The Nationals are still interested in extending long-time third baseman Anthony Rendon, general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Saturday. The club tendered a contract to Rendon and six of their other players prior to the non-tender deadline on Friday, but stand to lose their star infielder when he approaches free agency in 2020.
While any concrete negotiations appear to be a ways off, there’s no denying that the 28-year-old Rendon has provided quite a bit of value to the team over the last six seasons. He ramped up to another career-best performance in 2018 and slugged .308/.374/.535 with 24 home runs, 44 doubles, and 6.4 fWAR over 597 PA for the second-place Nationals. He’s also a force to be reckoned with at the hot corner, and was graded the fourth-most valuable third baseman in the league behind the Athletics’ Matt Chapman, Mariners’ Kyle Seager, and Rockies’ Nolan Arenado.
Exactly what kind of deal is on the table remains to be seen, though it’s been widely speculated that Rendon is in line for a big payday — perhaps something in the range of five years, $125 million — given his immense talent and relative youth. It doesn’t hurt, either, that he’ll have agent Scott Boras advocating for him when the Nationals get serious about locking him up for the next few years.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.