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The Daily Chop: Josh Donaldson’s departure leaves Braves scrambling for replacement

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There is no easy answer for the Braves in replacing Josh Donaldson.

The wait for Josh Donaldson ended Tuesday night with a thud as the free-agent slugger agreed to a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins for a reported $92 million. The deal also includes a $16 million option for 2024 with an $8 million buyout.

Now where will the Braves turn?

Johan Camargo seems like a safe bet now to open the season at third base with Austin Riley likely figuring into the picture as well at some point. However, neither are capable of plugging the giant size hole left in the team’s lineup. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported Tuesday night that the team will now pivot to the outfield. The Braves were linked previously this offseason to Marcell Ozuna and could also take a closer look at Nicholas Castellanos.

Atlanta has also been mentioned as a possible trade destination for Chicago’s Kris Bryant and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado. Such a deal brings its own challenges in acquisition cost and right now it doesn’t appear that the Braves are the front runners to acquire either. Arenado is owed $244 million over the next seven seasons and has an opt out following the 2021 season. Bryant wouldn’t cost as much as Arenado but his grievance against the Cubs over service time manipulation still has not been settled and no team is likely to trade for him until they know whether they are getting him with one or two years of additional control.

Bowman also suggested another intriguing option in his column Tuesday night in a potential trade for Pirates outfielder Starling Marte. Pittsburgh appears set to retool once again under new general manager Ben Cherington and could look to move Marte who is under contract for 2020 at $11.5 million with a 12.5 million option for 2021. That would give the Braves a short term replacement that is a much better defensive option than either Ozuna or Castellanos.

One thing is certain, with just over a month remaining until pitchers and catchers report, Alex Anthopoulos has work left to be done. The Braves made significant upgrades to their bullpen this offseason but simply can’t ignore their lineup if they hope to return to the postseason in 2020.

More Braves News

The Braves and Truist bank held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce a new name for SunTrust Park. The stadium will now be known as Truist Park which will pay the Braves approximately $220 million over the 22 seasons.

Our preseason Top 30 prospect list roll out continued on Tuesday with a look at No 19-24.

Former Braves pitcher Tim Hudson has been named pitching coach at Auburn University.

Former Braves farm hand Wes Helms has been named the new manager of the White Sox’ Triple-A team in Charlotte. Helms served as bench coach of the White Sox’s Double-A team last season.

MLB News

In continued fall out from the sign stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora on Tuesday. Cora was mentioned 11 times in Major League Baseball’s findings from its investigation into the Astros from 2017 when he was the team’s bench coach. The Red Sox are also under investigation for using electronic means to steal signs during their 2018 championship season. Former Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch both received one-year suspensions by the league and Cora is expected to receive similar punishment.

MLB Pipeline began its series of the Top 10 prospects by position on Tuesday with a look at the right-handed starters. Detroit’s Casey Mize tops the list and is followed by Toronto’s Nate Pearson and Houston’s Forrest Whitley.

Hot Stove

The St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies have begun exchanging names in their trade discussions involving third baseman Nolan Arenado according to a report by MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. However, those discussions “haven’t gone anywhere” and the exchange of names “hasn’t been productive” according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The Cardinals were able to pick up outfielder Austin Dean in a trade with the Marlins on Tuesday. Minor League outfielder Diowill Burgos is headed to the Marlins in the deal. Dean appeared in 64 games for Miami in 2019 hitting .225/.261/.404.

The Philadelphia Phillies designated outfielder Odubel Herrera for assignment on Tuesday. Herrera was an All-Star in 2016 but was arrested in May of 2019 for an assault of his girlfriend. Herrera was given an 85-game suspension by Major League Baseball.