It's been nearly three weeks since Anthony Rendon signed a lucrative contract with the Angels, and the Nationals have yet to fill the gaping hole left at third base.
With Rendon gone, the free agency market at third base remains thin. Josh Donaldson, who finished with a 6.1 WAR in 2019, is the only third baseman available on the Hot Stove with a WAR above 3.0. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has confirmed interest in the 34-year-old, but Donaldson has reported offers from the Braves and Twins, as well.
With Donaldson's future in limbo, the Nationals have explored the trade market. Two players they have had reported interest in are Chicago's Kris Bryant and Colorado's Nolan Arenado.
When looking at the Nationals' potential trade assets, working a deal with the Cubs for Bryant seems a lot likelier than agreeing to one with the Rockies for Arenado. Bryant only has two years remaining on his deal, and the Nationals could get creative when coming up with an offer.
Meanwhile, Arenado has seven years and $234 million remaining on his deal. If the Nationals weren't going to pay similar money to keep Rendon in free agency, it doesn't make sense for them to trade assets to acquire Arenado.
But one player the Nationals do not want to give up in a deal with either club is centerfielder Victor Robles, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.
Robles was an intricate piece for the Nationals during their 2019 World Series run. The rookie displayed Gold Glove-caliber defense in centerfield on a nightly basis, while slashing .255/.366/.419 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
Washington has control of Robles through the 2025 season, along with his fellow young superstar, Juan Soto. Robles, who doesn't turn 23 until next May, has a ton of untapped potential. Rizzo mentioned that Robles is a "vital piece" of Washington's future.
The Nationals know they have a hole to fill at third base. But it totally makes sense that they don't want to sacrifice one of their most important pieces of the club's future for potentially just a couple of years of Bryant.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: