It’s well known that the Nationals hope to work out a long-term deal with third baseman Anthony Rendon before he reaches free agency next winter, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote over the weekend (subscription required) that Rendon and agent Scott Boras have been eyeing something in the vicinity of Jose Altuve’s extension from a year ago.
Altuve was already under contract for two years and $12.5M at the time he signed for an additional five years and $151M, which brought his current contract to a total of $163.5M over seven years. The Nats are already just a few million dollars shy of the luxury tax threshold, and bumping Rendon’s annual value from the reported $18.8M figure to which he agreed on Friday would likely take them over the limit. The Nats have been willing to exceed that threshold for Bryce Harper, however, and perhaps the allure of keeping Rendon from reaching the open market would be incentive enough to do the same.
As Rosenthal explores, the two situations are also somewhat related, as fitting both players onto the payroll would come with luxury repercussions — even when factoring in the likely stream of subsequent moves that would follow a new contract for Harper (e.g. trading a current outfielder).