Mike Rizzo has done plenty of celebrating over the last five weeks.
His Nationals won the World Series in an epic seven-game clash with the Astros, and then came away with the Executive of the Year award on Tuesday.
But with the Winter Meetings coming up, it's time to get back to work, and the entire landscape of this free agent class revolves around Washington's two stars in Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.
Plenty has been reported about where each player's interests lie and what teams are gunning for these two postseason heroes. Whether it's the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, etc., the Nationals have serious competition to keep any one of them. Now it's time for them to zero in on a team and make a decision.
Given the number of needs the Nationals have throughout their roster, they'll need to figure out when to pivot if one of those two players doesn't return.
According to Jayson Stark, the Nationals aren't willing to wait very long on Rendon.
How long are the #Nationals willing to wait for Anthony Rendon & Scott Boras to make a decision?— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 3, 2019
Agents & execs who have spoken with Mike Rizzo say he'll want an answer "by the winter meetings or shortly thereafter."
Without one, the Nats will turn to Donaldson & trade options
This might be tricky since his agent is Scott Boras, who's notorious for long negotiations to get his client's the most money he can.
A similar situation played out last winter with Bryce Harper. Harper was the prized free agent, the Nationals weren't all that willing to wait and he ended up signing with the Phillies midway through spring training.
Regarding Stark's mentioning of Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, a potential infield target for the Nationals signed with the Reds on Monday. So if the Nats aren't getting Rendon back, they probably want to know as soon as possible.
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