NATS HEDGING THEIR RENDON BETS WITH JOSH DONALDSON

By Lewis Gould

The Nats are hedging their bets when it comes to retaining Anthony Rendon, their All-Star third baseman who is a free agent.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Nationals are among at least six teams interested in Josh Donaldson, who is coming off a fantastic bounce-back season in Atlanta, where he slashed .259/.379/.521 with 33 doubles, 37 homers, 94 RBI, 100 walks and a .900 OPS. The 2015 AL MVP will be 34 when the 2020 season begins.

The Nats, Rangers, Phillies and Braves are “chief among” those teams interested in Donaldson, Feinsand reports.

While Rendon, 29, an MVP candidate who’s coming off a monster season and was a huge part of the Nats’ championship run, will clearly have a ton of suitors on the open market, it’s still unclear how much others will be willing to pay him. His closest comp is 28-year-old Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who signed a $260 million extension in the spring to stay in Colorado for the next eight years.

That’s an average annual value (AAV) of $32.5 million for Arenado, who never tested free agency. By comparison, Bryce Harper, who signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies last offseason, who left the Nationals for a $25.4 million AAV. Harper took less money annually for a longer term

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