From the Department of No Duh: Jon Heyman reports that the Braves will attempt to re-sign third baseman Josh Donaldson this offseason.
And to be clear, it’s not “no duh” that they would try to re-sign him. It’s no-duh that they should do so.
Last year Atlanta signed Donaldson to what was, essentially, a high-priced make-good deal, agreeing to a one-year, $23 million pact. There was risk there, of course, as Donaldson had missed much of the previous two seasons with injury and there was no guarantee that he’d be healthy in 2019. He was, however, and hit .259/.369/.509 with 37 homers and 94 RBI over 155 games. His bat and his still-excellent glove were huge reasons the Braves were able to repeat as NL East champions.
Having shown he’s still a high-caliber performer makes re-signing Donaldson a good idea, but he will obviously command multi-year offers from multiple suitors this offseason. The Braves’ general desire to have Donaldson back has been pretty clear since at least the middle of the season, but it’s been some time since they have chosen to out-bid other clubs for high-profile free agents. We’ll see how strong that desire truly is over the next couple of months.
In the meantime, expect them to make him a qualifying offer, which would pay him $17.8 million in 2020. Expect Donaldson to reject it too, after which the real fun will begin.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.