The Winter Meetings have begun with a bang as star right-hander Stephen Strasburg has re-signed with the Washington Nationals for a record-breaking seven-year, $245 million deal. The Nationals, who are already saddled with the large contracts of Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, are now firmly up against the luxury tax.
Long story short, the Nationals are basically out of the running for securing the services of their own free agent, third baseman Anthony Rendon. Nats owner Mark Lerner confirmed as much last week.
The Nationals, factoring in the $35 million that will be handed to Strasburg, are now just shy of the luxury tax threshold. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have room to sign Anthony Rendon to a contract of his liking, which is said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of a seven-year, $250 million deal.
The market has yet to fully move with Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon still up for grabs.
However, the Dodgers might be in the hunt for Rendon at his price point, a player that can provide the Dodgers with a much-needed right-handed power bat to stick in the middle of their order.
As Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group mentions, the Angels could very well enter into a bidding war with the New York Yankees for Gerrit Cole, leaving the Dodgers and Rangers to duke it out for Rendon.
Stephen Strasburg reportedly re-signing with Nationals (7 yrs, $245m). Could add extra desperation to #Angels pursuit of Gerrit Cole — and make Anthony Rendon even more likely to leave Nats … for #Dodgers?
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) December 9, 2019
This past season, Anthony Rendon led the Nationals to their first World Series title in franchise history and — as flawed as this term is — he is the definition of a ‘winning player’. Moreover, he appears to be the type of player that could help push a club like the Dodgers over the top.
Since the start of the 2017 season, the 29-year-old has posted a 145 wRC+ and a .310/.397/.556 slash line. In terms of wRC+, he is tied for second amongst third baseman in that span with Justin Turner and behind the Astros’ Alex Bregman (150). He leads in batting average and on-base percentage amongst the same group and is second to just Nolan Arenado in slugging.
Rendon would be a huge boost for the club and the morale of its’ players and fans, and his signing could drop during the winter meetings.