Nationals trying to 'bridge gaps' in Anthony Rendon extension talks

Chris Lingebach
April 17, 2019 - 10:46 am

Mike Rizzo confirmed reports that the Nationals met with Anthony Rendon Tuesday to discuss a contract extension for the third baseman.

"We did meet," the Nationals GM and President of Baseball Operations told The Junkies during his weekly appearance, presented by Burke & Herbert Bank. "Mark Lerner has been away from the team for a couple weeks. He wanted to say hi to Anthony and talk to him."

"You know, I talk to him every day," Rizzo said. "So we pulled him aside and met with him yesterday for a short period of time. It was a very, very nice talk, a cordial talk, as it always is with Anthony.

"Yeah, we're trying to get it done. We're trying to see if there's a way to bridge gaps. It takes two to tango and hopefully both sides want to get something done and we can get a deal done with one of my favorite guys that I've ever drafted in Anthony."

This is a positive sign that both sides have reengaged in extension talks, after those talks reportedly came to a halt this spring around the time Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with Colorado. That offer "wasn’t to where we thought we should be," Rendon said at the time.

"We had a long discussion and a nice discussion about I've known the kid since he was a junior in high school, and watched him go into Rice University and become one of the best players in college baseball and turn into a great Major League player," Rizzo said. "We've got long ties and we go way back together, and we were kind of reminiscing a little bit about where we've been and the next step in our relationship, so it was good."

Rendon has avoided the pitfalls of recent Nationals players -- Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond -- slumping in their walk years. The 28-year-old is hitting .397 with six home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBI for a 1.308 OPS in 67 plate appearances. Rizzo confirmed the conversation left things on a positive note.

"Dialogue is always good," he said. "Anthony is a very affable guy, very intelligent person, really knows the marketplace. He really knows himself and really one of the under the radar stars in the game. We recognize what we have in Anthony. He recognizes what we've meant to him. Hopefully we can come to some sort of agreement."

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