The deal that Jones Donaldson brought to Toronto this week in 2014 was invented, and Alex Antopoulos could have hoped.
As an opening act, Donaldson led the Blue Jace back to the MVP's 41-season playoffs. He almost maintains this level of production with a seasonal season of 7.5 wins in 2016 and strong if cut back to 2017. Although the injuries would ultimately deviate it for most of 2018, there is no doubt that the acquisition of Donaldson for Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Gravyman and Sean Nolin were a huge success.
Four years later, Anthropoulos acquired Donaldson for the second time, this time a one-year $ 23 million deal with Atlanta Braves, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. Once again, the deal has the potential to become a great victory for Anthropoulos.
First of all, Braves gets a player with significant offensive abilities. Donaldson published last year's .801 OPS when his wounds and shoulders limited him to 52 games, but there is reason to believe he could withdraw in a repulsive fashion. Generally, FanGraphs' Steamer conservative predictions predict a .257 / .366 / .485 hit line with 27 moves and 4.6 victories over the Donaldson substitution in 2019.
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Only two player positions are scheduled for more war next year: Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. It is clear that none of these players will be available for a total of $ 23 million.
Although Mahado and Harper are far younger than Donaldson, who is 33 next month. At the age of 26, these players are still able to enter the first seasons until Donaldson comes out of it. Besides, Mashado and Harper look better bets to stay healthy, especially given that calf injuries have threatened Donaldson for long distances in each of the last two seasons.
But accepting this risk, Braves added Donaldson to a lineup that already includes Freddy Freeman and Ronald Akuna Jr.. On paper this seems like a significant upgrade over Johan Camargo, which can now slide into utility and serve as insurance if Donaldson returns injuries.
A few months ago Donaldson cleared the August release by winning $ 23 million – an indication that no team rated him with that salary at that time. In this context, it is not surprising that the return of Blue Jays is limited to a player who will later be named Julian Merryweather's right palm. But the strong finish of Donaldson on the plate (.920 OPS with Cleveland) and the apparently improved defense recovered that value to the point where a National League team believes in their crime and defense.
Although it was not the huge salary day that was planned for Donaldson, we may see how this deal can work for him as well. In the short term, he joins a contender and does not get a salary. With a strong season in 2019, Donaldson could theoretically sign an even more important contract next season. At that point he will turn 34 and teams are increasingly hesitating to engage with players over the age of 30, but the season in Atlanta will create a lot of demand for high wage deals, even if they are limited in time.
Meanwhile, Braves can get a real deal. On the other hand, the teams that booked $ 18-28 million last season arrived in the middle of the season with deals for Mike Minor ($ 28 million), Brian Shaw ($ 27 million), Jake McGay ($ 27 million) Brandon Morrow ($ 21 million) and Tommy Hunter $ 18 million). None of these pots have the potential to influence the season as Donaldson could.
As Blue Jays fans know firsthand, the same logic applies to Jose Bautista when he signs a one-year $ 18 million dollar contract before the 2017 season. This was a good decision, but it just did not work, and there are scenarios where Donaldson's deal is just as weak for Braves.
Given this, there is definitely no guarantee that this will be well spent money in Atlanta. He's never in a free agency. Normally, however, there is a very long-term risk required to land a Donaldsman caliber player. It does not exist here, and so it is much easier to imagine the way that Josh Donaldson's two deals are down to success for Anthropoulos.