Braves: What will a Josh Donaldson contract extension look like?

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There are three main questions concerning Josh Donaldson going into the offseason:

  1. Do We Extend Him? (Yes!)
  2. For how long?
  3. For how much?

David O’Brien sat down with Alex Anthopoulos last week, and Alex didn’t provide much clarity (for good reason), saying:

“If we were going to engage in anybody or were in current discussions, I wouldn’t tell you or anybody else; I wouldn’t tell anybody that. By design. Because then it becomes J.D. wants it, Nick Markakis wants it, Dallas Keuchel wants it … and then there’s another narrative. It just becomes a distraction — same way with trades.” 

Alex went on to talk about how he wants to focus on winning games and bringing a World Series trophy, a diplomatic answer and probably the best route at this point.

We aren’t Alex Anthopoulos, but we do like to play GM though, so let’s dive into the raw numbers.

Josh Donaldson this season: 

.260/.378/.532, 34 HR, 79 RBI, 85 BB

He’s been excellent, and very well worth the $23 million contract he got this offseason. However, this type of healthy, bounce-back campaign has undoubtedly driven his value up. What’s his next deal going to look like? Does he want security? Does he want to play for a contender? Does he want to get paid? The answer is probably a combination of the three, which is good for the Braves. Let’s layout three offers Alex Anthopoulos can make

Security: 3 years, $75 million, 4th-year player option for $15 million

Contender: 2 years, $55 million, 3rd-year club option for $23 million

Money: 1 year, $32 million

Personally, I think the 2nd option (with or without the option) is the most realistic and makes the most sense for both sides. Donaldson will be 34 next season and has an injury history. We saw how teams stayed away from players fitting that description last offseason, which is why the Braves were able to sign him to a team-friendly one-year contract. Perhaps Donaldson’s performance this year will change the way teams think.

There’s a possibility a team like St. Louis or *gulp* Washington throws enough money to convince him to leave, but I feel like Josh is in an ideal scenario with a lineup that maximizes his talents. Not to mention, his competitive fire fits right in with the rest of the ball club. I’d love to keep Josh around for two more years at a minimum. Austin Riley has proven he can play in the outfield, and his recent slump has brought about doubt regarding his future. Donaldson has put this team over the hump and made them legit World Series contenders. I have no doubt Alex Anthopoulos will do what it takes to work out a manageable yet fair deal for the Bringer of Rain.

What would you offer Josh Donaldson to keep him in Atlanta?

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