Franchise cornerstone and consistent all-star snub Anthony Rendon is looking for a contract for at least seven years and over $160 million.
There have been extension rumors throughout the offseason for the former first rounder and the Nationals but extension talks have yet to happen with Rendon, 29, hitting free agency next winter.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Rendon is seeking a deal that is close to the “seven-year, $163.5 million contract the Astros awarded second baseman Jose Altuve before the 2018 season.”
The average annual value would be around $23.4 million, which would count against the luxury tax which the Nats are hoping to avoid but would most likely cross if they bring Harper back.
It has been reported that Rendon is “fine” playing next year without a future contract agreed upon before the start of the season. Unlike former Nat Bryce Harper, Rendon is seeking a deal that’s around what he’s worth to the market which could mean talks could pick up quickly.
It’s widely known that the Nats would like to keep both Harper and Rendon but they may not have the salary space to keep both. One way the Nats could work around it is by restructuring Ryan Zimmerman’s deal by cutting it down by about $6.3 million. Zimmerman has stated that he’s willing to take a pay cut and a lesser role to remain with the team.
The only question mark with extending Rendon is that the extension would last into his age 36 season but Rendon being the relaxed and healthy player could easily remain on the field making the deal worth it for the franchise.
Whether Harper returns or not the Nationals should try their hardest to the most consistent player in their lineup.