The Phillies’ No. 1 target this offseason is now reportedly 2019 World Series champion and seven-year veteran third baseman, Anthony Rendon.
The Philadelphia Phillies appear to not be phased about possibly exceeding the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history.
Despite nearing the threshold, the club has their eyes set on a top Washington Nationals free-agent for the second consecutive offseason: third baseman Anthony Rendon.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are planing to “strongly pursue” the 2019 All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and 2019 World Series champion. He writes that while the Phillies would still like to pursue another starting pitcher and relief pitching, Rendon has become their “No. 1 target”:
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Phillies have yet to publicly declare their intentions and have not met face-to-face with Rendon. …
Rendon, the marquee position player on the free-agent market, is expected to demand a contract that pays close to the eight-year, $260 million extension Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado received last spring. It may be a shorter deal, but likely would be for at least $35 million a year.
Rendon has played all of his seven seasons with the Nationals, since debuting in 2013. He has finished in the top 11 of the MVP award race four times, including this past season in which he led the National League in doubles (44), and all of baseball in RBI (126), all the while slashing an impressive .319/.412/.598 in 146 games.
The Houston, Texas, native is represented by Scott Boras, the same agent as fellow former National, outfielder Bryce Harper. Rendon and Harper were teammates from 2013 to 2018.
If the Phillies cannot land Rendon, Josh Donaldson is their “potential fall-back plan.” Also, they are “keeping tabs” on free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius, per Nightengale. While the soon-to-be 34-year-old Donaldson would be cheaper than Rendon, Nightengale writes that he likely will receive “at least a three- or four-year contract paying him more than $25 million a season.”
Acquiring Rendon would have a tremendous impact and domino effect on the Phillies’ roster and starting lineup. Managing Partner John Middleton has previously said he does not want to add one player, putting the organization over the luxury tax, just to make them a Wild Card contender.
Rendon, if acquired however, would surely put the Phillies closer, if not near, a National League East title contention.