MLB Free Agency Rumors: Stephen Strasburg Recruiting Anthony Rendon, Who May Be Willing To Re-Sign With Nationals Despite Deferred Salary
Washington Nationals teammates Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg celebrate after winning the 2019 NLCS
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos

After having an MVP-caliber season and winning a World Series with the Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon positioned himself to sign one of the largest free agent contracts in MLB history this offseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams that have shown interest in him and are considered to be the favorites along with the Texas Rangers.

While the Nationals cannot be ruled out, they are viewed as long shots to retain the 2019 All-Star considering their owner recently said it was unlikely to re-sign both Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. Washington then went on to sign Strasburg to a record-breaking contract at this week’s Winter Meetings, bringing him back for seven years and $245 million.

A big reason they retained Strasburg was because he was willing to accept deferred money in his contract, which Rendon reportedly was not. It appears Strasburg is doing what he can to ensure Rendon is back in Washington with him, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN:

Throughout the process, Strasburg has been in touch with both Rendon and Nationals ownership, the source said, making his pitch for the two sides to work out a deal and keep one of the most important players from the club’s World Series run in D.C. for the long term.

Furthermore, Strasburg’s willingness to defer salary may also be influencing Rendon to accept the similar arrangement:

Any deal with Rendon almost certainly would also include deferred salary, something that was a sticking point for the 29-year-old during his previous negotiations. … It’s been assumed ever since that any offer that still included deferrals would be a non-starter for Rendon, but the third baseman is more willing to consider it now, according to the source. Strasburg’s willingness to defer some of his salary, not to mention the Nationals’ championship and attempt to remain a World Series contender in 2020 and beyond, may help change Rendon’s mind.

This is obviously bad news for the Dodgers if they are serious about pursuing Rendon as the more teams that are involved, the pricier his contract is going to be. The L.A. Angels also recently entered the sweepstakes as a fallback with missing out on Gerrit Cole.

It was originally believed that Rendon could pursue a short-term, high average annual value contract, which would have been perfect for the Dodgers. His agent, Scott Boras, said at the Winter Meetings he is now looking for seven years, so it appears that is no longer the case after watching Strasburg get more than he was expected to on the open market.

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