Posted on November 13, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
What a difference a year makes. A year ago at this time, third baseman Josh Donaldson was coming off an injury-plagued season and struggling to find substantial offers on the free-agent market. He settled for a one-year deal with the Braves and went on to become an integral part of Atlanta’s second straight NL East title. Donaldson hit .259 with an OPS of .900, helping along by 37 home runs, making him one of the top position players on the open market this winter. With the hot stove about to heat up, let’s take a look at each team’s odds of signing Donaldson this offseason.
Angels – 5%
The Angels would certainly welcome a hitter of Donaldson’s prowess to give them some protection for Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Donaldson being 34 could give them a little pause, especially since he had injury issues in 2018 and the Angels already have an aging slugger in Albert Pujols. But the Halos have no one lined up at third base this season, so Donaldson would be a great fit for them.
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Braves – 30%
It’s no secret that the Braves are interested in retaining Donaldson’s services. He’s obviously a good fit in the clubhouse and Atlanta has already made moves this winter to free up some money so they can afford Donaldson or another hitter of his quality. Right now, they have to be considered the favorites to land him because of their familiarity with him.
Cardinals – 10%
One way or another, the Cardinals have to add offense this offseason. They can no longer pencil in Matt Carpenter as an everyday player, which figures to open up the hot corner for a player like Donaldson. Ultimately, St. Louis might be better off spending money on two or three players to improve their lineup. But going after Donaldson would make a big difference in their lineup right away.
Dodgers – 15%
It’s a safe bet that the Dodgers will be linked with any top-tier free agent this winter. Exactly how they would shuffle their infield remains to be seen. However, there are rumblings that the Dodgers are interested in Donaldson. Given their desire to win a championship and willing to spend, they can’t be counted out.
Nationals – 10%
Washington would probably prefer to keep Anthony Rendon, who’s younger and has spent his entire major league career with the Nats. However, signing Donaldson might be more realistic than Rendon, as he’ll require a little less money and fewer years. If the Nationals think they’ll lose Rendon, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them pivot to Donaldson.
Phillies – 5%
There’s no denying that the Phillies were disappointed with their 2019 season, which means they’re probably going to spend in hopes of doing better in 2020. The club hasn’t been thrilled with Maikel Franco’s performance, so much so that he was demoted to the minors at one point this past season. Obviously, signing Donaldson solves the problem at third base and immediately helps the Phillies offensively.
Rangers – 20%
There are already reports that the Rangers plan to be “aggressive” in going after Donaldson. By all accounts, Texas has money to burn this winter and is looking to make a splash before opening a new ballpark next year. Donaldson would surely help them make a splash. He also plays a position of need, making the Rangers a perfect fit on paper.
The Field – 5%
It’s still too early in the offseason to rule anyone out. The Brewers, Mets, and Twins have enough of a need that any of them could end up making a move for Donaldson. There’s always the possibility that a trade opens up a spot for Donaldson somewhere unexpected.