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Nationals Rumors: WAS Focused on Josh Donaldson After Losing Anthony Rendon

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 14, 2019

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 09:  Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fourth inning in game five of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 09, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals are looking to fill an open spot at third base with free agent Josh Donaldson, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network and WFAN Radio.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Nats seem focused on Josh Donaldson right now. They love Kris Bryant but the belief is the Cubs want Victor Robles, likely a no go. Could go to 4th year. Also interested in JD: Braves, dodgers, twins, rangers

Donaldson, 34, had 37 home runs, 94 RBI and a .900 OPS in 155 games for the 97-65 Atlanta Braves last season. His efforts helped Atlanta win its second straight NL East title.

The ex-Oakland Athletic, Toronto Blue Jay and Cleveland Indian has made three All-Star Games in eight MLB seasons and won the 2015 American League MVP.

Donaldson would replace Anthony Rendon if he signed with the defending World Series champions. Rendon inked a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, per Heyman.

Donaldson is the best free-agent third baseman left on the open market. Per Jason Catania and Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com, he ranked second in WAR (wins above replacement) behind only Rendon on the list of free-agent third basemen at the beginning of hot stove season

As Heyman noted, though, the Nationals have competition for Donaldson's services in the form of the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Braves.

Washington could also look to deal for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reported on Tuesday that the Nats made an "initial inquiry" to the North Siders about a potential deal.

But Heyman said the "belief" is the Cubs would want outfielder Victor Robles in return. That may be a hard sell for the Nats, as Robles is a talented 22-year-old center fielder coming off a season where he smacked 17 homers and swiped 28 bases.

For now, Donaldson appears to be the Nats' best bet to fill the hot corner as Washington looks to make a return trip to the World Series.