JUNKIES: Rendon is gone, what does that mean for Soto, Turner?

The Fan News Desk
December 12, 2019 - 11:22 am

Anthony Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels late Wednesday night, effectively ending his tenure with the Nationals. 

The news may have been surprising to some, but The Sports Junkies' John Auville said Rendon’s departure shouldn't be too big of a surprise because the team has indicated it prefers to provide large contracts to pitchers. And Rendon’s departure comes just days after the team re-signed Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million contract. 

“This is what the Nats do,” Auville said Thursday on 106.7 The Fan. “They pay pitchers, they pay arms and they let the high-dollar bats walk. That’s their M.O.” 

Junks' Jason Bishop compared the deal Rendon signed to contracts previous big-name free agents such as Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, and Albert Pujols landed. He said teams offer the contracts anticipating the player’s productivity will likely decline toward the end of the deal and wondered whether Rendon would have stayed in D.C. if the offer didn’t include deferred money. 

“Maybe it comes down to the fact that Rendon does not like deferred money,” Bishop said. “Maybe if he agreed to the deferred contract, they would have gotten it done. What if they agreed to $60 or $80 million deferred? They would (have) got it done.” 

MASN's Byron Kerr joined The Junkies and said fans shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the franchise let Bryce Harper and Rendon sign elsewhere in back-to-back offseasons. 

“It’s kind of a weird situation for the Nats to be in, because all summer long we heard ‘If they don’t sign Rendon we’re bringing in the torches. The Lerner's are cheap. This is outrageous,’” Kerr said. “‘They’ve got to find a way. They can’t let Harper and Rendon walk in back-to-back years.’ But then they win the World Series so it’s like we’re all warm and fuzzy. 

"But when is this going to wear off? Because if they would have lost to the Brewers in that game and then lost Rendon, people would be losing their minds.” 

Rendon’s decision to sign with the Angels leaves the Nationals with a vacancy at third base. Bishop, Auville and NBC Sports Washington reporter Todd Dybas considered whether free agent Josh Donaldson or the Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant are realistic options for the Nats in 2020.

Bishop said Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom, the internal candidate who debuted for the Nationals last season, isn’t the best option at third base, which isn't the position he played in the minors.

The franchise’s inability to keep Rendon makes clear they don’t value offense the same way they do pitching, The Junkies said. So, as young stars Trea Turner and Juan Soto approach free agency, it might be expected that they too will sign elsewhere, Auville added. 

“You know what else this tells me? Don’t get used to Juan Soto being here long term,” Auville said. “Enjoy Juan Soto while he’s here, because if this current plan stays in place, they’re gonna pay the pitchers and Juan Soto is gonna be the most coveted free agent on the market.”

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