Anthony Rendon
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Nationals, Anthony Rendon settle at $18.8 million

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Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is due a $6.5 million salary bump in 2019 after settling with the club prior to Friday’s arbitration deadline. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the two avoided arbitration on a one-year, $18.8 million deal.

This marked the final year of arbitration eligibility for Rendon. The 28-year-old infielder rounded out his sixth season with the team in 2018, batting .308/.374/.535 with 24 home runs, a career-high 44 doubles, a .909 OPS, and 6.3 fWAR through 597 plate appearances. While he’s currently positioned to enter free agency in advance of the 2020 season, there have been plenty of rumors suggesting that a sizable extension is in the works — perhaps something in the neighborhood of seven years and $163+ million. At the very least, it appears to be an agreement both sides are open to discussing in the nine or so months leading up to the 2019 offseason, though nothing is expected to be even close to finalized until Bryce Harper‘s future is decided.

The Nationals also settled with shortstop Trea Turner ($3.725M), right-hander Joe Ross ($1M), and left-handed reliever Sammy Solis ($850K). They’re likely to go to arbitration with outfielder Michael A. Taylor and right-handed reliever Kyle Barraclough, neither of whom settled with the club this week.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play on artificial turf in London

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Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:

Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.

Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.

At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.

Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.

It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.

Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.