Having lost third baseman Anthony Rendon to the Angels earlier this week, the Nationals have turned their attention to the top free agent remaining on the market, Josh Donaldson, per reports from Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It appears the 34-year-old Donaldson will require a four-year commitment, and the Nationals are “actively engaged” in trying to sign him, according to Nightengale.
If you’re in the market for a third baseman, as the Rendon-less Nationals are, there’s no better option than Donaldson. The former American League Most Valuable Player (2015) is coming off a tremendous season with the Braves in which he slashed .259/.379/.521 (132 wRC+) with 37 home runs and 4.9 fWAR across 659 plate appearances. As a result, Donaldson could secure a payday worth in the $90MM range despite his age, as the demand for quality third basemen seems to outweigh the supply.
Teams that lose out on the Donaldson derby could try to swing a deal for Chicago’s Kris Bryant, yet another former MVP and a rumored trade candidate, but good luck trying to take him from the Cubs. In the Nationals’ case, there’s a “belief” the Cubs would require center fielder Victor Robles in a Bryant package, according to Heyman. As great as Bryant is, though, that’s a nonstarter from the perspective of reigning champion Washington. The Nationals have seen Robles develop into a high-quality starter at the tender age of 22 since he debuted in 2018, and they’re not giving him up.