DEC. 19: It’s “believed” the Nationals and Twins are willing to go to four years for Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). The Dodgers and Braves are still in the hunt, per Rosenthal, though he notes both teams could be hesitant to go to the four-year length to land Donaldson.
DEC. 16: Ever since they watched star third baseman Anthony Rendon depart, the Nationals have been rumored to be pressing hard for Josh Donaldson as a replacement. The club’s willingness to spend appears to be driving the market for Donaldson, an older but still outstanding player in his own right.
Whether or not there’s a formal offer on the table isn’t known. But the Nats are “aggressive” in their pursuit of Donaldson, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Indeed, the team is prepared to bid upwards of $90MM on a four-year term, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
MLBTR had predicted a $25MM average annual value for Donaldson, but anticipated he would only be able to secure that over a three-year guarantee. All indications are that Donaldson will have lengthier offers to consider, though it remains to be seen whether he will get to nine-figure territory.
Donaldson more than made good on his one-year deal last winter with the Braves, who are among the other pursuers. He blistered the ball (50.0% hard-hit rate, 92.9 mph average exit velocity), drew a ton of walks (15.2% BB rate), and played great defense (especially in the eyes of DRS, which had him at +15 runs). It was a compelling campaign from a player who has already proven over multiple years that he’s capable of elite production, though teams have no doubt not forgotten that Donaldson is now 34 years of age and dealt with major leg injuries in the prior two seasons.