Josh Donaldson’s decision may not be imminent, but he looks like the next stone to turn in free agency following the signing of Anthony Rendon. In an ultra-thin free-agent market for third baseman, Donaldson is the only thing left that resembles a startable option, let alone a superstar, setting him up for a massive payday.
According to earlier reports, several teams are willing to offer the star third baseman a critical fourth year – quite a risk considering he just turned 34 and has an injury history. David O’Brien of The Athletic has stated several times that he doesn’t believe the Braves are one of those teams, and if that is what it comes down to, O’Brien thinks The Bringer of Rain will walk. Despite that, it remains evident the Braves are still firmly in negotiations with Donaldson, and Ken Rosenthal believes Atlanta and Washington are the favorites to land him.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 13, 2019
Rosenthal narrows down Donaldson’s market to four interested teams – the Braves, Nationals, Dodgers, and Twins (though he cites the Twins are more on the outside looking in). He believes it will ultimately come down to the Braves and Nationals, but also states that a fourth-year could be the kicker, which would take him through his age 37 season.
Losing Donaldson would be painful, losing him to the Nationals would be excruciating. However, if he were to take his talents to the nation’s capital, it would probably force the Braves to think big with their next move. They’ve already doled out nearly $100 million this offseason and have the intention of spending more. Atlanta is going all in, and it doesn’t look like Donaldson’s exploding market has changed their stance on bringing him back.