Braves: How much is too much for Josh Donaldson?

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Rumors are rumors, but the talk of baseball is that Josh Donaldson has sparked an all-out bidding war. A few days ago, Jim Bowden, a former MLB GM turned MLB insider, reported that multiple teams had four years on the table for Donaldson, with the Braves being among them.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand confirmed those rumors as well.

That should be music to the ears of Braves Country because it has long been thought that, if Atlanta was willing to offer a fourth-year, Donaldson would return. After all, the Braves have been his preferred destination since the start. He is familiar with Alex Anthopoulos and, more importantly, the training staff, became integrated with a fantastic clubhouse, and might feel like there is a bit of unfinished business after what happened last season, given his competitive nature. So why hasn’t he signed the dotted line?

Well, there may be teams now considering an unthinkable fifth-year, which would take him through his age 38 season.

If Donaldson is fetching five years from competitors, and longevity is what is most important to him, his time in Atlanta should be over. The 4th year the Braves have obliged to is already a massive risk considering there isn’t a DH in the National League (even though there could be soon). Skeptics everywhere that are plugged into the organization questioned whether Atlanta would even go that far.

Donaldson will be 34 next year. He’s only a year removed from most teams thinking he was washed, which is why he settled for a one-year, prove-it contract with the Braves (what a brilliant move that turned out to be). Now, it seems like the whole world as forgotten about his not so far off past.

Four years is a gamble; five years will end up being a liability. If this is about AAV, the Braves need to do what needs to be done to bring him back. But if this is about adding another year to his contract, Anthopoulos has to walk away from the table. It’s not like there aren’t other elite options on the market.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported today that Nolan Arenado has a 50/50 chance of being dealt before the start of the season.

And many believe the Cubs will be heavily inclined to move Kris Bryant once Josh Donaldson makes his decision, given the number of potential suitors.

Few teams have better young talent to pursue a superstar talent like Arenado or Bryant than the Braves. And while there is always a risk when trading top-flight prospects, there is an even greater risk when offering a 34-year-old with an extensive injury history a five-year deal.

 

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