The race to sign Josh Donaldson may be nearing an end and “executives are expecting a Donaldson decision soon”, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:
Executives are expecting Donaldson decision soon. Feels like mostly an NL East battle. Belief is Nats are in big — likely at 4 years — but JD is expected to give Braves a last chance. Twins, Rangers, Dodgers have been linked but seem like longer shots (LA already has a great 3B)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 19, 2019
Donaldson is the biggest fish left on the free agent market and is believed to receive (at the very least) a three-year deal with a growing possibility of a fourth year. Now that Anthony Rendon has signed with the Angels, there is no reason for Donaldson to wait any longer as the Christmas holiday approaches and things usually slow down from then until the start of the new year.
Every indication is that the Braves and Nationals are the frontrunners to land the 34-year-old third baseman, who had a resurgent 2019 as he was named Comeback Player of the Year and hit .259/.379/.521 with a 132 wRC+, 37 homers, 94 RBI and a 4.9 WAR. Washington has a huge hole at third base with Rendon departing and it has long been believed the Braves would very much like to reunite with Donaldson assuming the sticker price was not too high.
If Donaldson does opt to sign somewhere besides Atlanta, what has already been a wild Braves offseason will stand to become even more intriguing. While the front office may publicly say they are comfortable with Johan Camargo and Austin Riley starting at third base, I am not sure anyone really feels good handing over the keys to either player given the current state of the lineup. At the very least the club would need to add one impact bat, if not two.