The theorizing behind the scenes has long been that free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson would like to return to the Braves, where he was happy and very successful last year. But, with his market so strong, the theorizing also held that he wanted to get a four-year offer out of the Braves if he was going to sign back on, since there were other suitors at four years.
Well, Mark Feinsand reports this morning that now the Braves are at four years:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 2, 2020
With the Braves there at four years and near $100 million, according to Feinsand, it’s hard to see Donaldson ultimately going anywhere else *IF* it’s true that he really wants to return. At 34, it’s almost impossible to imagine him getting more than a four-year offer, so it might just come down to where he wants to be (and a few million in difference in the offers). So, again, it might be the Braves.
This is all, of course, highly relevant to the Cubs in their efforts to shop Kris Bryant to the best possible market and best possible trade fits.
Like we wrote yesterday on the subject, “whatever our feelings on the Cubs trading Bryant, it is crystal clear that the team is intent on at least finding out what they could get in return. Furthermore, if they are trying to accomplish the twin goals of getting under the luxury tax in 2020 and also trying to add young impact talent for 2021 and beyond (The 2020 Plan, imo), trading Bryant is the best way. So, then, as fans – fans of Bryant, even! – it remains rational to root for the best possible trade market to emerge, since that is likely what the Cubs are going to do anyway. And, I’ll be honest: there are versions of a Bryant trade that I could see being a good move for the Cubs. So, as a start, let’s get them Twins to sign Donaldson, and let the NL East teams fight it out for Bryant.”
If the Braves are going all out on Donaldson, that could leave the Nationals and Twins holding the bag, the latter of which has never been tied to Bryant. The Phillies, Dodgers, and Rangers have otherwise been tied to Bryant at various times this offseason.
Meanwhile, the Cubs await the Bryant service time grievance decision (this month?) before they can realistically entertain serious trade offers.