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.
This would be a boon for Washington.
Yeah. 4 years at $22+ million a year is a lot for a 34 year old though. Especially when he’s as injury prone as Donaldson. I would offer 4 years $80 mill. He is gonna be pushing 39 by the time that contract is over and with the way he swings the bat, whenever he falls off at the plate he’s gonna fall off hard. He walks a lot which is good but once he can’t catch up to the fastball it won’t matter. He is basically strictly a power hitter and once he stops hitting all these home runs he will turn into an absolute strikeout machine at the plate. I love the guy and want him back in Atlanta but that 4th year is almost guaranteed to be a total waste. I’m not even sure how he will be during his age 36 season which would only be the third year. Now that the steroid era is over it seems that the few players that age gracelfully are all pitchers.
I agree totally StandUp. He may want a fourth year but he also could be waiting in February trying to get it even after the contracts just signed. Scherzer is great but is owed through I think 22. Strasberg too. Add in trying to extend Soto and Robles and the team becomes financially stalled from making more moves unless there’s a big CBA change.
Injury prone? One injury. Come on.
Donaldson just turned 34 in December. So for a 4 year deal he will be 37 when it is complete…not pushing 39 lol.
Plus if Atlanta signed him and got 1 WS ring I dont care how bad he is the last year it would be worth jt.
How many 37 year old third basemen have started for a WS winner? Are going to move him to first the second part of the contract? As great as a healthy Donaldson is, at most 3 years given his age. More likely, I’d not even go that high. Maybe two + a mutual option that guarantees him say $$55m if the team opts out.
Lol, then your team won’t get him, plain and simple. He’ll easily get 3 guaranteed years at somewhere in the $20-25m range. 4th year will likely be needed to outbid the other teams.
Look at what 3rd baseman make and look what centerfielders make. It would cost Robles and 2 top prospects for Bryant. Nats fan should appreciate Robles and don’t want to trade for Bryant but Cubs wouldn’t trade Mike Schmidt jr for just Robles . They need pitching prospects with a bat or they don’t trade Bryant . If Nats are paying 22 million why didn’t they spend on Rendon?
I agree. He will most likely get four years but will probably be very good for the first two years. After that, it will probably be downhill pretty fast. But then again, maybe he hits like Howie Kendrick. Very doubtful though.
So Dewey what is the age limit for third baseman to be allowed to start for a WS champ?
Does 36 work? 35? 34? Interesting how you blow off those years and only focus on the 4th year and with no valid reason to think that a team cannot win with a 37 year old at 3b anyway. Would it not depend on the rest of the team
How will he be 36 in the 3rd year and then pushing 39 when the contract is over after the 4th year?
U understand your concern, but would you really draw your line below his market value by just $2MM on an eight-figure contract and risk not signing either of the two bet 3B option on the market?
JD has had 1 calendar year of injuries. That’s it. He is older and it’s a bit of a risk. But he is not injury prone and he was healthy last year, all year. Plus he went vegan and for those that have done this, it’s such a huge difference in muscle health and inflammation as a whole. This will not make him immune, but certainly helps for sure.
since when did batting .259 at age 34 put you in stud category? 90% of power hitters begin their decline at age 34. If the decline is slow and he loses just 5 points a season off his avg., by the end of the 4 yr. deal, he will be batting .239 & his power numbers will have dropped too. He’s only worth a 2 year deal.
Coach Him – “90% of power hitters begin their decline at age 34.”. Where did you get that stat from?
Batting average is one of the least important stats for a power hitter. If he hits 30hrs batting 250 or above is perfectly acceptable and with his defense makes him certainly ly elite. Do you not agree? If not then you are most likely alone in your thinking.
It was just a short time ago he couldn;t throw the ball 3 feet. There is zero chance that the Nat’s will get involved with Donaldson. If they do the only offer would 1 year.
hoya – Did you read the article? “Nationals are “actively engaged” in trying to sign him”.
