Immediately after defeating the Houston Astros to capture a World Series for the first time in franchise history, the Washington Nationals saw two of their top players hit the open market.
Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg are part of a star-studded free agency class that also includes Gerrit Cole, Josh Donaldson and Hyun-Jin Ryu, among others. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been linked to each of the aforementioned players to some degree.
While they have reportedly shown interest in both Rendon and Strasburg, there’s a belief the team will remain disciplined during contract discussions.
The Dodgers have specifically coveted Rendon for quite some time and consider him an ideal fit in the clubhouse. They are one of many teams in pursuit of the 2019 All-Star, who is expected to sign a contract that exceeds $200 million.
As the Nationals attempt to retain their homegrown star, Rendon is reportedly down on the idea of signing a contract with salary deferrals, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Right-handers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg accepted significant deferrals in their long-term deals with the Nationals, but third baseman Anthony Rendon was less keen on proceeding with such a structure, some with the club say.
While some players are more willing than others to sign contracts with deferrals, Rendon is clearly not a fan of the concept. The Nationals reportedly offered a similar structure to Bryce Harper before he ultimately inked a 13-year pact with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Given how negotiations have played out to this point, Washington is said to be more optimistic with their chances of bringing back Strasburg:
The Nats remain more confident of re-signing Strasburg than Rendon.
The Nationals have been confident in their ability to re-sign Strasburg since the early stages of the offseason. Working out a new contract with the World Series MVP is clearly a top priority as Washington looks to bring the band back together for another deep run in 2020.
However it ultimately shakes out, Nationals owner Mark Lerner suggested re-signing both Strasburg and Rendon is out of the cards.
While Strasburg is additionally garnering interest from the three Southern California teams, the Dodgers appear more focused on bolstering their lineup with another elite bat. In addition to their interest in Rendon and Donaldson, L.A. has been listed as a potential suitor for Cleveland Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
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