Anthony Rendon says he's increasingly likely to test free agency

Chris Lingebach
July 30, 2019 - 1:54 pm

Free agent-to-be Anthony Rendon says it's been weeks, if not a month, since he's heard from the Nationals front office about a possible contract extension.

The closer the third baseman gets to free agency, Rendon tells 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, the more likely it is he will see what he's worth on the open market.

"Are you gonna be a National?" Paulsen asked. "What is the latest right now on your ongoing negotiation?"

"Oh man, I'm just worried about the field," Rendon said. "I have an agent. I hired him for a reason and he's in control of that. He lets me know what talks have been going on. I haven't heard from him for a while."

Rendon is represented by Scott Boras, the same agent who represents Stephen Strasburg and former Nats slugger Bryce Harper. Strasburg is one of the few Boras clients to forgo free agency, signing a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nats in May 2016. Harper elected free agency and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies this spring.

Rendon has made clear since this spring he intends the hear the Nationals out on any extension offers, and that it will be he who decides his future, not Boras.

"When's the last time you talked to Boras about your deal?" Paulsen asked.

"It was a few weeks ago, maybe about a month," said Rendon. "Whenever they came in town. So he told me. He goes, 'Hey, I'm coming in town. Nobody knows. They're gonna keep it under wraps and Ted doesn't want to tell anybody.' I was like, 'Alright. Perfect. Whatever.' And then I guess he texted me the next morning: 'Everybody knows.'

"He goes 'the word got out.' I'm like, 'That didn't take long.' Because he texted me even before I woke up, so it would have had to have been eight in the morning. I'm like, 'Well that didn't work out for you guys.'"

Boras flew in to D.C. to meet with Nats owner Ted Lerner right around the All-Star Break, in the first week of July. That's the last time Rendon has heard anything about an extension with the Nats, he says.

"When he comes in, is any part of you thinking we can get a deal done right now?" Paulsen asked. "Or do you still know that you guys are too far apart, that it's not that close?"

"No, I think we're always optimistic about it," Rendon said. "I just told him that I didn't want to leave any stone unturned, and so, if the Nats had something that they wanted to talk to me about or they wanted to offer, then I wanted to be all ears about it.

"But if, you know, we kind of shut the doors at the beginning of the season and said, 'No! I'm going to free agency!' And then... shoulda, coulda, woulda... they would have said, 'Oh, you know, we had this, this, this to talk to you about.' But we never would have known about it if we shut the doors, so I told him that I wanted to be all ears about it, and I want to listen to everything that the front office has to talk about."

Slashing .318/.404/.616 for 1.020 OPS, with 23 homers and 80 RBI, Rendon has picked an ideal time to play the best baseball of his career. Rendon is one of two players to project to make up the top of the free agent market, and the other is a pitcher, Gerrit Cole.

"If I'm Boras, I'm telling you, there's no one on the market but you," Paulsen said. ""There's no way he's gonna let you sign before free agency. There's just no way."

"Why?" Rendon asked.

"Because there's no one else. There's eight teams that want you," Paulsen replied. "The Rangers. If you're a Phillie, by the way, that's awful. The Braves. By the way, the Phillies are gonna be in, just so you know. The Braves are gonna be in. The Rangers – you're from Texas. And if I'm Scott Boras, we're this close to free agency, there's no chance now he's just gonna be like, 'Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Let's sign a deal now.'

"He's not gonna let you do it."

"Yeah, but why does everyone think that the agent makes the ultimate decision?" Rendon asked. "If the player hires the agent and has authority over him, isn't that the player's fault? If they give him that authority to make all the decisions and they end up in a bad situation?"

"Yes. But, two of his guys ever, basically, have not gone to free agency," Paulsen rebutted. "The list is like Strasburg and Jered Weaver. Is that an accident?"

"Well, no," said Rendon. "But isn't that a good thing, if Strasburg is on our team?"

"Yeah, but they didn't shut you down in the 2012 playoffs," Paulsen joked.

"I didn't have Tommy John," Rendon fired back.

"No, but my point is I think there was like a relationship there that led to that," said Paulsen. "I guess my point is, you're this close to free agency. Is there any way that you think you wouldn't hit free agency at this point?"

"I don't know. I still think it's up in the air," Rendon said. "I mean, we haven't heard from the front office in a few weeks or a month now, and we haven't had an offer, I don't believe, in a little bit longer than that. But, I mean, if you're giving me the opportunity, and saying I'm this close from going to go car shopping, from multiple lots, instead of staying in one lot, I mean, what would you do?"

"I would probably go to as many lots as possible," said Paulsen.

"I mean, the opportunity has been there for five, six years now," Rendon noted. "And, still open to it, still all ears, but the closer we get to that opportunity, it makes more sense as a player to think about my family and all these other variables that come into play. Why not look forward to it?"

"Is there even a number they can come to you with where you would agree?" Paulsen asked. "It takes two to dance right now."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. I think there is a number," said Rendon. "And we've discussed that, and there's also some contingencies into the contract that need to happen. And they know what that is, and we've expressed our concerns on what those things are, and if they can make that happen, then I think they'll be good to go." 

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