If you want to make people upset on the internet, one need only ask what the maximum amount the Braves should offer third baseman Josh Donaldson this offseason. Trust me...I have asked the masses this and the responses have ranged from “let him walk and use those resources elsewhere” to “three years, $25 million and no more” to “give him all the money and years he wants”. Just for the sake of transparency, this author’s opinion is that a lucrative three year deal with a vesting option of a fourth year is about the best I can talk myself into, but I understand where all sides are coming from.
That leads us to the latest development in the Josh Donaldson saga. There is clearly interest from both the Braves and Donaldson in a reunion, but Donaldson has been a very popular name on the free agent market all offseason. It has been rumored that the Braves have been very reluctant to go to the fourth year on any deal with Donaldson which has let other teams like the Nationals, Phillies, Rangers, and Twins all, at times, be linked to JD.
It looks like the Braves are doing their best to remain in the hunt for his services and the potential suitors list is getting shorter.
Now Feinsand is not the only one that has reported that a four year deal from the Braves is potentially on the table as both Bowden and Steve Phillips mentioned it as well yesterday. What we don’t know, however, is the exact terms of these offers which makes things a bit tricky.
It is entirely possible that the Braves have some version of a four year deal on the table, but it could be a vesting option (which was my above preference) or some sort of team/mutual option, or the Braves could be willing to go longer on the years if the AAV is diminished a bit. It is also possible that the Braves are just willing to go the full 4 years and around $100 million with no strings attached. We just don’t know.
Regardless of the terms of the Braves’ offer, they are competing against two very motivated suitors in the Twins and Nationals. The Twins offering that kind of money in any form shows how good they think their chances are in a wide open AL Central and they have the added benefit of knowing that DH is always an option as Donaldson ages (to be fair, the NL could be getting the DH soon, too). The Nationals, on the other hand, would love to pluck Donaldson away from the Braves especially after losing their own star third baseman, Anthony Rendon, to free agency.
Given that there is a lot more chatter surrounding Donaldson after a quiet period, one could assume that he will make a decision soon with players starting to report to camp very shortly.
UPDATE - The Athletic’s David O’Brien has confirmed Mark Feinsand’s report of a four-year offer to Donaldson by Atlanta.