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Anthony Rendon extension talks come to a 'halt' after he turns down recent offer

Anthony Rendon extension talks come to a 'halt' after he turns down recent offer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Anthony Rendon has noticed. Nolan Arenado, eight years, $260 million to stay in Colorado. Tuesday’s stunning news of Mike Trout’s gargantuan 12-year, $426 million deal. Both extensions.

Back at his locker Tuesday, the news about Trout’s deal spilled out from a flat screen TV in the middle of the Nationals’ vacant clubhouse. Rendon was tossing possessions into a cardboard box to send back to Washington a little more than a week before Opening Day. He pondered Trout’s deal.

“430?” Rendon said. “What do you do with all that money?”

That was an open-ended question, not an indication of Rendon’s negotiation philosophy when talking about a contract extension with the Nationals. Those discussions began more than a year ago. A new deal was offered in late February when Arenado, expected to provide the framework for a future Rendon deal in the District or elsewhere, re-upped with the Rockies. Rendon declined.

“We’ve had some talks in the past,” Rendon told NBC Sports Washington. “I think it’s kind of come to a halt lately. They had an offer out there [around the time of the Arenado deal]. It wasn’t to where we thought we should be. They said we’re going to continue to talk.”

Players appear to be reacting to two chilled winters of free agency, culminating with this offseason’s slog which delayed the conclusion of Bryce Harper’s pursuit of a new deal. The idea of signing an extension -- from upper- to middle-tier players -- is being re-embraced. Rendon has long considered the concept. He is also appreciative of the Nationals’ attempts to retain him.

However, it’s a unique situation considering the client. Recall Rendon made an early spring training statement by pointing out agent Scott Boras works for him, not the other way around. In addition, he’s focused on market value. Both ideas seem basic logic to him, and not specific to baseball. It’s an employee-employer relationship. This employee is paying an agent to work his contract into a place level with comparable employees at other organizations. 

Multiple dynamics are at work. Rendon enters the final year of his contract relaxed about the idea he could remain in Washington or go elsewhere if negotiations don’t pan out. He’s continually touted as one of the game’s better players, despite his efforts to swat back recognition. Nationals managing principal owner Marker Lerner has a distinctly positive view of him.

“We love Tony to death,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington earlier in spring training. “He’s certainly one of the greatest players in the game today. He’s an even finer person. His activities with the youth baseball academy back in D.C. are phenomenal. He does it under the radar. It’s very important to him. Just a great example of the way a professional athlete should conduct himself. Like I said, he’s one of my favorites for a reason.”

Rendon’s reticent public personality makes this a trickier process than most. Here’s what he is the last three seasons on average: 128 OPS-plus, 41 doubles, 23 home runs, premier defense at third base. Here’s what he is not: attached to the game as the end-all, be-all of his life.

“I feel like with those individuals -- with Arenado, when you have a talent like that who’s just as good as those other three guys that signed those big deals -- and Colorado understood that, so maybe they didn’t want to lose him,” Rendon said. “Whether that being Nolan saying he wanted to sign an extension because he didn’t want to test free agency or maybe it was Colorado saying that we don’t want to lose this awesome player that we have. So, I think the Angels maybe thought the same way because that guy is pretty good, too. 

“But I think as long as -- I think if your identity is not in the game, if you’re who you are as a person, you’re not using this to base who you are as a person. … Unless your identity is in the game, I feel like you shouldn’t be looking for that. If [an extension] happens, it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”

Rendon revisited that last line at the close of the conversation: “If it happens…” Then drifted off.

The Nationals tried. Again. It hasn’t happened yet.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Nationals lose second straight to Marlins

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Nationals lose second straight to Marlins

The Washington Nationals fell to the Miami Marlins 9-3 Saturday night. Here's the latest Nationals and Marlins news:

Player Notes: 

NATIONALS:

Max Scherzer took the loss against the Marlins Saturday, allowing 11 hits and seven runs (six earned) over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked none, but gave up too many hard hits in the loss. 

First baseman Matt Adams drove in two early runs and had a multi-hit day, filling in well for Ryan Zimmerman. He has been a bright spot off the bench for the offense. 

Third baseman Anthony Rendon saw his hitting streak snap after going 0-for-1. He was hit by a pitch on his left elbow in his second plate appearance and left the game shortly thereafter. His status is considered day-to-day.

MARLINS: 

Infielder Brian Anderson stayed hot, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. He also walked twice and scored two runs. His RBI hit started the scoring for the Marlins in the first inning.

Infielder Starlin Castro went 2-for-5 with 2 RBI in the win, with both RBI singles coming off Nationals ace Max Scherzer. He also stole his first base of the season.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson had two hits, including a home run, in Saturday's 9-3 win. His homer gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish, and he helped add insurance runs with his sacrifice fly later in the game.

Injuries:

3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow, day-to-day

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-Day IL

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-Day IL 

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-Day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-Day IL

Coming Up: 

Sunday, 4/21: Nationals @ Marlins, 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park

Monday, 4/22: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field

Source: Rotoworld

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What To Watch: Nationals try to avoid a sweep in Miami

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What To Watch: Nationals try to avoid a sweep in Miami

The Nationals have dropped two games to the Marlins already. Can they salvage a win in game three? Here are three things to watch for.

1. How healthy are the Nationals? Washington has been without Trea Turner for a couple weeks, and now two other star hitters look banged up. Anthony Rendon left Saturday’s game in the third inning after being hit by a pitch on the elbow. He stayed in to run the bases, but did not come out to the field in the bottom of the inning. With his blistering start to 2019, the Nationals will be hoping for good news on his injury long term.

Victor Robles was shaken up in the game as well. The speedy center fielder was sprinting back for a ball and made a terrific snag, but lost his balance and crashed head first into the hard wall. It wasn’t clear on the replay if Robles’ head or shoulder bore the brunt of the impact, but he looked out of sorts and allowed a runner to score from second base on the sacrifice fly.

The Nationals can’t afford any more injuries than they’ve already had.

2. Can the backups stay hot? Howie Kendrick and Matt Adams aren’t slated to be regular starters in the Nationals lineup, but they’ve been the team’s two best hitters (not named Anthony Rendon) so far in 2019. Both are hitting the ball hard, and the two combined to drive in all three runs scored by Washington Saturday night.

If Rendon does end up missing any games, Kendrick’s bat will play a major role for a team looking to stay afloat in an uber-competitive National League East.

3. How will Stephen Strasburg pitch? The Nationals haven’t gotten stellar performances on the mound from Anibal Sanchez or Max Scherzer in Miami, so they’ll be hoping Strasburg can turn it around.

Strasburg has scuffled a bit this season as well, with a 5.56 ERA, though he does have 28 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched. With the bullpen maybe turning it around, the starting rotation will need to find more consistency moving forward.

Download the MyTeams app (https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/myteams-nbc-sports) for coverage from NBC Sports Washington of the Nationals/Marlins game on Sunday. The game broadcast will be at 1:10 PM ET on 106.7 the Fan and MASN.

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