $23 million deal. Whether the 33-year-old, three-time All Star will be willing to sign as quickly in 2019 remains unclear, according to Feinsand.
An earlier report claimed that the Chicago White Sox were preparing to make “a run” at Rendon, but Boras appears unlikely to let the 29-year-old ink a deal before every possible team has either made an offer or bowed out.