On the heels of the first World Series championship in franchise history, the Nationals could look a lot different when they open the season in New York.
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The man tasked with maximizing any roster Mike Rizzo gives him is Davey Martinez, who sat down with our own Todd Dybas to address his mindset as Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon headline the team's free-agent class.
"I wouldn't say you worry about it," he said. "But you build relationships with these guys, and all of a sudden they become free agents and you can sign with whoever you want."
The Nationals took plenty of heat from the fan base after Mark Lerner said the team could not afford to bring back both Rendon and Strasburg. Scott Boras, who represents both players, then cryptically scoffed at the notion in a story by Ken Rosenthal.
But neither player has signed with anyone yet, and Martinez voiced confidence in his front office.
"I know our ownership, [Mike Rizzo], we're very competitive," he said. "They're going to do everything they can to keep us competitive for next year and years to come.
"But that being said, I love those guys, every one that's a free agent, I love them all."
A number of big market contenders have expressed interest in Strasburg and Rendon. The Yankees, Dodgers and Padres have expressed interest in Strasburg, though the Yankees reportedly believe he will return to DC.
The Phillies, Rangers and Dodgers are the teams rumored to be in on Rendon for big money as well.
Sometimes when big spenders are trying to sway free agents away from their incumbent teams, reminding players of the advantages of familiarity and continuity can go a long way. But for Martinez, his strategy is to give them all the space they need to make their decision.
"They're free," he said. "And that's the beauty of this game that at some point you become a free agent and you get to explore and look around and see other teams.
"They've got a lot of decisions to make for not only them but for their families," he said. "So I kind of let them be and let them decide on what they want to do."
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