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Scott Boras: It's the Nationals' move in Anthony Rendon contract talks

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USA TODAY Sports

Scott Boras: It's the Nationals' move in Anthony Rendon contract talks

CLEVELAND -- Scott Boras made his way into the American League All-Stars’ press conference Monday, wading through a sea of reporters and in between podiums dotted with clients.

One of his main ones, and perhaps the biggest in the upcoming offseason, Anthony Rendon, was not with the National League group, which rolled in 30 minutes later. Rendon remains in Washington to fix his tight left hamstring and quad, which has been nagging him for more than a month.

But, he was finally named to an All-Star team for the first time, giving Boras and Rendon further leverage when they discuss his contractual future. Boras, Rendon and the team have been working on an extension for years. Of late, those conversations have slowed.

When asked Monday if Rendon remains open to discussing a contract extension as the season moved along, Boras told NBC Sports Washington, “I think he’s focused on the season.”

Boras, as he does, mostly touted his client’s ability and how it is relevant in the marketplace. Rendon is finally graduating from being labeled "underrated" to being appreciated among the game’s elite. Without Bryce Harper in Washington, he has become the central point of the offense, in addition to being an elite defender at third base.

“I think our data today shows that he’s on the way to a six-WAR season again,” Boras said Monday ahead of the Home Run Derby. “That would be three in a row, and there’s only one other player in baseball who's done that, and that would be Mike Trout. The status of Anthony is starting to reveal itself; the importance he has to a team.

"As to what the Washington ownership does with that in the long run, they’ve made some good business decisions in the past, and just kind of hope for them and everyone else... they’re great people to work with. I don’t know what their diagnostics are, but we’ll see as we approach the offseason.”

Boras was in Washington over the weekend. He cautioned not to read into that since he has multiple clients on the roster and was on a four-city tour before coming to Cleveland for the All-Star festivities. This, of course, could be a plain truth or posturing.

“I go to a lot of ballparks. It doesn’t mean we’re investing into anything that’s relevant to contract terms,” Boras said.

However, the overall tone of his comments Monday when asked about Rendon’s contract shifted more toward the future. Rendon, 29, told NBC Sports Washington at spring training that talks had come to a “halt,” then later followed with a summation of his stance on the situation, which he has since repeated: “If [an extension] happens, it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”

When asked further Monday about the overall situation, Boras intimated the onus was on Washington’s ownership to fuel the next step.

“Ted and the Lerner family, and the organization, we’ve always worked out things -- usually,” Boras said.

“There are times that they make decisions and we make decisions, and I think they’ve been very good decisions for all parties involved. When they sit down and look at where their franchise is going, that’s a direction they have to give us. Obviously, they have to make those decisions. Rendon is a superstar and that is a major decision in their franchise. I don’t ask. I just go and prepare for our meetings and we talk and kind of listen to what they tell us they want to do. It’s really in their corner as to how we go from there.”

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Local pizza chain continues to troll Bryce Harper with deal

Local pizza chain continues to troll Bryce Harper with deal

Are you a Nationals fan, a pizza lover, and still a tad bitter that Bryce Harper left the nation's capital for a mega-contract with the Phillies?

Well, you're in luck.

Philadelphia heads to Washington for a rare five-game series (Tuesday's doubleheader is a makeup game) on Monday, and barring a miracle, the final time the Phillies will face the Nationals in 2019. 

&Pizza, a Washington, D.C.-headquartered build-your-own pizza spot, is offering a promotion for every time Harper strikes out against his former team.

After every strikeout, fans will have exactly three minutes to text '#UROUT' to #200-03 in order to receive a promotional code. In return, each customer will be sent a code that will allow them to purchase a $3 pizza through online ordering or the mobile app. The full terms of the sweepstakes can be found here.

In his first season with the Phillies, Harper has had mixed results against his former club. In 48 at-bats, the 26-year-old has 12 hits (.250 average), two home runs and eight RBIs. 

But as far as team success, the Nationals have had the last laugh in the first year in the post-Harper era. Entering Sunday, with nine games remaining, the Nationals currently hold the top slot in the NL wild card race.

Things have not gone as well for the Phillies, who entered Sunday five games back of the second wild card spot with just nine games to go.

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Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Back before all this mania, Miami, as putrid as its season would be, loomed as a factor.

Handling the Marlins would be key for any contender. It wasn’t a question of winning, but of how much winning would occur against one of the league’s worst teams.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win in a sparsely attended Marlins Park, the Nationals moved to 14-3 against Miami this season. They are 16 games over. 500 for the year. They are plus-11 against Miami alone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered again, Trea Turner hit two homers, and Daniel Hudson pitched two innings to earn the save. So, the Nationals, 84-68, hold a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot. Milwaukee won again, joining a long list of teams to beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates since the post-All-Star-break portion of the schedule began. Pittsburgh may be the league’s worst team, at the moment, and the Brewers host it for two more this weekend.

Trouble is brewing for Chicago. It lost again to St. Louis -- this time a 2-1 mid-day defeat in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost four in a row. They are three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Brewers. Their path to 90 wins, which may ultimately be the threshold for postseason entrance, is narrowing.

The Mets won their third consecutive game. They are hanging around, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers with nine remaining on the schedule. Their wild-card elimination number is six.

News for Philadelphia is more dire. The Phillies dropped to 78-74 Friday night following a 5-2 loss in Cleveland. They are now five behind Milwaukee. Their wild-card elimination number is a mere five. 

Which brings us to the more detailed math portion of this program. Here are the postseason chances for each team, according to fivethirtyeight.com:

Nationals, 96 percent

Brewers, 84 percent

Cubs, 15 percent

Mets, 5 percent

Phillies, less than one percent

Coming up Saturday:

St. Louis at Chicago, 2:20 p.m., Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Quintana (13-8, 4.37)

New York at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m., Wheeler (11-7, 4.09) vs. DeSclafani (9-9, 3.93)

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87)

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m., Vargas (6-8, 4.48) vs. Plesac (8-6, 3.64)

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m., Marvel (0-2, 9.00) vs. Davies (10-7, 3.70)

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