It's safe to say that if it weren't Anthony Rendon's clutch performance throughout the postseason, the Washington Nationals wouldn't be celebrating their first NL pennant right now.
The 29-year-old Rendon is one of the few All-Stars slated to hit free agency this winter, so there's going to be quite the bidding war for his services. And as the Nats prepare for the World Series, ownership has made it clear that they want to retain Rendon as free agency looms.
"We certainly want to keep him. That’s 110 percent," managing owner Mark Lerner said, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. "It’s really in Tony’s and his family’s hands at this point. They have to decide what they want to do. He’s earned that right as a free agent. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. We love him to death."
Rendon pieced together the greatest regular season of his career. He set personal bests in home runs (34), RBI (126), batting average (.319) and OPS (1.010). Rendon also had an impressive 6.3 WAR on the year.
As it stands, Rendon and Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole are the top two players currently scheduled to enter free agency. Other elite talents like J.D. Martinez, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Stephen Strasburg can opt out of their contracts after this season to hit the free agent market.
Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reported back in September that the Nats offered Rendon a seven-year deal worth $210-$215 million. The latter has certainly increased his value during a strong postseason performance, however, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Rendon was looking for significantly more.
Rendon is batting .375 in the postseason with one home run, seven RBI, eight walks and four doubles with an OPS of 1.059. And given that he's only 29 years of age, Rendon should easily earn more money than any non-pitcher free agent this offseason.
Rendon Could Be Too Pricey For Nationals
The Nationals had no problem letting franchise star Bryce Harper leave in free agency, and he wound up signing a $330 million deal with the rival Philadelphia Phillies. So if Rendon's asking price is well north of Washington's offer, and if Strasburg opts out, there's a good chance that GM Mike Rizzo will have to choose between one superstar. After all, the Nationals aren't keen on going over the luxury tax. As such, spending around $400-million plus on two players doesn't seem likely.