There was a shockwave felt throughout the Atlanta Braves and Braves Country when it was announced Josh Donaldson would be signing a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. Now, with a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup, the Braves will have to shift to Plan B.
The Atlanta Braves were thought to be the frontrunners of the Josh Donaldson chase. Even the Washington Nationals were thought to be more of a contender to land Josh Donaldson than the Minnesota Twins were. That all changed yesterday afternoon when the news of Donaldson signing with the Twins was announced. After so much speculation at how high the price would go, the Twins inked Donaldson to a four-year, 92 million dollar deal.
For the Braves, your first thought should have been, “What were the Braves offering?” Last week, I talked about the conflicting reports surrounding Josh Donaldson in regards to how high his price had climbed throughout this process. The numbers were around 100-110 million dollars when it came to the Nationals and Braves. For the Twins, the 84 million number that was leaked proved to be accurate, or at least closer to what Donaldson ended up with.
Now that Donaldson has signed for the amount of money he has, it makes you think whatever the Braves were offering had to be less than this Twins offer, possibly a lot less. It was thought that Donaldson preferred to return to Atlanta with a long-term deal, even if Minnesota or Washington were offering more money or years. Now, this is speculation, but it’s safe to assume the Braves offer was well below the Twins offer. Also, it’s safe to assume the Braves were not willing to budge from their offer.
If the Braves had a chance to sign Donaldson with a slightly higher, or equal, offer, and chose not to, that could end up being a big mistake. Yesterday, I decided to take a look at the cons of signing a 34-year-old to a long-term contract with the money over 9 figures. Even though the move would have been risky, hypothetically with that much money, I thought it was still the right move for the Braves, a team isn’t fair from World Series contention. After learning how much Donaldson did sign for, it seems like a massive mistake to not match or exceed that offer. Like the Twins did with Donaldson, the Braves could have structured the contract with options in case Donaldson’s production fell off a cliff. Now, without Donaldson, the Braves will have to find a power bat if this team still wants to be a World Series contender next season.
Now, the Braves will have to shift to plan B. It’s safe to assume the Braves will continue to poke and prod around Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado. Marcell Ozuna and Nick Castellanos are two free agent names that have been floated after Donaldson’s signing was announced. The Braves will need to make a move because Nick Markakis is projected as the cleanup hitter if the season was to start today. Luckily, the Braves still have a month before Spring Training gets going, so the team has time to make a move. As the team is constructed today, the Braves are in dire need of a power bat in the middle of the lineup.
Watching Josh Donaldson go to the Minnesota Twins is really rough. What makes it even worse is the Braves were unwilling to match the Twins’ offer. It’s just another example of the Braves ownership not willing to spend the money to make this team an actual World Series contender. Unless the money they saved on Donaldson is used on a high-priced free agent, this move will prove to be a disaster. The Braves were bonafide World Series contenders with Josh Donaldson in the middle of the lineup. Now, it’s unknown what the Braves will be.