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MLB Rumors: Nationals Willing to Offer Josh Donaldson $90M Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Atlanta Braves' Josh Donaldson hits a home run during the fourth inning of Game 5 of their National League Division Series baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals are reportedly pursuing Josh Donaldson to replace the departed Anthony Rendon at the hot corner.

On Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the defending champions "continue to go hard after" the veteran and would be willing to pay at least $90 million over the course of a four-year deal.

There is a natural hole in Washington's lineup after Rendon agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels this offseason, but that is a serious potential commitment to a 34-year-old who's likely past his prime as a third baseman.

It could also make the difference with a number of suitors on the market.

On Wednesday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reported the Atlanta Braves are interested in bringing Donaldson back but are "not likely to get in [a] bidding war" for a four-year deal. O'Brien pointed to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Nationals as interested teams, although Levi Weaver of The Athletic reported the price has "exceeded" Texas' comfort level.

Donaldson struggled during an injury-shortened 2018 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians and hit a total of eight home runs. It was a far cry from his 2015 American League MVP effort when he slashed .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI for Toronto.

To his credit, he bounced back last season on a one-year deal with Atlanta.

Donaldson helped lead the Braves to the playoffs as National League East champions and slashed .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI. He clearly showed enough to garner significant interest this offseason, and Washington is apparently doing what it can to make sure he is in a Nationals uniform for the 2020 season.