The long, drawn out courtship of Josh Donaldson continues, as he is leaving the Braves, Twins, and Nationals twisting in the wind.
At the outset of free agency, Josh Donaldson was expected to receive a solid deal. The anticipation was that the third baseman would receive a three year deal in the $75 million range, a handsome payday for a 34 year old player. While the Braves were the favorites to retain his services, teams such as the Rangers and Nationals – if Anthony Rendon departed in free agency – were expected to be involved as well.
As we head into the third month of free agency, Donaldson remains unsigned. The Braves are still the favorites, with the Nationals maintaining their interest after Rendon headed to the west coast. Texas has moved on, but the Twins emerged as a surprising player in the market. Unlike in years past when the top free agents languished on the market, Donaldson is not lacking for suitors.
Understandably, Donaldson has raised his asking price. He has demanded a fourth year – all three teams have reportedly agreed to add an additional year to their offers. His price tag has increased, with each team reportedly at or near $100 million. It is time to make a decision.
Instead, Donaldson has continued to drag out his free agency. The Twins had considered themselves out, but there are reports that they have had daily conversations with his representatives. The Nationals signed Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera – two moves that do not preclude them from adding Donaldson, at least in theory.
At this point, Donaldson needs to make up his mind. Teams will move on to other options, looking for other ways to manage the hot corner. Washington already has its contingency plan. The Twins already have Miguel Sano at third, and really need a first baseman more than a third baseman. The Braves could be the last team standing if Donaldson and his representatives do not come to a decision.
Perhaps that is what Donaldson wants. He had been expected to return to Atlanta anyway, with his free agency dragging out until the Braves offered a fourth year. However, that additional year was added at the beginning of the year. Nearly a week later, nothing has changed.
The ball is now in Josh Donaldson’s court. It is time to make a decision.