The Nationals tendered contracts to Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark, and Michael A. Taylor today, procedural moves that needed to be completed before an 8 p.m. deadline that presented many other clubs with far more pressing decisions.
In previous years, the Nats have faced some tough choices at this deadline, opting to non-tender players like Ben Revere, Craig Stammen, John Lannan and Jesus Flores whose performance didn’t match the salaries they would have been guaranteed to make via the arbitration process.
This year, though, the club has only three arbitration-eligible players, and all three are established regulars who figure into the team’s 2018 plans at their projected salaries.
That made for a drama-free deadline day, with the Nationals potentially more interested in players who were non-tendered by other clubs and now become available to sign as free agents.
The Nats traditionally have had far more arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man roster, but after watching many of their homegrown players accrue more than six years of big league service time they’re left with only three who fall into this category this winter. All will receive raises through the arbitration process.
Rendon is in line for a significant raise after his MVP-caliber performance, in which he hit .301 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs, a .403 on-base percentage and .937 while tying Giancarlo Stanton for the league lead with a 6.9 WAR, according to FanGraphs’ calculating method).
The 27-year-old third baseman, who finished sixth in National League MVP voting, is projected to earn a salary of $11.5 million, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, up from $5.8 million this season. With four years and 130 days of major league service time, Rendon is eligible to become a free agent after the 2019 season.
Roark had a down year, but still stands to get a raise from his $4.315 million salary via a process that universally favors players. The 31-year-old right-hander went 13-11 with a 4.67 ERA in 32 games (30 starts). MLBTradeRumors.com projects Roark to make $7.5 million next season, his second as an arbitration-eligible player. Like Rendon, he’s due to become a free agent after the 2019 season.
Taylor will reap the benefits of a breakthrough season in which he hit .271 with 19 homers, 53 RBIs and an .806 OPS and then shined on the national stage during the postseason. The 26-year-old outfielder is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and stands to get a raise from $557,900 this season to $2.3 million, per MLBTradeRumors.com projections. He’ll become a free agent after the 2020 season.