Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves have signed third baseman Josh Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million deal. That, combined with the Braves bringing Brian McCann home, makes for a pretty big day for Atlanta.
It makes some a good degree of sense for Donaldson to do a one-year deal. He was poised to sign a mega-deal this winter before injury cost him two-thirds of the 2018 season. As such, signing for one season, returning to previous MVP form and then cashing in next winter makes some degree of sense. Especially when it makes him one of the higher paid players in the game, at least for 2019. Note: that $23 million salary matches what he earned last season in his final year of arbitration, which at the time was a record for an arbitration-eligible player.
There’s some risk here for Donaldson, of course. If he doesn’t return to form he’s got his $23 million — this is not some super risky make-good kind of deal — but he would have another year on him and two years of injured and/or subpar play, which could hurt his market next year. He obviously believes in himself, however, and clearly the Braves do too.
He’ll no doubt be the Braves’ starting third baseman in 2019, which creates a bit of an infield logjam in Atlanta. Johan Camargo had an excellent year at the hot corner in 2018, hitting .272/.349/.457. He can play shortstop and second base too, though, which could mean that he becomes something of a super-utility guy, spelling Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies at second, in addition to backing up Donaldson. That may take some plate appearances away from him and/or Swanson, but it gives the Braves some excellent depth.