Report: Phillies “All-In”, Will Pursue Anthony Rendon
Much of the chatter among Phillies fans as of late was that the Phillies would not be willing to go near the Competitive Balance Tax threshold in 2020. The salary level often called the "luxury tax" is one the Phillies are fast approaching after agreeing to a reported five-year, $118 million deal with pitcher Zach Wheeler. But the Phillies might not be done adding big-dollar talent.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Phillies plan to pursue free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon:
The Philadelphia Phillies, luxury tax be damned, plan to strongly pursue free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, with third baseman Josh Donaldson as a potential fall-back plan, two people with direct knowledge told USA TODAY Sports.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Phillies have yet to publicly declare their intentions and have not met face-to-face with Rendon.
Nightengale reports that the Phillies still plan to add a starter and a reliever.
The move would reunite Bryce Harper, Rendon, and hitting coach Joe Dillon, all of whom were together on the Washington Nationals. But most importantly, this would add an impact bat at the hot corner that the Phillies have not had since Scott Rolen strolled the Astroturf of Veterans Stadium.
Should the Phillies indeed be looking at adding a third baseman, then maybe this means the Phillies are not such a lock for Didi Gregorius, thought to be their top infield target. With Rendon at third base, the Phillies could keep Jean Segura at shortstop and play Scott Kingery at second base.
Top prospect Alec Bohm could end up trade bait, or learning another position in the minor leagues.
Either way, a Rendon addition would be a high-impact addition for the Phillies. Phillies part-owner John Middleton made his famous "stupid money" comments and was quoted as saying he wanted his "[bleeping] trophy back". This would go a long way towards that goal.
A team that exceeds the Competitive Balance Tax threshold the first time will pay a 20% penalty for the first $40 million over.