The announcement was delayed a bit, but the Nationals did agree to terms with all three of their arbitration-eligible players before today’s 1 p.m. deadline, avoiding hearings with Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and Michael A. Taylor.
All three players agreed to one-year contracts, the club announced more than an hour after Major League Baseball’s deadline passed. Given the overload of similar deals being struck around the sport at the same time, it’s not uncommon for the formal announcement to be delayed while all the contracts are processed.
Terms on Rendon’s deal weren’t immediately known, but the third baseman was expected to receive a substantial raise from his $5.8 million salary last season after hitting .301 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs, a .937 OPS and a 6.9 WAR that tied Giancarlo Stanton for tops in the National League.
MLBTradeRumors.com projected Rendon to make $11.5 million this season.
With a 2018 contract now finalized, the Nationals and Rendon may begin to seriously discuss a long-term extension. The 27-year-old is eligible to become a free agent after the 2019 season, making this winter an opportune time for the Nats to attempt to lock him up. Both general manager Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras said last month they were open to long-term discussions once they completed this year’s arbitration process.
“It’s something we’ll certainly discuss,” Rizzo said. “Anthony’s a big part of what we do here, a homegrown player that’s a great performer and a guy that’s a core piece of our organization.”
“That’s always in discussion,” Boras said last month at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “But those things are usually more things we discuss in January.”
Roark, meanwhile, agreed to a deal that will pay him $6.475 million, up from his $4.315 million salary during what proved to be an erratic 2017 season, according to a source familiar with the contract. The 31-year-old went 13-11 with a 4.67 ERA in 32 games (30 starts) but improved during the second half when he posted a 3.90 ERA. Like Rendon, Roark is eligible for one more year of arbitration before he can become a free agent following the 2019 season.
Taylor was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and took advantage of his breakthrough season to earn a nice raise. After hitting .271 with 19 homers, 53 RBIs and an .806 OPS, and also being named a finalist for a Gold Glove Award, the center fielder sees his salary rise from $557,900 to $2.525 million, according to a source familiar with the terms.
In finalizing deals with all three of these players, the Nationals avoid going to any arbitration hearings for the third straight year. The last time they needed a hearing before a three-person panel with in 2015 with reliever Jerry Blevins, who won his hearing.
Update: Rendon and the Nationals settled at $12.3 million, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.