Have you not paid attention to the Nats over the years. This is.something they would and are absolutely considering. And they should. As they are. Otherwise they would already be out if only offering 1 year. Seems a not very smart comment.
So what you’re telling us is that the Cubs arent really going to slash any salary after all!?
Donaldson is the way to go for the Nats. Robles bWAR in 2019 was higher than Bryant’s, Kris also followed up an injury plagued season with a down season. The diminishing exit velocity, high cost and approach FA really sour me on a KB trade.
lmao yeah that 88 OPS+ on Robles is a keeper. Basically he’s Albert Almora with speed and playing time.
Robles was worth 4 wins last year. Almora was worth -1. Negative one. He couldn’t dream of being the player that Robles is.
Just because you don’t hit 35 homers or hit .300, it doesn’t mean you’re not valuable, and Robles does everything well even if he won’t be a difference-making hitter.
Cubs already have a great defensive outfielder who struggles to hit.
Not to mention that Robles just finished his rookie year. His upside is much greater
Still higher bWAR last season than Bryant.
We also know who Albert Almora is already. Robles is still a rookie; could well end up like Almora but also could become a superstar.
Vandals Took The Handles
Robles has the characteristics of a young Roberto Clemente. Same build. Same speed. Same arm. Same defense. His hitting needs to be more consistent, Again, not unlike Clemente in his early years.
Stating that Robles is a future HOF player is obviously a long-shot. He and Soto are buds and push one another each day. The Nationals have 2 stars there to go along with Turner that will form the core of an annual contender for at least the next 5 years.
Mike Rizzo is a 100% baseball guy – from the ground up. No way he trades Robles for almost anyone in MLB – surely not for 2 years of Kris Bryant – basically a one-dimensional power hitter. Fact is – Rizzo knew that Robles made Bryce Harper expendable. Robles has a higher potential ceiling…..and right now, he’s extremely cheap.
True. Almora really does nothing well. He was sold as a great defender but 2019 proved that was not the case. He can’t hit, doesn’t take walks, and had average – below average speed. Cut your losses.
Vandals, you had me until you called Bryant one-dimensional.
The guy hits for power, average, is a plus-plus runner, and he adds versatility to the defense by being able to play average to above-average defense at 3B, LF, RF, and 1B.
Bryant has power and average but to say he’s a “plus-plus runner” is laughable. Robles is a plus-plus runner. Bryant may be a smart runner but not plus-plus. Also, Bryant is more below average defensively than above average. He has a career .951 fielding percentage and just made 13 errors (top 10 in MLB at 3B) at a position he didn’t even play the entire season.
Their core starts with Max and Stephen. Sotomayor on the other side of the ball. Robles is a good looking young player but not a core building block in my eyes.
Starlin Castro and Travis Shaw.
What an absurd ask from the Cubs for a player with 2 years of control left.
How do you expect a team to give up on a rookie CF coming off a 4 WAR season and a Gold Glove nomination without a clear replacement? Hell, Robles had a higher bWAR last year than Bryant
I think Bryant is closer to a “really good” player and not an MVP player. I’d take Anthony Rizzo over Bryant any day.
Yeah but Bryant has more versatility and speed.
Jut because Cubs have played him at different positions doesn’t mean he’s versatile. He’s not an elite defender, so they’ve gotten his elite bat on the lineup by trying to find ways of hiding him defensively.
Doesn’t hurt to ask. Old school mentality and it would be seriously considered. These new contract deals however make it unlikely any star near the top of their free agent class will extend prior to letting the market dictate their price.
How did the numbers that matter stack up between the players? I don’t trust “stats” that fluctuate between different sites.
Bryant had three year stretch that was pretty remarkable. Injury plagued year in 18 but a pretty decent bounce back last year. I think 19 is more his floor for the next 4-5 years.
You ask for what you want. They don’t have to trade Bryant.
At least they didn’t ask for Juan Soto
Braves learned from last year not bringing back Suzuki and Sanchez, or did they..
