Nationals

Nationals

Anthony Rendon is a Los Angeles Angel, which now leaves Josh Donaldson as by far the best third baseman available on the free-agent market. 

The Nationals, Rangers and Braves are considered the teams under the most pressure to sign the former MVP, according to Ken Rosenthal and he's reportedly likely to get a four-year deal worth around $100 million. 

For a 34-year-old, that may be too steep a price for some teams despite the fact he hit 37 home runs and drove in 94 RBI last season with Atlanta. 

If the Nationals don't think there's value in signing Donaldson to that kind of deal, it appears they already have a few backup plans in mind. 

According to Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, Washington is looking at Starlin Castro and Maikel Franco. 

Castro played a full 162-game season with the Marlins in 2019, posting a .270/.300/.476 slash line with 22 home runs and 86 RBI. Traditionally a shortstop or second baseman, he's only played a total of 45 games at third base. 

Franco was one of the Phillies' top prospects when he broke into the majors in 2014. He's known for his power at the plate, strong arm at third and surprisingly good range as a fielder. Talent has never been the problem with Franco. 

His plate discipline routinely kept him from achieving his true potential. Last season, he had a .234/.297/.409 slash line with 17 homers and 56 RBI. The Phillies had a need at third base and decided to non-tender Franco, so that should tell you all you need to know. 

 

Of course, he could have a Carlos Santana-like renaissance after leaving Philly, but I wouldn't count on it. 

So while the price for Donaldson may be steep, there's a reason for it. There aren't many viable options at third after him. It will be up to the Nationals to decide whether the best value will be with Donaldson or the field. 

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