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RUMOR: Josh Donaldson market shrinking as Nationals bow out

Josh Donaldson, Twins

Current free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson was previously one of the most sought-after names on the open market. Recently, however, that market has begun to shrink.

The Washington Nationals were one of the teams thought to be heavy on Donaldson particularly after the departure of Anthony Rendon.

However, the Nationals have since given contracts to veteran infielders Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera and Eric Thames while shoring up the bullpen by signing Will Harris and Daniel Hudson. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reported these moves might suggest the Nationals are essentially out on Donaldson:

There was once a way to answer both with one signing. The Nationals were interested in Josh Donaldson throughout this offseason, even putting a four-year, $100 million offer on the table for the third baseman. But in the past six days, as they sped through a long to-do list, the Nationals have all but moved on from Donaldson. Bringing in relievers Will Harris and Daniel Hudson and infielders Starlin Castro, Asdrúbal Cabrera and Eric Thames — and pledging about $25 million to them for next season — was a clear indication of that. Now they’ll have to get creative to fill some critical holes.

The Minnesota Twins were another team flirting with the idea of signing Donaldson, with the idea of possibly moving incumbent third baseman Miguel Sano to first base.

Although they are still reportedly in on Donaldson, a club source told Dan Hayes of The Athletic the Twins have seen an uptick in trade dialogue, and the team would move on from Donaldson if a trade opportunity presented itself.

Josh Donaldson might in fact be most likely to return to the Atlanta Braves, who reportedly offered him the four-year deal he is seeking. It is also possible Donaldson is waiting on a resolution to Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant’s service-time grievance before making a decision.

Regardless, teams appear to be exploring their alternatives to signing the former American League MVP.