Braves: The Bringer of Rain is hanging up the cleats

dkb191004020 stl vs atl

Former Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson announced his retirement today.

The Bringer of Rain was one of Alex Anthopoulos’s first big gambles, as he handed Josh Donaldson a one-year, prove-it contract following a 2018 season in which he only played in 52 games.

The gamble proved to pay off for both parties. Donaldson managed to play in 155 games, smacking 37 homers with a .900 OPS on his way to an 11th-place finish in the NL MVP race. He then parlayed that season into a four-year, $92 million contract with the Minnesota Twins.

Most all of Braves Country wanted Donaldson back in Atlanta long-term, Alex Anthopoulos included; however, the Braves GM didn’t let Donaldson’s big 2019 season cloud his judgment. The Twins made him an offer Anthopoulos didn’t feel comfortable matching, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of his tenure as Braves general manager to this point.

Donaldson had some decent success in Minnesota during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, despite some minor injuries. However, his play really began to fall off a cliff in 2022, as he recorded just a .682 OPS after he was traded to the New York Yankees. 2023 began in a similar fashion, and he was eventually released. Donaldson did get picked up by the Brewers, but the results were more of the same.

Meanwhile, with Donaldson departing, Austin Riley stepped into a starting role for the Braves at third base. There were some growing pains initially, but he’s since finished inside the top ten of the NL MVP race in each of the last three seasons. Riley is arguably the best third baseman in baseball, while Donaldson is heading into the next chapter of his life.

Josh Donaldson’s 2019 season for Atlanta should not be forgotten. He was a superstar with the Braves, but Alex Anthopoulos’ ability to compartmentalize the results and not overreact by handing him a lucrative contract the following offseason will go down as one of the better decisions in franchise history.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: