For the struggling Washington Nationals, the temptation to trade Anthony Rendon before the third baseman leaves in free agency may be too strong
Anthony Rendon‘s days with the Washington Nationals may be numbered.
The 28-year-old is on the final year of his contract, and with the Nationals rapidly falling out of the playoff race the club may look to trade their star third baseman by the July deadline.
Rendon is enjoying the best year of his seven-year career so far in 2019. In 32 games this season, he’s hitting .331 with a career-high 1.086 OPS and eight home runs. He’s putting up the kind of numbers that would make him a valuable trade target for any team looking to upgrade at third base this summer.
Losing Rendon in the same year they watched Bryce Harper leave in free agency would be a bad look for the Nationals. They’ve opened negotiations with him and his agent, Scott Boras, but so far those talks have gone nowhere. If they can’t reach a deal with Rendon by July, it’s a good possibility they will look to get something for him instead of having him walk as a free agent.
The Nationals are just 19-27 in 2019 and eight games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. Their playoff hopes are fading fast, but for these five teams that still have a chance to contend this season, trading for Rendon could be the move that makes the difference between a playoff berth and staying home in October.
1. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees’ injury list would be a decent starting lineup for any team. Sluggers like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have combined to play just 23 games this season, while pitcher Luis Severino has yet to start a game in 2019.
The Yankees’ biggest injury concern is at third base, where Miguel Andujar, coming off a rookie season in 2018 where he hit 27 home runs and drove in 92, is out for the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder. The Yankees have been relying instead on Gio Urshela at third, where he’s started 13 of 16 games so far in May.
Urshela has filled in admirably, hitting .346 with 16 RBI, but the 27-year-old journeyman is only a .247 career hitter and has never hit more than six home runs in a season. That leaves the Yankees as the team most likely to pursue Rendon in a trade.
Even with all their injuries, the Yankees have gone 11-5 in May to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL East lead. The addition of Rendon’s bat in their lineup would go a long way toward ensuring they stay there.