I see the Nats signing him
Unfortunately, I feel the same way. Keeping him from ATL is as big as signing him. Makes too much sense. Hoping the Braves pony up what’s needed.
I see the Nats signing him
I see the Nats signing him
I see dead people.
I see dead people
I see dead people.
We heard you the first time Stash.
I’d do Robles for Bryant
Would you do Robles for Bryant on the condition that Bryant signs a team friendly extension like 5 years, $100m total?
3/60 ok. More than three, fuhgeddaboutit.
If the Bosox reeeeaaaly wanted to shake things up this seems to be a good market to dangle Devers.
Not that I want them to or they likely would. But it would be interesting to get offers on him.
They won’t do that
BoSox are not dangling Devers. Not a chance.
I agree with Bloom in charge, it will be next year before that happens as afterwards he’ll get expensive real quick. The Tampa way of doing things. I realize I’m the one always telling others to relax so before everyone goes nuts, realize I’m saying this 80% tongue in cheek. It’s just frustrating seeing a Boston team purposely regressing. True they stole a championship in 2013 but at this time in December 2012, what Boston fan was thinking that? Last year was not 2012 but man I feel like I’ve aged 10 years in the one year since watching the last duck boat parade.
I don’t think the Cubs are going to deal one of their biggest trade chips for a CF. I like Robles, but starting pitching is what they need. I think they are pretty serious about Akiyama to play CF if the price is right.
Everyone wants players but don’t want to give up anything of value. That’s not how trades work. If the Nats want Bryant they absolutely should expect to give up a guy like Robles. They also have the right to say that’s too much and walk away. But don’t sit on the fringes with offers that don’t provide equivalent value.
True, but at this point 5 years of Robles has more value than 2 of Bryant. Cubs don’t have any desirable 2nd pieces to include to offset that gap that wouldn’t make the trade become a 6 player blockbuster deal. Nats aren’t interested in that.
This is debatable. Bryant is elite with the bat. Carrie’s a lot more weight than 5 years of slightly above avg guy. Just my 2 cents
If JD wants 4 years, this thing’s gonna ride out ’till March lol
I think the Nationals will sign Donaldson. If Bryant is traded it will be Braves or Rangers.
I could see Bryant to the Braves due to Atlanta’s big inventory of MLB-ready pitching, which the Cubs are in dire need of. And though the Rangers also have that pitching need, they don’t have any big-time prospects that the Cubs would want, or even crack the Cubs lineup.
Donaldson may sign quickly. I just saw the video on MLB.Com where he bought his mom a Maserati, which he promised to do if she quit smoking. He’ll need to fill a big hole in his bank account, so whoever offers him a really good deal first is gonna reel him in. I don’t see him waiting till Feb, to sign like so many last year.
He made $23 million last season alone. Obviously, before taxes but I’m certain it didn’t hurt his bank account.
I need JoDo to sign with a team outside the NLEast? Best bet? Rangers? Twins? Any chance Astros sign him, deal Correa and move Bregman to SS?
Robles is pretty much all the nats have that would interest the cubs. They’ve drained their farm system over the last few year’s, like the cubs… Really only have Kieboom that cubs don’t need…. I’d personally rather see cubs-Braves make a deal, as much as I’d like to see Robles on the cubs, I’d rather see pitching…and braves have a few young arms they could move … Fried/Riley/Waters ,,, Wright/Anderson/Riley…. But im guessing cubs wont make any moves til trade deadline
Cubs could also look to trade Contreras to Rays for some pitching …. They got Honeywell, Liberatore, Baz, Diego Castillo ,,, not all for Willson but maybe a nice package
Phillies could package a deal for Bryant too… Not as sexy but Spencer Howard, Bohm, Kingery, moniak, medina… Could be a decent return in there
Bryant isn’t netting Robles let alone 3 of those players from the Braves. If Cubs want a package of youth like that from the Braves they need to wait till the trade deadline and let Bryant prove he’s healthy and back to pre-injury form.
