Josh Donaldson Is a Rumored Twins Target, but Should Mike Moustakas Be Considered Instead?
Image courtesy of © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY SportsThe Minnesota Twins will certainly be linked to a number of players over the next several weeks as the offseason is truly under way. This past weekend, Darren Wolfson of KSTP linked the Twins to free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson. This confirms to some extent the front office is willing to consider a position change for slugger Miguel Sano.
After struggling through injury in previous seasons, Donaldson turned in a very good season at the age of 33 for the Atlanta Braves. His average was down from his 2015 MVP season, but he still slashed .259/.379/.521, a .900 OPS, and hit 37 home runs. Placing that right-handed power bat in the Twins lineup would certainly add to an already dangerous lineup.
Is Donaldson the best option for the Twins if they choose to move Sano to first base? Another free agent the Twins could look at is the former Royals and Brewers infielder Mike Moustakas. When it comes to the bat, Moustakas isn’t too far behind Donaldson. He's also been both healthier and more consistent the past three years.
Last season, Moustakas slashed .254/.329/.516 with an .845 OPS and 35 home runs. That followed 28 home runs in 2018 and 38 in 2017. Those offensive numbers would look good slotted into the Twins lineup, even if coming from the left side of the plate.
Now the real reason Sano would be moved from third is to improve upon his -5 DRS performance in the hot corner. Considering his age and injury history, Donaldson performed very well defensively, turning in a +15 DRS this past season. Moustakas would bring the defense back to “not hurting” level as he had a 0 DRS in 2019 and a +2 in 2018.
Donaldson is clearly the better third basemen based off of 2019 performances, but that also comes at a cost. The Offseason Handbook placed his contract at two years, $40 million while MLB Trade Rumors projects him for three years and $75 million. Meanwhile, the Handbook puts Moustakas at three years, $36 million and MLBTR two years, $20 million.
That average annual salary difference is enough to allow the Twins to consider most or all of a contract for another pitcher. That is enough for me to consider Moustakas over Donaldson. I will admit that it isn’t as obvious a decision as I initially thought it might be, mainly due to Donaldson’s far superior defensive numbers. If their money comes in closer to each other, I certainly want Donaldson in those new Twins baby blues.
If the Twins are moving Sano to first for 2020 who are you hoping the Twins add for third base? Is it one of these two? Let us know in the comments!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Best Case Scenarios for New Twins 40-Man Additions
— The C.J. Cron Conundrum
— Do Any of These Underrated Free Agents Fit in Minnesota?
- Dave The Dastardly likes this