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Houston native Anthony Rendon says Astros' cheating 'stung a little bit different'

Houston native Anthony Rendon says Astros' cheating 'stung a little bit different'

Members of the Los Angeles Angels addressed the media at Spring Training for the first time on Monday, which meant former National Anthony Rendon had his first opportunity to address the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.

As previously reported by the Washington Post, Rendon confirmed that the Nationals were aware of the Astros’ tactics ahead of the World Series. The Houston native said Washington had a sense of what every team was doing, but what the Astros were doing "stung a little bit different.”

"We were aware of it,” Rendon said. “We were aware of it throughout the entirety of the playoffs. We kind of have a sense of what teams were doing what, and so we can kind of just get a feel of what they might be doing."

Rendon, of course, played a major role throughout the regular season and playoffs as the Nationals battled to secure their first World Series title in franchise history. Coming off his best career season, he then signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels as a free agent this offseason.

The past year has been quite the ride for Rendon, which perhaps is why he was also more forgiving of the Astros than others around baseball. Rendon said he hasn’t lost respect for the team, though “you can definitely view them differently.”

“Everyone’s quick to hammer them down and just kill them,” Rendon said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror, and we’re not perfect people. Whether it’s a speeding ticket or whatever it might be, some of us are trying to get an edge some way or another in life. They happened to get caught for doing it. You can forgive them, but doesn’t mean you have to forget.”

Rendon's new teammate and the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, was not as forgiving. He thought there should have been more punishment for the Astros, a team the Angels face often as AL West division foes.

"It's sad for baseball," Trout said. "It's tough. They cheated. I don't agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys' careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming -- it would be pretty fun up there."

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MLB Rumors: Third basemen the Nationals are reportedly linked to if they don't sign Josh Donaldson

MLB Rumors: Third basemen the Nationals are reportedly linked to if they don't sign Josh Donaldson

Anthony Rendon is a Los Angeles Angel, which now leaves Josh Donaldson as by far the best third baseman available on the free-agent market. 

The Nationals, Rangers and Braves are considered the teams under the most pressure to sign the former MVP, according to Ken Rosenthal and he's reportedly likely to get a four-year deal worth around $100 million. 

For a 34-year-old, that may be too steep a price for some teams despite the fact he hit 37 home runs and drove in 94 RBI last season with Atlanta. 

If the Nationals don't think there's value in signing Donaldson to that kind of deal, it appears they already have a few backup plans in mind. 

According to Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, Washington is looking at Starlin Castro and Maikel Franco. 

Castro played a full 162-game season with the Marlins in 2019, posting a .270/.300/.476 slash line with 22 home runs and 86 RBI. Traditionally a shortstop or second baseman, he's only played a total of 45 games at third base. 

Franco was one of the Phillies' top prospects when he broke into the majors in 2014. He's known for his power at the plate, strong arm at third and surprisingly good range as a fielder. Talent has never been the problem with Franco. 

His plate discipline routinely kept him from achieving his true potential. Last season, he had a .234/.297/.409 slash line with 17 homers and 56 RBI. The Phillies had a need at third base and decided to non-tender Franco, so that should tell you all you need to know. 

Of course, he could have a Carlos Santana-like renaissance after leaving Philly, but I wouldn't count on it. 

So while the price for Donaldson may be steep, there's a reason for it. There aren't many viable options at third after him. It will be up to the Nationals to decide whether the best value will be with Donaldson or the field. 

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In one week, Scott Boras negotiated contract worth almost double what the Nationals sold for

In one week, Scott Boras negotiated contract worth almost double what the Nationals sold for

If you're a team looking to save money signing free agents, you probably don't want to go after a Scott Boras client. 

This winter, he represents Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Mike Moustakas, Dallas Keuchel, Nick Castellanos and Hyun-jin Ryu. 

The first four players mentioned all agreed to contracts within eight days of each other.

Moustakas agreed to a four-year, $64 million with the Reds on Dec. 2. Strasburg returned to the Nationals on a record-breaking seven-year, $245 million contract on Monday, and then Cole broke that record 33 hours later with a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees. 

Then Rendon agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels on Wednesday night, capping off a historic Winter Meetings for the league and Mr. Boras. 

As of Dec. 12 with Keuchel, Ryu and Castellanos still unsigned, Boras has negotiated $878 million worth of contracts this offseason. That's nearly double what the Lerner's paid for the Nationals in 2006 ($450 million). 

Boras will certainly pass the $1 billion mark by the offseason's end, and the Nationals' player development staff had quite a bit to do with it. Say $490 million worth?

The Nationals haven't been linked to any of the aforementioned Boras clients, so they're probably finished negotiating with him for now. Unless they want to trade for Kris Bryant.

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