Regardless of how hot the Hot Stove Season actually is this year — it’s been lukewarm, at best, the past few offseasons — Sporting News will have you covered with all the trade rumors and free-agent rumblings you can handle.
Rumor: The Nationals are pushing to find “resolutions” with free agents Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rizzo sooner than later, so they can move on to secondary options, if needed.
Source: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman
Need to know: This is great news for baseball fans — and players — who have been frustrated by the glacial pace of the free-agent market of the past few offseasons. Well, it’s great news if it comes to pass. Until then, it’s a great thought to consider.
Both Strasburg and Rendon, of course, played HUGE roles in the Nationals’ inspiring push to the first World Series title in franchise history, and the Nationals would love to have both back in the fold for the next several years. The financial realities of making that happen, though, will be difficult. Both guys will command massive deals, and it might be that the Nationals have to choose to prioritize one over the other. And it’s very understandable that they’d like to have to that decision made sooner than later.
Could this happen: Realistically, only if the Nationals make an overly generous offer that includes zero hometown discount. Because here’s a big part of this equation: Both players are represented by Scott Boras, the heavy hitting agent who often encourages his players to wait as long as possible to get the best deal possible. If Boras thinks his guys can get more than the Nationals are offering, he’s not going to recommend they take an under-market deal.
Potential domino effect: There are plenty of free-agent starting pitchers on the market, but not quite like Strasburg (and Gerrit Cole). If Strasburg signs quickly — and he’s reportedly very open to returning to D.C. — that puts the onus on other World Series-seeking teams to move quickly to land Cole, and then guys like Madison Bumgarner, Zach Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu and on down the list.
Rendon is atop the market for third baseman, but there are other options, too. Josh Donaldson won’t command a deal as long as Rendon, but he was great for the Braves in 2019. And Mike Moustakas has averaged 34 home runs a year the past three seasons. The market for those two would intensify if Rendon returns to the Nationals soon.
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