There were a few players that had some reasonably tough decisions with their qualifying offers. Most of us would have bet that former Giants reliever Will Smith was the guy that was going to be the most likely to accept, but then the Braves went ahead and signed him to multi-year deal so who the hell knows anymore.
However, the guy that had one of the easier decisions to make was Josh Donaldson. Aside from the rumors that Donaldson already has half a dozen teams that want him including the Braves (and that was BEFORE he made his decision official), Donaldson’s gambit of betting on himself with a one year deal paid off and he was widely considered to be looking to explore the free agent marketplace.
Again, this was largely expected...but Donaldson made the official decision to decline his qualifying offer.
Josh Donaldson has rejected the qualifying offer from the Braves, per a source.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 14, 2019
Donaldson posted a 132 wRC+ with 37 homers while playing excellent defense over at third base and played 155 games, so it isn’t a surprise that he is already finding a large amount of interest. He also has the added benefit of not being a guy that is going to require a large number of years to commit to which is a big plus in this day and age. The Braves will still have some advantages in signing him given that he seemed to enjoy his time in Atlanta as well as the fact that the draft pick compensation attached to him will deter some teams and depress other teams’ offers.
It will be interesting to see what the Braves do with the rest of the offseason. Donaldson becoming a free agent was pretty much a given, but with the money committed to Smith today, it will be VERY interesting to see if that decision impacts the Braves’ decisions including retaining Donaldson between now and spring training.