By Sam Bush

For the second straight off-season, the Nats have lost a blue-chip free agent.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon has agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

The deal is identical in terms of years and amount to former teammate Stephen Strasburg, who agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals earlier this week.

But, for the second straight year, the Nationals were not able to re-sign one of their premium homegrown talents. Bryce Harper signed with a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies last offseason.

Rendon will join forces with three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.

The 29-year-old Rendon slashed .319/.412/.598 in 2019, setting career-highs with 34 home runs and 126 RB and helped the Nationals win their first World Series title in franchise history. Rendon hit .328 with 15 RBI in 17 playoff games, including home runs in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series.

Since 2017, Rendon’s .953 OPS is the third-best in the majors, trailing only J.D. Martinez and Christian Yelich. One of the league’s better defensive third basemen, Rendon was an All-Star for the first time in 2019.

The sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Rendon made his debut in 2013 and finished fifth in NL MVP voting a year later.

With Rendon officially gone, the Nationals now must find a way to replace his production in the middle of the order. Josh Donaldson is the top free agent third baseman still available and he’s expected to command a sizable salary with plenty of other suitors expected to bid on him.

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