SNIDER: After signing Strasburg, Nats should go get Rendon

Rick Snider
December 09, 2019 - 4:52 pm

Re-signing Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon should never have been an either/or situation for the Nationals. It should be a one-two combination.

The Nationals reportedly re-signed Strasburg Monday to a seven-year, $245 million deal while Rendon’s fate is still undecided. Keeping the World Series MVP was certainly a no-brainer despite the price tag and future health concerns.

But, the team still can’t now claim it doesn’t have money to keep Rendon, whose contract will also exceed $200 million. The Lerner family has seen the Nats' value increase by $2 billion since buying the team in 2005 while patriarch Ted Lerner’s estimated worth is more than $5 billion.

That’s not to say the Lerner's should throw money at players. But, they should throw money at the core of their lineup in Rendon. After not overpaying Bryce Harper, who signed with the Phillies for $330 million last year, the Nats need to keep their homegrown playmaker in Rendon.

Maybe Rendon wants to play in his native Texas and will sign with the Rangers or Astros. Fair enough – free agency lets players decide such things, but if it’s about money, the Nationals can afford another blockbuster deal.

One title doesn’t mean dumping salaries afterward like the Marlins did twice. They wonder why baseball isn’t big in South Florida. Well, that’s a big part of it. If owners don’t respect fans, the latter don’t have to attend games. (See Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder.)

Rendon has been everything desired and more since drafted sixth overall in 2011. During his short minors stint, the word was always, “Wait till you see this guy.”

Sure enough, Rendon started strong and improved annually over six seasons. Last year, he was third in NL Most Valuable Player voting when batting .319 with 34 homers, and 126 RBIs not to mention his outstanding defensive play at third base.

The Nats can’t afford a hole in the lineup nor risk looking cheap to fans that won’t take long to balk over it. If it’s simply over money, pay Rendon the top fare and move on.

After all, Strasburg needs at least a couple runs to win games.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks