Recent reports have indicated that Josh Donaldson’s reps have been pushing their asking price toward $110MM over a four-year term, and it now seems as if at least one bidder is preparing to push their chair back from the table. The Twins have grown ’pessimistic’ about their chances of acquiring the veteran third baseman, according to a report from Phil Miller of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, citing sources close to the negotiations.
It may not be accurate to position this development as the result of Minnesota’s disinclination toward spending at a certain level—rather, Donaldson may simply have another preferred destination in mind, with the Braves and Nationals reported as two other clubs that have made four-year offers. Miller’s sources indicate that Donaldson “has not appeared interested in signing with Minnesota, and the team has begun investigating other options.”
Concerning the Donaldson sweepstakes, specifically, perhaps this news represents the ripple before the big splash. Donaldson has reportedly drawn a line in the sand as to the deal he’s seeking and may currently be taking his pick of offers structured with a similar AAV setup. In addition to the possibly counted-out Twins, the Braves, and the Nationals, front offices in Texas and Chavez Ravine may also be keeping a direct line to agent Dan Lozano.
Like the Dodgers with Justin Turner, the Twins have a proven option at third in Miguel Sano. Their Donaldson pursuit may have always more been about value proposition—Donaldson’s deal promises to be balance sheet-friendly compared to Anthony Rendon, after all—and they may simply have been unwilling to pay top dollar for a relative roster luxury. Still, one gets the sense that the club entered the offseason with ample cap room and a reported intention of securing, at the least, top-shelf acquisitions in the pitching department. The club still looks to be in good shape entering ’20, but their retirement from the Donaldson race would represent one more avenue toward roster improvement rendered closed, for the time being.