The free agent market may be on a mini-hiatus as the league awaits the decision of Josh Donaldson, but nobody told the Nationals. Despite their rumored interest in the most attractive free agent remaining on the market, Washington has been aggressively added depth pieces in recent days. With the additions of Will Harris, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Eric Thames and Daniel Hudson, the Nationals clearly have an eye toward building depth as they attempt to defend their crown.
With three additions to the infield mix, all on major league deals, it would seem that Josh Donaldson may no longer be a priority for Washington at this juncture. Could this signal an increased sense that Donaldson is bound for a return to Atlanta, or will this series of signings necessitate a return to Atlanta? While Minnesota and Texas have each shown various levels of interest throughout the offseason, recent reports have indicated that Washington and Atlanta were the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of Donaldson. Whether or not signing three infielders over the span of a week pushes the Nationals out of the market for Donaldson will likely be revealed soon, but in the meantime fans are simply left with more speculation than concrete fact.
Regardless of how the addition of three infielders for the Nationals impacts the Donaldson market, Washington has certainly bolstered their depth. With the return of Howie Hendrick along with the additions of Castro, Cabrera, and Thames there will be a bevy of options for manager Dave Martinez as he fills out the lineup card this season. However, given the choice Donaldson is likely the preferable choice, even if he requires a four-year deal.
Mark Bowman takes a stab at the Opening Day roster for Atlanta, with the disclaimer that free agents/trades could alter the landscape dramatically. Bowman notes that the Braves are likely to pivot their focus to the outfield in the event that Donaldson signs elsewhere, with Johan Camargo or Austin Riley manning third base.
The Braves are seen as the favorite for Donaldson, but the Nationals will keep their offer on the table.
Washington is going to run out of room on the team plane at this rate...
Which free agents make the most sense to fill the 26th roster spot for a club?