And I know Bryant had a good year last year, but he seemed to have shoulder issues all year and I think teams want to know if the juiced ball had anything to do with compensating for it or if he figured out how to fit through it. Could be both, could be he’s a stud again but for 2 years of control I doubt a team gives up 11 years of decent pitching +6 years of a potentially solid bat. For Bryant…unless they are a piece away.
You are just making things up now.
As a Braves fan, I beg for the Nats to sign him. There were several items that lead to Donaldson success last year. First, you could argue the Braves had the best 1-3 lineup in front of him in baseball. Secondly, the ball was juiced this past year. Third, he remained healthy the entire year. He is due to a regression due to any of those factors.
Just don’t see Donaldson back in Atlanta bringing rain at The new Truist Park.
Yeah I don’t want the Nats to sign Donaldson either if it takes 4 years. 2? Sure but that won’t get him and I’m fine with that.
Yeah, only thing that argues for the Nats agreeing to more than a year or two with Donaldson is that they also have no one long term at 1B. But they have enough fan goodwill from winning the WS and re-signing Strasburg (and Kendrick, Gomes and probably Zimmerman) that they’re not desperate to sign any other particular position player at this point. Nats can hold out and sign whomever’s available later this offseason among the many infielders on the FA market.
Right. I’d prefer Frazier on a one year deal to take over 3rd and maybe someone like Castro for 2nd. If one or both suck and Nats need to make a trade players will become available. Also, if Keiboom gets it to click by June then they can platoon guys at 2nd/3rd.
I would say the Braves had one of the best #1 and #3 hitters, but that 2 hole while still productive takes then out of best top 3rd order on baseball…
I could go either way at this point. Donaldson provided much needed protection for Freeman and performed well at 3B last season, but there are no guarantees that his legs stay healthy. I wondered if it was the training staff that kept his legs under him or did he make changes on his own. Either way, I trust AA will put a solid eight position players on the field.
Donaldson would be a great addition for the Nats. For as many people on here who say he will decline, which is based on nothing more than speculation, it is equally plausible to believe he will remain a solid player throughout a 4 year contract. Adrian Beltre is a prime example and a perfect comparison to Donaldson. Beltre was a stud until the day he retired. He batted and fielded just a tick below his career averages in his last year but a consistent third baseman and batter over the course of his career. I see the same for Donaldson as he winds down his career in his next contract.
Bravos…4 years $95 mil.
If Nats sign him I think it will be a good signing. He can replace Rendon at third (maybe not completely but they could do worse) and Nats aren’t thinking about the third or fourth year. They have arguably the best rotation in MLB and want to compete for a WS again this year, so replacing Rendon’s offensive/defensive Impact, while their team is primed to win, is their primary goal. Plus, he’s cheaper. For the picky among you, I did not say he’s as good as Rendon, just that he has good offensive/defensive numbers. And he is 34, but someone should remind Nelson Cruz that people decline at 34.
Agree with you. They are looking at their team and their minor leaguers and thinking time is short. Zimmerman, Scherzer and others are not getting younger. And it seems really unlikely they could leverage their minor leaguers to trade someone like Nolan or Bryant. Of course Colorado or Chicago would want Robles in a trade. Easily a better choice for them to just print money for Donaldson, roll the dice they can win another Series and then plug their noses in 2022 and 2023 when he’ll need a wheelchair to get on the field.
VEGANISM = IMPORTANT
Miguel Andujar could be had for a prince’s ransom
Colin Moran, or maybe a swap of Kieboom for Ke’bryan Hayes and Adam Frazier , Todd Frazier , Kyle Seager, Lamb , There’s other options
OK. “Other options’ should not include guys who are big risks to post OPS well under .800 to replace a guy who just thew up way over 1.000. There really are not that many “options” for a team that just won the World Series and has a 1B and #2 starter who are not going to hold up much longer. Bet they are just throwing money at Josh right now.
The Nats will put everything on the line to get Donaldson because they really don’t have the prospect or player capital to get Arenado or Bryant without Robles. Hey Atlanta, it’s your move.