PHILADELPHIA - Winter has rolled around again and the Phillies are reportedly looking to sign another Washington Nationals slugger.
According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are prepared to make a strong run at free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, despite a tight budget.
Philadelphia has been rumored to want to remain under the luxury tax threshold, but Nightengale says a play for Rendon combined with other areas of need on the roster would surely result in 20% penalty on payroll above $208M.
Rendon finished third in National League MVP voting for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals in 2019. The 29-year-old third baseman hit .319 with a 1.010 OPS, 34 home runs and lead the league in doubles (44) and RBI (126).
Nightengale estimates Rendon will demand an 8-year contract that pays north of $250M.
Sources told USA Today that if the Phillies lose the Rendon sweepstakes, Philadelphia will pivot to veteran free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson, a 10 year veteran, drove in 94 runs and launched 37 home runs during his first season in Atlanta. The 33-year-old won an MVP Award in 2015 with Toronto and is a three time all star.
The report estimates that Donaldson could fetch a three or four year deal in the neighborhood of $75M.
Nightengale notes that the Phillies have never exceeded the tax threshhold, even after inking Bryce Harper to a record-setting 13 year, $330M pact last winter, but the penalty won't deter owner John Middleton from being aggressive on the free agent market.