Keep breathing in that beautiful fall air: the Washington Nationals are STILL your reigning World Series Champions. Despite a shorter offseason than most, the Nats still have some important work to do this offseason, mostly regarding contract extensions.
The two most important free agents the Nats should be targeting are MVP-nominated third baseman Anthon Rendon and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. They both rejected their qualifying offers, which means the Nats will get compensatory draft picks if either player signs with another team. If either player leaves, the Nats will have some huge roster holes to fill.
It’s not surprising that Rendon and the Nats couldn’t agree on a contract extension. Rendon is a Scott Boras client and doesn’t seem willing to take a hometown discount. According to the Washington Post, the Nats offered Rendon seven years and between $210-215 million at the end of the season, which he didn’t accept. Some have argued the offer was on par with Rendon’s market value, but his counterpart, Nolan Arenado, and the Colorado Rockies signed an eight-year, $260 million deal, which is most likely the range Rendon and Boras are holding out for. The Rockies are probably the only team in the league not looking for a third baseman.
Strasburg’s contract didn’t expire, but he chose to use an opt-out clause to become a free agent four years early. As a result, he forfeited the remaining $100 million on that contract. The internet rumor mill is speculating that the Nats and Strasburg will reach an agreement by the start of the MLB winter meetings in December. However, Strasburg is also a Boras client, so don’t hold your breath for any contract updates.
Both players are attracting attention from teams across the league, so your guess is as good as ours as which uniform these players will don on Opening Day.
The other ongoing contract negotiations are between the Nats and MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network which broadcasts all Nats regular-season games. Since 2005, the two organizations have been going back and forth about contracts, rights, and who owes who money. The situation has been complicated since the Baltimore Orioles games are also broadcast on MASN. It’s an incredibly messy situation, and arbitrators and MLB representatives keep going to court. At this point, it seems like the Nats are due for a large payout, but no one is absolutely certain. Rendon and Strasburg will each probably have contracts before this situation gets resolved.
Enjoy the end of fall, and hope for some contract news before New Years.