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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Nationals owner Mark Lerner says team can’t afford Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon

The prime question as soon as Stephen Strasburg opted out of his contract was this: Could the Nationals afford to bring back Strasburg and Anthony Rendon? According to managing principal owner Mark Lerner, the answer is no.

“We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Lerner told Donald Dell in an exclusive interview. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”

Lerner’s public stance suggesting Strasburg and Rendon is an either-or proposition for the defending World Series champions is new. Is it surprising? Not necessarily. Lerner could flatly state the organization is going to find a way to pay both. However, that’s poor negotiating. Being in between serves multiple needs: It keeps the door open on each player; it stirs the market without roiling it; it prepares fans for an outcome they don’t prefer.

Lerner has not hesitated to comment on pending and enormous free agent situations since becoming the more outward face of the team’s ownership group. His father, founding principal owner Ted Lerner, has stepped back, though remains the patriarchal voice on large expenditures. Here, like last year, Mark Lerner has answered early December questions about free agency with eyebrow-raising candor. His declaration about Strasburg and Rendon comes almost a year-to-the-day after he said about Bryce Harper, “I don’t really expect him to come back at this point. I think they’ve decided to move on.”

Well, this is one heck of a thing to announce when your season ticket holders are considering renewals….

 

QLE Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:33 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: anthony rendon, cheap owners, nationals, stephen strasburg

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   1. The Duke Posted: December 06, 2019 at 05:37 AM (#5906157)
Everyone always thinks these owners are posturing - I generally find they say pretty much say what they mean. GMs, that’s a different story. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither comes back which leads to some interesting questions about what they then do
   2. Joey B. Posted: December 06, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5906172)
If neither one of them comes back, that will not go over well at all. That would be downright Marlins-esque.

I still think Strasburg will work out a deal and come back.

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