The Nationals’ best position player by a wide margin is Anthony Rendon. This is not a subjective opinion — it’s an opinion backed up by independent statistics. TTB has put together the following for 4 years: 6.4, 4.3, 6.7 and 5.5 fWAR (2015 was destroyed by injuries). This is superstar stuff, and it should be the stuff of someone who is on the all-star team every year, but instead Anthony Rendon has never played in the all-star game for 2 reasons: 1) Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant 2) Anthony doesn’t draw attention to himself.
Anthony Rendon is an interesting study. He is a great player who plays the game all out and produces top results year in year out, but Tony is not a baseball fan, and his disposition doesn’t change much win or lose, and that fact alone drives fans crazy at times. Fans lose sleep over every minute detail of every game, Tony does it between the lines and then he goes on with his life.
Rendon is also entering the last year of team control in 2019, and after the Harper circus many fans would rather have the team deal its best player than go into another ‘lame duck’ season like they had previously with Bryce Harper. I am 100% against this line of thinking, If the team plans to contend in 2019, they can’t trade its best player for a potential prospect who is extremely unlikely to be in Rendon’s class. I’d go further and say that the team should at least be as committed to signing Rendon long-term as they are to signing Harper. In my opinion, Rendon is a better player than Harper in a more important position without the drama.
I think the Nats and their fans will rue the fact that they flushed 2018 down the drain, and this was absolutely a year where their competition was not quite ready to dethrone them. Winning back the division crowns won’t be easy going forward. The Braves are loaded with young talent, and the Phillies will throw barrels of money at their team, and the Mets may have the best starting rotation in the division. The Nats will have to be very good to return to the top and losing Rendon is a bad approach IMO. As long as Max Scherzer leads the rotation the Nats owe it to their fans to field the strongest possible team and that must include Anthony Rendon.