This just in: editor Heath is destroyed as Josh Donaldson foregoes a chance at a World Series in Braves country to chase one down with Minnesota, instead:
BREAKING: Per source, 3B Josh Donaldson has agreed to a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 15, 2020
Here’s the dollar amount:
Josh Donaldson’s deal with the Minnesota Twins will pay him $84 million over the first four years and includes a $16 million club option with an $8 million buyout. In total, it’s $92 million guaranteed with a chase to go to $104 million if Donaldson hits escalators on the option.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2020
So, Atlanta didn’t want to spend $100 million. I suppose I get it. But now my beloved Braves desperately need a cleanup hitter. Might sound crazy, but if Dansby Swanson returns to his first half form of 2019, I could see him batting in the two-hole against right-handers while Albies bumps down to cleanup. That would certainly extend the lineup a bit.
The proverbial door is also wide open for an Austin Riley revival in Year 2. That would also deepen the lineup, but it’s tough to bank on that rolling into a year full of expectations. I’ll be curious to see what move(s) the Braves have up their collective sleeves in a ridiculously competitive NL East. I haven’t ranked shortstops yet, but Swanson is going to be one of my targets this year at his 275 ADP. You’re not spending anything to see how sustainable his first half was last year.
As for Donaldson—I mean, this is supposed to be about him—his move to the Twins would appear to bump Miguel Sano to first base and Marwin Gonzalez into a utility role. Here’s one projected lineup:
Updated:— Seth Stohs (@SethTweets) January 15, 2020
C: Mitch Garver
1B: Miguel Sano
2B: Luis Arraez
3B: Josh Donaldson
SS: Jorge Polanco
LF: Eddie Rosario
CF: Byron Buxton
RF: Max Kepler
DH: Nelson Cruz
2C: Alex Avila
UT: Marwin Gonzalez
UT: Ehire Adrianza
4OF: Jake Cave https://t.co/3gRdJkFOyO
With Kepler and Polanco likely occupying the top two spots in the order, it should be a combination of Eddie Rosario, Josh Donaldson, and Nelson Cruz filling the 3-4-5 spots. Sano and Mitch Garver would then do battle for the 6-7 spots. That’s not a huge deal for Garver, a catcher. But for Sano this seems like a bit of a ding to his value. The 6-spot is probably the best he can hope for on a regular basis, but he’s got some competition there in Garver, Luis Arraez, and Byron Buxton. My gosh, what a stacked lineup the Twins have.
Donaldson’s ADP of 105 or so is going to rise with this new clarity. He should leap over Mike Moustakas (101), Matt Chapman (86), and Jeff McNeil (85) fairly easily. And I don’t see why folks would consider Max Muncy (77) without considering Donaldson (unless they were hunting for a second baseman and/or Muncy’s positional flexibility). In my opinion, Donaldson belongs in that Eugenio Suarez (61) and Manny Machado (63) grouping. The ADP around 100 seems pretty crazy to me. For fantasy baseball purposes, Donaldson is closer to Machado than he is to Moustakas...
What say you all? This is obviously a huge move for the Twins. But what can the Braves do after missing out on this opportunity? Vote in the poll below for what my cleanup-hitter-starved Bravos should do next!
Who should the Braves do to secure a possible cleanup hitter for 2020?
This poll is closed
Sign Marcell Ozuna
Sign Nick Castellanos
Trade for Kris Bryant
Trade for Nolan Arenado