By Lewis Gould
Several key 2019 Nationals are allowed to sign with any other team they like.
That includes Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, Yan Gomes, Daniel Hudson, Matt Adams, Fernando Rodney and Gerardo Parra.
With that in mind, the Nationals protected themselves in case they lose either of the two biggest names on that list: They extended qualifying offers to both Rendon and Strasburg.
What that means: The Nats offered each player a one-year contract for $17.8 million. The players have 10 days to decide whether to accept or decline the offer. Players almost always decline these offers, because they know they can get even more on the open market. And it’s a stone cold lock that Rendon and Strasburg both will decline the offers they just received.
So why did the Nationals bother to do it? Because if Rendon or Strasburg sign elsewhere, they’ll receive a compensatory draft pick (following the second round in 2020) in return.