The Nationals were able to agree to terms on 2019 contracts with Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner before today’s 1 p.m. Eastern time deadline, but couldn’t complete negotiations with Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Barraclough, who now must file for arbitration, according to a source familiar with the decisions.
Players across baseball with three to six years of big league service time were engaged in down-to-the-wire talks today, and there were so many submissions to Major League Baseball headquarters in the final hour that many still had not been processed and announced more than six hours after the deadline passed.
The Nationals and Turner did manage to get their reported $3.725 million deal done early enough to allow for an early afternoon announcement from the club. And optimism from both sides for a deal with Rendon proved accurate, with the team finally announcing the deal shortly before 8 p.m. USA Today reported Rendon will earn $18.8 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility.
Taylor and Barraclough, however, could not work out terms in time according to the source, so they are now required to file for arbitration. The players and the Nationals must each submit competing one-year offers, and a hearing before a three-judge panel will be set for early February.
An important caveat: The two sides can continue to negotiate over the next several weeks, and typically they do strike a deal before ever reaching a hearing.
Rendon made $12.3 million last season, when he hit .308 with 24 homers, a league-leading 44 doubles, 92 RBIs and a .909 OPS. The 28-year-old was projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to make $17.6 million in 2019, his final season of arbitration eligibility.
Complicating Rendon’s case is the fact he and the Nationals have had ongoing discussions about a long-term extension. Though they’ve been unable to find common ground on such a deal yet, they remain hopeful about the possibility of an agreement that would keep the star third baseman in Washington in 2020 (when he’s eligible to become a free agent) and beyond.
Taylor, who made $2.525 million as a first-time arbitration qualifier last season, regressed from his breakthrough 2017, hitting .227 with six homers, 28 RBIs and a .644 OPS over 385 plate appearances and rarely getting a chance to start in August and September.
MLBTradeRumors.com projected the outfielder to earn a slight raise to $3.2 million this season.
Barraclough, acquired from the Marlins in October, made $1.113 million in 2018 and was projected for a slight raise to $1.9 million after posting a 4.20 ERA, 10 saves and 1.329 WHIP in 55 2/3 relief innings.
Turner’s deal wound up more affordable than had been predicted. MLBTradeRumors.com had projected a $5.3 million salary for the shortstop.
Turner did present a bit of an unconventional case, though, because he was one of only a few players who qualified for arbitration before reaching three full years of big league service time. A so-called “Super Two” player, Turner just barely snuck in with 2 years, 135 days of service time.
The 25-year-old hadn’t spent a full healthy season on the major league roster until 2018, when he played in all 162 games and led the National League with 740 plate appearances and 43 steals while batting .271 with a .344 on-base percentage and .760 OPS.
Turner also enjoyed a strong season at shortstop, finishing with a Defensive Runs Saved rating of plus-2 while ranking fourth in the NL with a .980 fielding percentage.
The Athletic was first to report Turner’s 2019 salary figure.