Anthony Rendon hasn't won an MVP yet, but he's hoping to get paid like one.
The Washington Nationals third baseman, who's just one year away from free agency, is reportedly seeking a contract that's in line with the seven-year, $163.5-million deal Jose Altuve signed with the Houston Astros before the 2018 season, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Altuve signed his extension with Houston shortly after being named the 2017 AL MVP as one of the biggest stars on a World Series-winning club. He was coming off his age-27 season at the time.
Rendon turns 29 in June, and although he may not have the hardware to match Altuve - he's made no World Series or All-Star Game appearances and has just one Silver Slugger award - he's quietly morphed into one of the game's finest players. By Fangraphs' variation of wins above replacement, only Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, and Matt Carpenter have been more valuable among third basemen than Rendon since he debuted in 2013.
The infielder just finished crafting the best year of his career, slashing .308/.374/.535 (137 OPS+) with 24 homers, 92 RBIs, 88 runs scored, and an NL-best 44 doubles for the Nationals. His 13.7-percent strikeout rate was tied for 20th in the league, and only 0.4 points behind that of Altuve.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said last month that extending Rendon is a priority for the team this winter. Rendon is represented by Scott Boras, who negotiated Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer's mega-deals with the Nationals. Boras also represents Bryce Harper.
Rendon is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $17.6 million in 2019, over $5 million more than his salary last year.