Posted on November 11, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
With regard to position players, the crown jewel of this year’s MLB free-agent class is third baseman Anthony Rendon. The Washington Nationals made a considerable effort to sign him to a long-term deal over the past year but couldn’t quite hammer out an agreement. Now he’s set to hit the open market as the biggest fish in the pond this winter. Even with Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas giving him a little bit of competition in free agency among third basemen, Rendon is likely to sign a 9-figure deal. Here is a look at the top contenders to sign Rendon this offseason.
Angels – 15%
The Angels have no established third baseman and a fair amount of money to spend, so there’s every reason to think they’ll be in the mix for Rendon. More importantly, they need him more than most teams. The Halos have struggled to be competitive in recent years amidst an almost unfair series of injuries, so they need to make a big splash whether it be a bonafide ace of the top hitter on the free-agent market.
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Braves – 10%
The Braves would like to re-sign Josh Donaldson, but don’t think they won’t make a run at Rendon as well. They’ve faced Rendon 19 times a year over the last several years and know how good of a hitter he is. If they want to hang onto their NL east crown, making themselves better while making Washington worse at the same time would be a great move.
Cardinals – 15%
St. Louis is as desperate to add an impact offensive player as any team in baseball. Adding Rendon at third base might be the perfect move. Matt Carpenter is coming off a disastrous season while promising youngster Tommy Edman can play other positions. That creates a nice opening at third base for the Cardinals to sign Rendon.
Nationals – 25%
One has to think that the Nationals begin the offseason as the favorites for Rendon. Surely, Washington can’t let their best hitter walk in free agency for two straight years. They reportedly made an offer of over $200 million to Rendon in September. That offer isn’t far off from what Rendon is likely to get. Washington’s problem is that Stephen Strasburg has opted out of his deal, so the Nationals have two invaluable stars they need to re-sign.
Phillies – 10%
With Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies aren’t hurting for offense. However, they will likely be aggressive again this winter and have an opening at the hot corner. Maikel Franco was a terrible disappointment this year while Scott Kingery is more of a super-utility guy than an every-third baseman. That should allow the Phillies to fit Rendon into their lineup if they want to spend money to improve their lineup.
Rangers – 15%
Rendon is from Texas, so the Rangers could work the hometown angle to push him to sign with them. The Rangers are also trying to make a splash before they open their new ballpark in 2020. Plus, Texas didn’t come close to replacing the production of Adrian Beltre at third base this past season, so they need Rendon’s production as much as almost any other team.
The Field – 10%
At this point, the field may not be a bad bet for Rendon. There are rumblings about the Yankees potentially getting involved in the Rendon sweepstakes. The free-spending Dodgers could also entertain the possibility of signing Rendon if he’s open to a short-term deal with a higher average salary. There are also teams like the Brewers and Mets that appear reluctant to open up their checkbook but could make a surprising run at Rendon depending on how the market develops.