The Minnesota Twins continued to fortify their dangerous lineup on Tuesday night, signing free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million contract. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com first reported the signing.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the length of Donaldson’s deal, as well as the fifth-year option that comes along with it.
Donaldson was the biggest name remaining on the free agent market among position players, and there were several teams vying for his services. The Atlanta Braves, whom Donaldson played for in 2019, were desperately trying to bring the self-titled, “Bringer of Rain” back for the foreseeable future but were ultimately outbid by the Twins.
The Donaldson signing comes just days after the Twins locked up their homegrown slugger, Miguel Sano, to a three-year contract extension to avoid arbitration. The Twins will now head into the 2020 season with a formidable lineup that should look something like this:
C: Mitch Garver
1B: Miguel Sanó
2B: Luis Arraez
SS: Jorge Polanco
3B: Josh Donaldson
LF: Eddie Rosario
CF: Byron Buxton
RF: Max Kepler
DH: Nelson Cruz
Needless to say, the Minnesota Twins will not be short of offensive firepower next season, as they compete with the revamped Chicago White Sox, as well as the persistently strong Cleveland Indians for control of the American League Central.
After battling injuries for several years, Donaldson returned to form in 2019 with the Braves. Across 155 games, he mashed 37 home runs and drove in 94 runs, while finishing with a .259 batting average. His power has always been his most attractive quality, but Donaldson’s propensity for getting on base is what makes him a complete player and a threat in the middle of any lineup. Donaldson drew 100 walks in 2019, which was seventh in Major League Baseball.
He’ll be joining a Twins lineup that knows all about scoring runs and getting on base. The Twins finished second in MLB last season in runs scored behind only the New York Yankees. The lineup is also stacked with other on-base, power-hitting kings such as Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sano. Donaldson’s presence also adds to the Twins’ bulk of right-handed power hitters, something that is rare to find throughout the league these days.
The Twins are assembled to finish in the top five in runs yet again in 2020, which will help them in their pursuit of defending their AL Central division crown. However, there’s still the question of whether they did enough to bolster their pitching staff, particularly their starting rotation?
Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi are still in place and will assuredly serve as the number one and two starters, respectively. After those two, however, there leaves much to be desired. The Twins signed pitchers Homer Bailey and Rich Hill and re-signed Michael Pineda to fill out their rotation, but given their injury histories, it will be difficult to predict just how much of an impact they’ll have in 2020.
The Twins also added to their bullpen, signing Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard, but their pitching staff still appears to be lacking compared to the White Sox and Indians.
Nevertheless, the Minnesota Twins sent a clear message to their division rivals by signing Josh Donaldson: they’re prepared to go to battle with a remixed pitching staff and one of the most powerful and formidable lineups in the sport.