As we know, 2019 was all about finding out what the Baltimore Orioles had, and learning a few hard lessons. The 2019 Orioles exceeded expectations as set forth on this column when they won more games than the 2018 team. So more is expected next season.
The World Series-bound Washington Nationals are right down the pike, and they enter the fall classic with pieces of their future still in doubt. Mainly, third baseman Anthony Rendon is a free agent after the season. Could the Orioles be in play for Rendon, and would he be willing to come here?
First off, Rendon’s a stud. He’s a career .290 hitter who smacked 34 home runs this year. He’s also well worth the price of admission as a third baseman, and he’s a team leader. Any team would be lucky to have him.
My prediction is that he remains in Washington. He seems very happy there, and by various accounts the franchise has attempted to sign him long term. Yet he’s neglected to accept a deal, presumably because the Nationals haven’t quite reached the number that he and agent Scott Boras want. But make no mistake that Washington is the front runner for Rendon’s services past this season, as well they should be.
However…what if the unthinkable were to occur? What if Washington were to not come up to Rendon’s number? Could he be in play – for the Orioles?
It would stand to reason that a team such as the Orioles would have to blow Rendon away with an offer for him to even consider them. He’s tasting a World Series right now (or he’s about to do so). He’s going to want to go to a contender; obviously a contender who’s capable of paying him his due.
However IF the opportunity to sign a player of his caliber were to come along, I’d say that it’s one that the Orioles should consider. Those same Washington Nationals did something like that when they signed Jayson Werth in 2011. Did they overpay? By all accounts, yes. But Werth helped to put the franchise on the map, and onto a trek that’s now landed them in the World Series in 2019.
That isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, mind you. Washington was a better team in 2011 than the Orioles are now. But you get the point. Werth at the time was a guy who had been a winner in Philadelphia, and who knew how to win. He also provided veteran leadership to a young crop of players.
Again, would Rendon come here? Probably not…at least without a contract with terms well over and above what other teams are offering. But that might be something for the Orioles to consider. You put someone like him in the order with the likes of a Mancini, and that might accelerate your rebuilding process just a bit.