Some high-ranking club executives believe that third baseman Anthony Rendon will be the first of the mega-dollar free agents to come off the board this winter. Rendon has already had meetings with teams, including the Dodgers and Rangers, and before Rendon reached the open market, Washington made an offer in an effort to keep him.
The 29-year-old Rendon helped lead the Nationals to the World Series title and finished third in the National League MVP balloting last month.
As reported in September, friends of Rendon believe he's not going to take the conventional path through free agency. Rather than look for a long-term deal that lasts into his late 30s, they think he's more interested in a deal in the range of five years, presumably for a higher average annual salary. In fact, some executives believe that Rendon's forthcoming contract could establish a record for highest annual value.
The Rangers will move into a new ballpark next spring, and Rendon, a Texas native, could be the big marquee name on the revamped team.
The Dodgers have coveted Rendon because of his perfect fit with their hitting approach and their financial strategy. Under baseball operations chief Andrew Friedman, they have shied away from doling out deals of more than three-to-five years. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has one more year left on his contract, but he has told reporters that he'd be willing to change position. Turner, like Max Muncy and so many other Dodgers, could move to different spots on the field according to the needs of the day.
Rendon is represented by Scott Boras, who is the agent for many of the big-name free agents this winter. Boras has moved deliberately through his winter work in recent offseasons. Bryce Harper, another Boras client, didn't sign until late February, for example. But other agents expect that because of the high volume of work required to represent Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and others, Boras will get some players signed earlier.
The Dallas Morning News was the first to report Rendon's meeting with the Rangers.