We have to hand it to Nationals owner Mark Lerner, he gets straight to the point.
Just months after winning the first World Series in franchise history, Lerner went on the record stating the team cannot afford both of their stud free agents -- Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon.
“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.”
The Nationals spending habits, or lack thereof, were well-documented last offseason when they let Bryce Harper walk to a division rival in the Phillies. While that worked out in the long run, there's no guarantee lightning will strike twice, and Washington ought to start thinking about which player they value most and be sure to lock them up long-term.
“We’re pursuing them, we’re pursuing other free agents in case they decided to go elsewhere,” Lerner said. “Again, it’s not up to us. We can give them a great offer -- which we’ve done to both of those players. They’re great people. We’d be delighted if they stay. But it’s not up to us, it’s up to them. That’s why they call it free agency.”
The Nats ability to retool after losing an essential piece of their World Series corps -- whichever player that may be -- will determine their place as a National League power. For now, like Lerner, we wait.