Anthony Rendon contract talks gaining 'traction' after Boras, Lerner meet

Josh Luckenbaugh
July 08, 2019 - 10:03 am

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is skipping the All-Star Game, citing injury concerns as the main motive to pass on the trip to Cleveland. 

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But could another reason be trying to get a contract extension done?

Extension talks between Rendon and the Nats appear to be ramping up again after agent Scott Boras met with Nationals owner Ted Lerner Saturday. The pair have negotiated a number of significant deals before, including Max Scherzer's seven-year deal in 2015 and Stephen Strasburg's contract extension in 2016. 

"To some extent where there's smoke there's fire with these things, and once Scott Boras is in Washington, that certainly signifies talks are getting more serious," Jesse Dougherty told The Sports Junkies Monday. "It's not like he's frequently at Nationals Park, he's not coming all the time."

"For him to be there and to see him with Ted, someone he's negotiated a lot of deals with over the years, that was significant. It doesn't mean a deal is gonna happen tomorrow or the next day, but I think it means there's traction in a way there wasn't before."

Rendon himself didn't indicate there had been much progress toward a deal a few weeks ago. 

“I’m not going to be the one going out and trying to pursue it,” Rendon told The Washington Post on June 25. “At this point, if they present something and both sides are happy, then cool. If not, and it doesn’t happen, then no hard feelings.”

"I play baseball, I don’t deal with trades, free agency, any of that stuff. I care about my future, of course, but whatever happens, happens."

Dougherty told the Junkies Rendon's attitude toward the possibility of not striking a deal with the Nats seems to have changed. 

"He's accepted two fates here, which is returning or not," said Dougherty. "And I think there was a time his rhetoric surrounding the situation was a bit more firm in staying. A lot of 'I want to be a National forever, I want to stay here, I want my agent to work out a deal.' And there was a time this spring he had specifically told Boras to work on a contract with the Nats."

"But now I think there's more of a laissez-faire attitude: "If it doesn't work out, I'm gonna be a free agent in less than four months. If this thing doesn't go my way with Washington, I've accepted that and I'm ok with that.'"

And while Boras meeting with Lerner doesn't guarantee a deal will get done, it shows both sides are serious about the negotiating process

"That (meeting) was signifying that the Nats and Rendon are moving in the right direction, or at least in a direction right now," Dougherty said. "It's trending better than it was."

"But it's hard to say with these things because he's gaining leverage by the day. The closer he gets to the open market, the closer he can be to a situation where teams are gonna bid on him and drive up the price."

"The clock is ticking on his time with the Nationals, the time when they can only negotiate with him. As he nears free agency, I think it becomes a bigger jump to get there because why wouldn't you want to know what teams are gonna bid on you, especially when you've clearly earned a lot of money and a big contract."

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