The past week, Washington has been packed with energy, joy, and celebration. The Nats have finally won the World Series, and DC could not be happier. The parade was a success, everyone is chanting “Bring Back Rendon”, so life is good. As many of us rejoice, General Manager Mike Rizzo is already back to work. MLB free agency started as early as Nov. 2 while team and player options are being evaluated.
As of Nov. 3, the following players will be free agents: Anthony Rendon, Daniel Hudson, Howie Kendrick, Asdrubal Cabrera, Gerardo Parra, Brian Dozier, Fernando Rodney, Jeremy Hellickson, Johnny Venters, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Adams, Yan Gomes, and Ryan Zimmerman. The last three have had a team option officially declined by the Nats, and one of those names stands out a lot to Nats fans: Ryan Zimmerman. Don’t worry, though. Zimmerman will likely still be a National next year.
Rizzo declined both Gomes and Zim’s options because of their cost. Zimmerman would be paid $18 million while Gomes would be paid $9 million for next year’s season — both extreme overpays. The average catcher makes around $3 million a year, and Gomes would be the sixth highest-paid catcher in the league. Gomes is an adequate catcher, but he still is a backup, and a backup should never be paid more than the $3 million average salary. The same can be said for Zimmerman, as he would be a top 10 salary first baseman in the league. As much as we all love Zim, he is not worth that much money. The likely conclusion for the two players is a more team-friendly salary. Gomes will either be replaced by a cheaper option or agree to a deal around the positional average, and Zimmerman will likely make around $5 million in his newest contract. The $16 million saved could then help in solving the team’s greatest predicaments, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon.
On Nov. 2, Strasburg declined his $25 million dollar player option effectively making him a free agent. The move was predictable, as winning World Series MVP will always boost your value. This means that any team has a chance to pick him up, which is worrisome for the Nats. The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers are all extremely wealthy teams who have a need for pitchers. They will all likely bid upwards of five years and $145 million dollars, about what similar pitcher Chris Sale made in his latest contract extension. Though the Nats have the ability to afford Strasburg, his agent, Scott Boras, is known for getting top value for his players. Remember that Boras is Bryce Harper’s agent, too. This leaves another problem with Anthony Rendon, who already declined a $210 million dollar contract earlier this year. Rendon is going to be the most sought after free agent this year, which will make it difficult to re-sign him.
The goal for the team right now is to re-sign the two stars in Strasburg and Rendon. It would hurt to lose players like Hudson, Parra, and Zimmerman, but Rendon and Strasburg mean the most. The advice we have for Nats fans is to not worry. Rizzo is one of the main reasons we were able to win the World Series, and he has built this team from the ground up. He will make the decisions that will help the team the most, so there is no reason to panic. All us fans can do is wait and celebrate our win.