The MLB Winter Meetings have come and gone with the Atlanta Braves still searching for a power bet for the middle of the lineup. The preferred choice, Josh Donaldson, is taking his time making a decision.
With his exceptional season last year, after two injury-plagued seasons, Josh Donaldson has earned room to be patient with the decision that will change his life for the next three to four years. Also, he’s earned the astronomical figures that will be paid to him when he does decide to sign his contract, whenever that is. However, Donaldson does seem to be taking his time, with little to no information coming out with where he wants to go or where he might go. The long wait is putting some teams on edge, like the Atlanta Braves.
After Anthony Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels, it was assumed Donaldson would follow up with his decision to where he wants to play for the next few seasons. Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, and others have all been linked to Donaldson throughout the free agency process. Reportedly, the most interest was coming from the Braves, Phillies, and Nationals. With the loss of Rendon, the Nationals seem to be stepping up their pursuit.
If the Nationals are willing to go big for Donaldson, the Braves could be out of luck. Coming off their World Series win, the Nationals are looking to stay competitive coming into this season. Donaldson would go a long way in getting the Nationals back in the position to defend their title. The move would also hurt two of their biggest rivals, the Braves and Phillies, in the process.
If the Atlanta Braves miss out on Donaldson, there will be a big hole in the middle of the lineup. Yes, the Braves will still have Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, and Ozzie Albies, but the addition of Donaldson to those three is what made the Braves one of the best teams in all of baseball last season. If the Braves want to continue to progress in the postseason, Donaldson would play a big role in that if the Braves can resign the third basemen. Without Donaldson, the Braves will likely turn to Acuna or Nick Markakis, please no, to slot in behind Freeman in the lineup. That’s not great for the Braves.
Missing out on Donaldson would be a big blow to the Braves. Losing Donaldson to the World Series champs, the Washington Nationals, would be devastating. The Phillies wouldn’t be great either. If the Nationals are willing to go higher in terms of money and average annual salary, there isn’t much the Braves can do. After losing two years to injury, no one could blame Donaldson for worrying about his financial future. Let’s just hope the Braves aren’t willing to let Donaldson sign elsewhere.