JUNKIES: Who can Nats afford to re-sign: Rendon or Strasburg?

Ben Krimmel
November 07, 2019 - 1:00 pm

For the Washington Nationals, the World Series celebration is over and the business of the offseason has begun. 

While fans still have a few months to revel in the delight of a title, general manager Mike Rizzo is facing a tough decision of determining which of his top players the Nats should target in free agency. Will Washington make World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg the top priority? Or NL MVP finalist Anthony Rendon?

Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga told The Sports Junkies this week, while both players are homegrown and share an agent, Scott Boras, they both could end up going in different ways.

According to Svrluga, Strasburg told him before the season, "For me, it's about winning. I know I'm getting later in my career and I wanna make sure I have a chance to win." Well, Washington just won the World Series and have a track record of consistently trying to compete. All of this could work in the Nationals' favor.

And don't be surprised but all of this may come down to whether either player will eat some deferred money.

Some players accept it, some don't. Max Scherzer accepted an offer from Mark Lerner and the Nationals ownership which deferred about half the total value. Patrick Corbin, who the Nationals signed for 6-years, $140 million last offseason, took virtually no deferred money.

"I would expect that these two sides can come together and figure out something that makes sense," Svrluga said on 106.7 The Fan. "It might be something that's along the line of Scherzer's deal, but seven years and $210 million. Strasburg will be a year older than Scherzer was when he signed that deal, so maybe you knock it down by a year and only give him six years.

"And part of it is on Stephen. He has moved his family here, what's his comfort level with the organization, with the town? And how much does he not want to go someplace else?" 

"I think Rendon is different," Svrluga said. "Not that he's some sort of mercenary, but I do think he feels like he earned the right to be a free agent, that (the Nats) did not come with what he and Boras would have considered appropriate offers early enough in the process. And it seems to me that it's unlikely that the Nats will end up with the offer that's the most years and the most money." 

And how much could Rendon get? According to The Washington Post's Neil Greenberg: Quite a lot.

"Career year, you could argue he was also a World Series MVP, and he's coming to the market place at a position that has very little depth both in baseball but also especially in this free agent market. I think you're gonna have to back up the Brinks truck," Greenberg told The Junks. "He's the most valuable free agent, regardless of position, coming out this year."

Greenberg estimates Rendon is worth closer to $250 million over seven years without any deferred money. (The Nats offered Rendon something in the ballpark of $215 million with deferred payments, which lower the value of the contract.)

And if it comes down to Rendon or Strasburg? "Well, I think you have to throw it at Rendon," Greenberg said, pointing to Corbin and more depth in the market for starting pitchers.

Also factoring in all of Rizzo's and the Lerner's decisions: What about the next crop of future free agents? What about Juan Soto and Trea Turner

Will the Nationals spend enough, spend recklessly, or not spend at all?

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