All eyes are on the Nationals this offseason with two of their stars, starter Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon, on the free-agent market.
Although both players have spent their entire careers with Washington, owner Mark Lerner is already planning to move on without one of them.
"We really can only afford to have one of those two guys," Lerner told NBC Sports Washington. "They're huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with."
Lerner said the club has made offers to both Strasburg and Rendon but he realizes they could sign elsewhere.
"We can give them a great offer, which we've done to both of those players," he said. "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 Nationals ended last season with a payroll close to $228 million.
Rumors continue to heat up over free-agent starter Gerrit Cole's future. The Yankees are reportedly pursuing both Cole and Strasburg. Will either one of them sign a deal before the Winter Meetings start next week in San Diego?
Here are the latest news and rumors around baseball:
- The Yankees met with Gerrit Cole in California on Tuesday and have made signing him "their clear offseason priority." New York has "ownership-level approval to offer him a record-setting deal." (Jeff Passan, ESPN)
- Howie Kendrick will return to the Nationals on a one-year, $6.25 million contract. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today) The deal includes a mutual option for 2021. (Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic)
- Catcher Alex Avila and the Twins are in agreement on a one-year, $4.25 million deal. Minnesota was looking to add another catcher after Jason Castro left in free agency. (Jeff Passan, ESPN)
- The Rays traded outfielder Tommy Pham to the Padres in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and middle-infield prospect Xavier Edwards. San Diego will also receive another minor league player in the deal. (Jeff Passan, ESPN)