Posted on January 12, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
With players set to report to spring training in a little over a month, third baseman Josh Donaldson is one of the few marquee free agents left on the market. It’s been surprising to see Donaldson last this long and still a conclusion is far from imminent. Now seems like a good time to take a look at the teams in the running to sign Donaldson and take a guess on where he ends up.
Braves – 40%
All along, the Braves have appeared to be Donaldson’s top choice. He had a resurgent season in Atlanta in 2019 and helped the Braves reach the playoffs, so it’d be reasonable that Donaldson would want to come back. There have been reports during the offseason indicating that Donaldson won’t sign anywhere else without first giving the Braves a chance to match another team’s offer. The Braves have reportedly made a four-year offer to bring back Donaldson, but they may not be the highest bidder. However, Atlanta continues to have an edge that other teams don’t when it comes to Donaldson.
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Nationals – 25%
The Nationals have signed three infielders over the last week, including Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera, who can both play third base if needed. Those moves would seem to indicate that Washington is ready to move on from Donaldson. However, there are also reports that the Nationals haven’t pulled their four-year offer. Remember, Washington lost Anthony Rendon, so they have a big hole at third base and a ton of production that needs to be replaced. Despite their recent additions, there’s still room in the Washington infield for Donaldson to be the everyday third baseman. The caveat with the Nationals is that they tend to give long-term contracts with a lot of deferred money. If Donaldson isn’t a fan of that, he might take another offer, even if it’s for less money.
Twins – 25%
It’s a little unclear where the Twins stand with Donaldson right now. One day, reports out of Minnesota indicate the team is starting to think they won’t land Donaldson. Another day, there are reports saying the Twins are talking with Donaldson on a daily basis. They’ve also signed current third baseman Miguel Sano to an extension, although he could move to first base if Minnesota lands Donaldson. Minnesota’s other problem is that they’re a small-market team and may not be able to match other teams financially. However, the Twins are at least hanging around and if the Braves and Nationals lose interest, Minnesota could end up landing Donaldson almost by default.
The Field – 10%
It’s still too early to rule out a team swooping in at the last minute to grab Donaldson. The Dodgers haven’t done a lot this winter, but they’re usually open-minded about adding impact players. The Rangers are also a team to watch closely. They appear to be moving onto other options, but until they find a third baseman elsewhere, they can’t be ruled out of the Donaldson sweepstakes entirely. Finally, the Cardinals are a dark horse to watch. St. Louis needs offensive help and they might be able to rearrange some things defensively if they have a chance to sign Donaldson as their third baseman.