Anthony Rendon wants Bryce Harper to cash in big

Brian Tinsman
December 02, 2018 - 10:32 pm

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


Unlike the other big three American sports leagues, Major League Baseball has no salary cap, so there is no pie to divide. One player's ability to score a record contract should not adversely affect another's chances of cashing in.

In fact, it might help. That's what Washington Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon believes will happen with his teammate Bryce Harper, who declined a $300 million offer already this offseason.

Like Harper, Rendon has also been in extension talks with the Nats. From the sounds of it, he might be waiting for Harper's contract to help reset the market.

"It might have an effect on what players and the union get. Obviously, if he drives up the free agency market, then it's going to help a lot of the players that come after and become free agents down the road," he told TMZ Sports this weekend. "It's going to help those other guys."

Separately, he chatted with the media at Nationals Winterfest and revealed that his agent, Scott Boras (who he shares with Harper), and the Nats have been in contact about an extension for a long time. He faces free agency for the first time next offseason and seems like the perfect candidate to test the waters for a big deal. In the meantime, he appreciates the good vibes from his employer.

"Obviously, they like me, so I guess that’s a good thing," he told the media at Nationals Winterfest. "It means I have been doing something right. But, yeah, I’m up for it. We’ve been talking about it over the last year or so or whatever. If we can both come to an agreement and both sides are happy, why not?"

Rendon is a tremendous young talent in his own right and could very well be in line for a nine-figure deal when the time comes. He has a Silver Slugger and NL Comeback Player of the Year Award to his name and is widely regarded as one of the biggest All-Star snubs in baseball. Yet, outside of D.C., his name carries a lot less weight than Harper's.

It really shouldn't.

Harper tallied a modest 1.8 WAR in his 2018 contract season. Rendon scored a 4.2. For their careers, Harper has a 27.4 WAR in 927 career games. Rendon has a 21.1 WAR in 770 career games. 

Pro Baseball Reference predicts the following offense slash lines for each player in 2019:

Harper: .265/.385/.491

Rendon: .285/.366/.491

Harper gets the hype for his production, but Rendon rarely has. That fact isn't lost on Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.

"I think we should, and I think we have, and I think we will continue to do so," Rizzo told the media. "He’s a guy that we drafted, signed and developed, and he’s one of our own. He’s a terrific player that nobody talks about."

Rendon gave fans reason to be optimistic that everything will work out for him to stay in D.C.

"You have a soft spot I guess for your hometown, your first team. So why not stick with one team?" he mused. "Like I said last year, these NBA players, they are getting heat for it. So maybe I got to stick with one team."


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