How was your week

Posted: December 21, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I’m not surprised that Josh Donaldson seems to have four teams that are very interested in his services. Going into the off season there where multiple looking for a 3rd baseman and Donaldson along with Anthony Rendon where the top free agents at that position. Once Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels that left just Donaldson out there for these teams looking to add a top 3rd baseman. Now obviously only one of those teams will sign Donaldson; so which one will it be?

The four teams that are in on Donaldson right now are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins. Now the Twins and the Nationals have offered four year contracts to Donaldson while the Braves and the Dodgers have only been willing to go to three years on a deal.

This led me to an interesting question. If you’re a National League team how comfortable are you going to be with a 37, 38 year old 3rd baseman?

Now I know that there is a lot of discussion about the designated hitter becoming league wide in the next CBA, but if that doesn’t happen could a four year deal with Donaldson get a team into trouble the final couple of years of that deal? To be fair to Donaldson he has been relatively injury free throughout his career. He played in 155 games for the Braves last season and with the exception of the 2018 season Donaldson has always played 113 games or more since becoming a starter.

So you’ve made yourself comfortable with giving Donaldson a four year deal. Then the question becomes; how much is he going to be paid? Most of the reports out there have Donaldson landing a contract that would pay him between $90 and $100 million dollars on a four year deal.

Donaldson is coming off of a season where he hit 37 home runs and drove in 94 RBI’s. Even though he’s never won a Gold Glove Donaldson has always been looked at as a god defensive 3rd baseman. He made 13 errors last season and had a fielding percentage of .969. Donaldson was 3rd among all of 3rd baseman in assists last season with 304 and he was 2nd among 3rd baseman in double plays last season with 38; so his defense is solid.

Donaldson did post a lower than normal batting average last season .259, but he had a slugging percentage of .521 and a On Base + Slugging Percentage of .900 and he did walk 100 times. How do you feel these numbers will translate over the next four years?

Once Donaldson does sign that will leave three teams possibly in the market for a 3rd baseman. Remember the Dodgers do still have Justin Turner who has said that he’d move across the diamond to 1st bas of the Dodgers acquired another 3rd baseman, but what about the other teams.

There does seem to be a lot of talk about the Colorado Rockies being interested in trading Nolan Arenado. That might seem a little odd as Arenado is just in the 2nd year of a 7-year $260 million dollar contract, but the rumor has been out there for about a week now.

The Texas Rangers seem to be the team that is in pursuit of Arenado. The Rangers have been looking for a franchise type player to build their team around as they open that new stadium and while they missed out on signing Rendon landing Arenado would fit that bill nicely. I doubt the Rockies would deal Arenado to the Dodgers, but with the minor league system the Dodgers have you can never say never. I’m sure the Twins, Nationals and Braves would also have some interest in Arenado if they miss out on Donaldson.

The other big name 3rd baseman who’s name has come up in trade talks this off season is Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. The big question with Bryant is how many years of control would a team have on him. Right now he has two years of control, but he has a service grievance against Major League Baseball and if he wins that grievance he’ll have just one year of arbitration left. That could affect the type of package a team might offer the Cubs for Bryant.

The team that has been the most closely linked to a Bryant trade have been the Philadelphia Phillies. If Philadelphia would make that move for Bryant that would still leave three of Donaldson’s four suitors looking for a 3rd baseman.

Once Donaldson makes his decision and signs with a team where would the teams that miss out on him look at to fill their spot at 3rd base? There are some options that teams could turn to and while they’re not in the same category as a Donaldson, Bryant or Arenado they could do the job for a season while those teams try to figure out that position.

Asdrubal Cabrera has a solid season first with the Rangers and then with the Nationals. He hit .260 with 18 home runs and 91 RBI’s last season. Todd Frazier had a bit of a bounce back season in 2019. He hit 21 home runs with 67 RBI’s and his batting average was .251 which is the best it’s been since 2015. Starlin Castro started 42 games at 3rd base last season and played in 45 games at that position last season. Castro hit 22 home runs and had 86 RBI’s while hitting .270 on a bad Miami Marlins team. Maybe one of these teams that miss out on a 3rd baseman might look at Castro to make the move there full time.

Those are three possible options for a team if they don’t end up signing Donaldson and they’re not in the dealings for Arenado or Bryant and while these wouldn’t be long term solutions at 3rd base these players are good enough to help a team win some games.

What do you see the teams that miss out on Donaldson end up doing? Do you think they’ll look into or make a trade for Bryant or Arenado? Will they sign one of the remaining free agents? Or is at all possible that they would just turn the position over to one of the young players in their own organization? I guess this will all start to play out once Donaldson signs.

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Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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