Third baseman Josh Donaldson, the No. 1 free agent left on the board, continues to contemplate his future. The Nationals, Twins, Dodgers and Braves (with whom he thrived in 2019) look like the front-runners for his services. All things being equal, though, it appears Donaldson would prefer to stay in Atlanta. The “belief” is Donaldson’s camp has promised the Braves he’ll let them make a final offer before he signs anywhere else, David O’Brien of The Athletic reports (subscription link). The problem, as O’Brien notes, is that the Braves may not want to give Donaldson, 34, four guaranteed years. Meanwhile, Washington and Minnesota are reportedly open to doing so.
More from the National League…
- The Cubs’ Kris Bryant could be a trade target for Atlanta if it doesn’t re-sign Donaldson, though it’s still unclear how much more team control the former has left. Bryant filed a grievance over service time against the Cubs, whose decision to delay the now-star’s promotion in 2015 earned them an extra year of control. That grievance was heard back in October, and briefs were due Friday, but arbitrator Mark Irvings’ ruling won’t arrive until sometime after Jan. 1, Evan Drellich of The Athletic tweets. For now, Bryant’s under control for two more years, but that figure will drop to one if he unexpectedly wins his grievance. The 27-year-old has been featured in trade rumors, but at least until the league knows how much more control Bryant has, it’s highly unlikely he’ll go anywhere.
- Rookie Pirates manager Derek Shelton has chosen Tarrik Brock as his first base coach, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This will be the second go-around as a major league 1B coach for Brock, who worked in that role for the Padres in 2016. He went on to serve as the Dodgers’ minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator from 2017-19. Now 45, Brock’s a former outfielder who saw brief MLB action in 2000 with the Cubs.
- The Reds hired Joe Mather as assistant hitting coach earlier this week, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. The 37-year-old Mather – who, like Brock, is an ex-outfielder – spent last season as the Diamondbacks’ minor league field and hitting coordinator. He’ll now work alongside new Reds hitting coach Alan Zinter.