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Nationals roster review: Anthony Rendon

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Nationals roster review: Anthony Rendon

Age on Opening Day 2016: 25

How acquired: 1st round pick, 2011 draft

MLB service time: 2 year, 130 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $2.5 million

Contract status: Possibly Super-2 arbitration-eligible in 2016, free agent in 2020.

2015 stats: 80 G, 355 PA, 43 R, 82 H, 16 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 1 SB, 36 BB, 70 SO, .264 AVG, .344 OBP, .363 SLG, .707 OPS, 4 E, 3.6 UZR (at 3B), -1.8 UZR (at 2B), 0.3 WAR

Quotable: "Anthony will be good. It's just a question of a few days." — Matt Williams, March 13, on Anthony Rendon's knee injury. Rendon didn't make his season debut until June 4.

2015 analysis: On the heels of a breakthrough season that saw him finish fifth in NL MVP voting, expectations were sky-high for Rendon. Then a seemingly innocuous knee injury suffered in spring training completely derailed him for 2015. What eventually was diagnosed as a sprained MCL sidelined Rendon until early June (an oblique strain suffered during his rehab assignment helped delay his return) and then only three weeks later he landed back on the DL with a quadriceps strain.

Rendon never did find a consistent groove, vacillating between a hot couple of weeks and then a slump. He was hitting .289 on September 16 but then went 9 for his last 58 to see his season-ending numbers slide a considerable amount.

Rendon's year didn't go according to plan in more ways than one. After bouncing between second and third bases in 2014, he figured to settle in as the everyday third baseman in 2015. But his spring training injury prompted the Nationals to move Yunel Escobar to the hot corner, and by the time Rendon was healthy the club didn't want to make another change. So he wound up starting 59 games at second base, only 19 at third base.

2016 outlook: The rose has come off the bloom somewhat after this disappointing season, but there's still no denying Rendon's ability to be one of the best all-around players in baseball. But he'll need to avoid the nagging injuries that prevented him from finding any level of consistency this year.

The Nationals acknowledged Rendon should be their regular third baseman in 2016, so that move should be permanent. It also should be beneficial to both the individual and the team. Rendon is far better defensively at third base than second base, and perhaps the mere knowledge he'll be able to stay at his natural position will allow him to focus more on his offensive performance.

The Nats' new manager also would be wise not to use Rendon out of the leadoff spot. Matt Williams didn't have much choice late this season, but Rendon's skills just don't translate all that well to the No. 1 spot in the lineup. A full season batting second seems to be best for him and the Nationals.

One other thing to watch this winter: Rendon's contract status. Though he has fewer than three years of big-league service time, he may have accrued just enough to qualify for arbitration as a "Super-2" player. (MLBtraderumors.com projects the Super-2 cutoff to be at 2 years, 130 days, which is exactly where Rendon currently stands.) If he qualifies, Rendon could see his salary spike, though regardless he still won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE