Josh Donaldson, who’s coming off an outstanding season with the Atlanta Braves, is one of the biggest position players on the free agent market this offseason. After an injury-riddled 2018 season, the former American League Most Valuable Player Award recipient signed a one-year deal with the Braves. The 33-year-old third baseman went deep 37 times while driving in 94 runs in 2019, helping the Braves advance to the National League Division Series.
According to MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi, Donaldson is a primary target for the Texas Rangers this offseason, as they look to rebuild their organization with some high-profile players. They’re very interested in both Donaldson and Anthony Rendon, who would both be great fits in Texas. But Rendon is fresh off a World Series title in Washington D.C., so there’s a very high chance that he signs a long-term deal with the Nationals.
A Veteran Presence
The Rangers currently have no legitimate player at the hot corner. Isiah Kiner-Falefa played 25 games at third base last year, among several other players. They’re in dire need of an everyday third baseman. Who better than Josh Donaldson?
The former Braves third baseman is seeking a four-year deal, which would see him play until he’s 37. But the Rangers are very familiar with giving a long-term contract to a third baseman and being rewarded. Adrian Beltre is the name that comes to mind. The 21-year veteran spent his last eight seasons in the Lonestar State, making three of his four All-Star Game appearances in a Rangers uniform and playing until he was 39.
Texas needs more experience in its clubhouse and definitely several franchise-changing players to get back to the playoffs. They haven’t won a postseason series since they made back-to-back appearances in the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2011.
Donaldson is a player who has been around the majors for nine seasons and brings a lot of experience to the table, along with his talents on the field. There are several exciting young talents on the Rangers, like Joey Gallo, Ronald Guzman, and Nomar Mazara, among others. Having a seasoned big-league vet in the clubhouse to help these youngsters get through the grind of playing 162 games would definitely benefit the organization.
Texas is in Need of an Impact Bat
Donaldson has a very decorated big-league resume, especially in recent memory. He has become one of the most feared power hitters in the game, clubbing over 30 home runs a season from 2015-17 and in 2019. Donaldson also boasts a career .273 batting average. He’s more than just a power hitter and has also shown the ability to be a player who can hit for average.
Defensively, he’s stellar. Donaldson made just 13 errors in 148 games at the hot corner last season with the Braves, posting a .969 fielding percentage. A former catcher, Donaldson has a great arm and very smooth hands, proving to be one of the most reliable third basemen in Major League Baseball.
Although he’s soon going to turn 34, Donaldson is still a very good ballplayer who can make a positive impact on and off the field for the Rangers.
As they prepare to open their new ballpark in 2020, the Rangers will need to sign more than just an everyday third baseman. Starting pitching is also a priority, but giving Donaldson a three or four-year deal would be the start of a productive offseason.