The Braves could lose third baseman Josh Donaldson in free agency, but they’re not going down without a fight. They’ve made the longtime star a four-year offer, David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets. They join the Twins and Nationals as teams known to have made recent four-year proposals for Donaldson. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com said Thursday that all three teams seem willing to go to the four-year, $100MM range. The Dodgers and the Rangers can’t be counted out of the race, either, per Feinsand.
This has become an especially fascinating trip through free agency for Donaldson, who MLBTR predicted would sign a three-year, $75MM contract when the proceedings began. However, with fellow third baseman Anthony Rendon and a slew of other standout performers already off the market, the 34-year-old Donaldson is now easily the game’s premier player without a contract. And he partly controls the third base market, as teams that lose out on the Donaldson sweepstakes might pivot to a trade for the Cubs’ Kris Bryant or the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado with no other studs left in free agency.
In the Braves’ case, they could have the prospect capital to trade for Bryant or Arenado, though it remains to be seen whether they’ll go that route. The seven-year, $234MM Arenado’s still owed could prove too rich for their blood. Donaldson shouldn’t cost anywhere near that much in cash, nor would the Braves have to cough up young players for him, and they already know he can thrive in their uniform. The one-time MVP was an integral member of a 2019 Atlanta roster that took home its second consecutive NL East title.