If Anthony Rendon needed another argument why teams should offer him top dollar in free agency this winter, he got it Thursday night. Rendon won the Silver Slugger, given to each league’s top hitter at each position, for National League third basemen.

MLB coaches and managers vote for the award, and they recognized Rendon, who led all NL third basemen in several categories, including batting average (.319), on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.010) and extra-base hits (81). His 126 RBI led the majors.

The award, Rendon’s second (he also won it in 2014), was the latest in a slew of personal honors for the player and the World Series champion Washington Nationals.

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“Anthony’s outstanding and consistent production speaks for itself,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said in the team’s news release. “And it is only right that he is honored as the top hitting third baseman in the National League.”

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Before Rendon’s win, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had won the award for four straight years. Arenado plays in hitter-friendly Coors Field, and though his numbers were comparable (. 315 batting average, 41 home runs, 185 hits), Rendon nosed him out with a season that is expected to receive MVP consideration.

Rendon delivered Washington its first Silver Slugger winner since 2017, when Daniel Murphy won the second of his back-to-back awards for NL second basemen.

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Earning recognition for his play is nothing new for Rendon, who is a free agent. The question of this offseason becomes will the Nationals be able to re-sign their top offensive player?

The 29-year-old is the top available bat on the market and figures to have plenty of suitors for his services. How that market develops remains to be seen — the 2018 offseason was so slow to develop there was discussion of collusion from the MLB Players Association — but it’s fair to assume Rendon will at least appear relaxed through the process. After all, it was that famous composure that helped fuel the Nationals’ postseason. At one point during the playoffs, in the seventh inning or later in elimination games, Rendon’s plate appearances looked like this: walk, double, home run, double, home run, double, home run.

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Those plate appearances didn’t factor into Rendon winning this award, but the process behind them did. The question now is whether the Nationals will again benefit from this approach or whether they will need to prepare to stop it.

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