The Philadelphia Phillies cashed in on the free agent market by signing pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year $118 million deal on Wednesday, and rumor has it they may not be done dealing.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Friday that the Phillies plan to “strongly pursue” free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Rendon will command another huge contract, likely in the ballpark of Nolan Arenado’s $260 million extension over eight years that he received from the Rockies last spring. Nightengale reported that Rendon might be looking for a shorter deal than Arenado, but is still expecting to command around $35 million per season, which would put the Phillies over the $208 million luxury tax threshold.
Philadelphia spent big on Bryce Harper before the 2019 season, and bringing in both Wheeler and Rendon would likely put them — on paper at least — somewhere near the top of the National League, right with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers have also been in the mix for Rendon, and reportedly met with him on Tuesday. Rendon has been linked to the Dodgers all off-season, with Jeff Passan even saying that he is among the free agents that Andrew Friedman has liked the most in his tenure with the Dodgers.
Via @JeffPassan "I don't know that there have been FA of that caliber since Andrew Friedman came to Los Angeles who the Dodgers have liked as much as they do Cole and Rendon"
— Ralph Mason (@Ralph_MasonJr) November 6, 2019
If Friedman really does like Rendon as much as he says he does, then he needs to act soon. Along with the Phillies, the Rangers from Rendon’s home state of Texas are expected to make a strong push, so there is no time for Friedman to waste.
Focus squarely on Rendon for the time being. The acquisitions give them some level of cost certainty for the time so they can know exactly how far they can stretch to get Rendon and play the waiting game that will be necessary.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) December 7, 2019
After years of striking out on top free agents, Friedman cannot afford to miss out again this year.