Phillies

What to make of Nationals' reported 7-year offer to Anthony Rendon

What to make of Nationals' reported 7-year offer to Anthony Rendon

For the second straight year, the Nationals have reportedly offered a long-term deal to one of their soon-to-be-free-agent superstars.

The Nats, according to the Washington Post, have offered third baseman Anthony Rendon a seven-year deal worth between $210 million and $215 million.

Last year around this time, the Nationals floated a 10-year, $300 million offer to Bryce Harper. Like the Rendon offer, it was one that sounded good but was almost designed to fail ahead of free agency. The Harper proposal included deferred money all the way through 2052. According to the Post, the Rendon offer was more similar to Max Scherzer's seven-year, $210 million deal, which has deferred money that will be paid off within seven years of its expiration date.

Still, there's no reason for Rendon to forego free agency at this point.

"If you're giving me the opportunity and saying I'm this close from going to go car shopping from multiple lots, instead of staying in one lot, I mean, what would you do?" Rendon said in a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan in D.C. in July.

Rendon, like Harper, is a Scott Boras client. So, too, is the top pitcher in this winter's free-agent market, Gerrit Cole. Our Phillies insider, Jim Salisbury, mentioned on Monday's "At the Yard" podcast that there is an appetite on Boras' part to funnel one of those players to the Phillies, an organization with substantial resources and Boras' most high-profile client: Harper.

While $210-215 million over seven years is an insane amount of money, it's probably not the most Rendon will find. In February, Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies. Arenado is 10 months younger than Rendon and is a more high-profile player, but Rendon might be the better player. His production has been similar to Arenado's over the last three seasons without Rendon playing half his games at Coors Field.

Over those three seasons (2017-19), Rendon has hit .310/.397/.556 with averages of 43 doubles, 28 homers, 106 RBI and 95 runs scored.

Over that same span, Arenado has hit .307/.375/.577 with averages of 37 doubles, 39 homers, 119 RBI and 102 runs scored.

Why would Rendon accept $50 million less?

Rendon is also coming off an MVP-caliber season, even if he figures to lose out to Cody Bellinger in the race. No player in the majors was more consistent than Rendon from Game 1 through Game 162. He maintained a batting average over .300 and an OPS of at least .996 from April 1 through the end of the season.

Rendon led the NL with 44 doubles and led the majors with 126 RBI despite missing 16 games. He set a career-high with 34 home runs, and he did this all while barely striking out. Rendon had 80 walks and whiffed just 86 times in 646 plate appearances.

This first offer from the Nationals won't necessarily be the last. Washington badly wants to keep Rendon. He is not only their best position player but also one of their enormous draft-and-develop success stories. Rendon was the Nats' first-round pick, sixth overall in 2011 out of Rice University. He was a very productive major-leaguer in his first full season back in 2014 but has just gotten better and better and better.

The Phillies could make a run at Rendon. They know they need to improve drastically to make up ground on the Braves and Nationals. What better way than by signing the top position player on the market while also stealing a huge bat from one of your rivals' lineups?

That contract, though, may come close to Harper's, either in total value, annual average value or both.

And consider this: If the Phillies sign Rendon to a contract paying $30 million annually, while also extending J.T. Realmuto this offseason to a deal that averages $20 million per year, then their payroll would be only about $10 million below the luxury tax threshold before they add a single pitcher. And pitching is quite obviously the biggest need.

As outlined here, a Rendon pursuit would be complicated for the Phillies. Their top prospect, Alec Bohm, plays third base. Bohm may need to move to first base eventually, which is Rhys Hoskins' position.

It will be another interesting offseason for the Phillies. It always is when you're one of the teams with the most money and biggest desire to improve.

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Phillies fans, you're gonna love Didi Gregorius based on his Twitter personality

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USA Today Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies fans, you're gonna love Didi Gregorius based on his Twitter personality

MLB free agency is in full swing and the newest addition to the Phillies, Didi Gregorius, has quite the personality on Twitter.

More specifically, he really enjoys tweeting after his team wins ... especially with emojis.

It almost feels like Groundhog Day scrolling through his feed. And by the looks of things, he rarely forgets.

Take a look:

Of course, these are only a few of the many he has tweeted out. If you have the time though, look at the rest — there are definitely some hidden gems.

Will he continue this tradition with his new club? Will we be able to see tweets from him stating that the bullpen was worth four fire emojis? What emojis will he assign for Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins and the rest of the team?

These are the hard-hitting questions we want answered right after the news of a signing breaks — but we'll just have to wait and see once Spring Training comes to a close in a few months.

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Phillies agree to deal with shortstop Didi Gregorius

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NBCSP

Phillies agree to deal with shortstop Didi Gregorius

Updated: 6:28 p.m. 

The Phillies got their pitcher last week.

Now they have their infielder.

The club on Tuesday reached agreement with free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius, according to sources. The deal is for one year and $14 million, according to sources. The New York Post initially reported the agreement.

The signing likely concludes the Phillies' heavy lifting for the offseason. They signed right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million deal last week.

The Phils are still looking for some bullpen help and starting pitching depth, but those are expected to be low-profile additions. 

The Gregorius signing puts the Phils within about $6 million of baseball’s $208 million luxury-tax threshold. Phillies ownership has not ruled out going over the threshold and paying a 20 percent penalty on overages, but the decision to do so might not come until the 2020 season unfolds and the team sees where it is in the standings. General manager Matt Klentak on Monday said he expects the team to contend. The Phils have not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2011.

Gregorius’ addition means Jean Segura will come off shortstop in 2020. He will likely play second base, though a move to third is not out of the question. Scott Kingery will likely fill the remaining spot with Adam Haseley getting a shot to win the center field job.

In Philadelphia, Gregorius will be reunited with Joe Girardi, his manager with the New York Yankees from 2015-2017. Girardi was hired by the Phillies in October.

Girardi does not hide his affection for Gregorius.

“He’s a treat to be around,” Girardi said last week. “He brings a smile every day and works extremely hard. He’s a very talented player. I think there’s 30 teams that would love Didi’s services. I’m a big fan.”

The Phillies’ need for infield help became acute after the team cut ties with second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco last week.

Gregorius, who made $11.75 million with the Yankees last season, turns 30 in February. He hit .277 with a .791 OPS and averaged 24 homers and 81 RBIs with the Yankees from 2016-2018. He played only a half-season as he recovered from elbow surgery in 2019. He hit just .238 but had 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 324 at-bats. By signing a one-year deal, Gregorius can rebuild his value and go back on the free-agent market next season. The Phils can attempt to retain him with a qualifying offer and would receive draft-pick compensation if he leaves.

Last week, Girardi was asked what Gregorius would bring to the Phillies.

“Left-handed bat, power, plays an outstanding shortstop,” Girardi said. “He can play second, as well. He’s a real character guy and he’s a real hard worker that is a really important clubhouse presence. I felt that he was important to the clubhouse in New York in what he brought every day. I’ve always been a big fan of Didi and what’s he’s been able to accomplish. You have to remember, I got him when he first came over and he was replacing a legend (Derek Jeter) and how difficult that was and to see the growth that he made was really pleasing to me.”

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