After signing starter Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $208 million contract on Wednesday, the Phillies are still not close to done this offseason.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Philadelphia Phillies are going “all-in” on third baseman Anthony Rendon. If unable to land the (ex?) National, then the Phillies are using Josh Donaldson as a “back-up” plan.
Philadelphia could soon become the island of former Washington talent, as the Phillies have Bryce Harper, and are eyeing up Rendon and Strasburg.
Does it Make Sense?
Anthony Rendon has been one of the most underrated talents in recent years. Before finishing third in the NL MVP voting last season, the all-star recorded a career year. After posting a career-high .319 batting average and 1.010 OPS, while leading the league in doubles (44), and RBI (126), Rendon earned himself the contract he’s anticipating. He has proven the sustainability in this also, showcasing at least a .300 batting average for three straight years.
Aside from the numbers side of it, Rendon is a good friend of Bryce Harper. Imagine that, having a lineup that consisted of Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, and Anthony Rendon?
Another reason stems from the team’s decision to not tenure Maikel Franco, they are in need of a third baseman. Alec Bohm is patiently waiting for his chance. Scott Kingery can play third (if needed). Jean Segura expressed his willingness to move away from shortstop (refer to the DiDi Gregorius rumors). Having Rendon would allow Kingery to stay in his super-utility role, which may fit him best. Along with this, it would keep Segura at shortstop, and also allow Bohm to gradually work his way to the big leagues.
The reigning World Series champs grew a ton of talent, however can’t afford to pay them all.
“We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told NBC Sports Washington in an interview excerpt published Thursday. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”
As the Nationals are tight with money, the Phillies are not. John Middleton is not worried about potentially having to pay a 20% luxury tax, which would happen regardless if they signed Rendon or Donaldson.
The bigger market in Philadelphia would give Rendon the recognition he deserves, while also improving the Phillies drastically. This symbiotic relationship, along with adding another pitcher (*ah-hem, Stephen Strasburg*) could propel Philadelphia to its second championship in the young century.
Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports