FEINSAND: Twins to Sign Josh Donaldson
Image courtesy of Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsYes folks, it is really happening. The Twins have made a precedent-shattering free agent splash.
The four-year contract is worth $92 million ($23M AAV) with a fifth-year option that could push it to $100 million.
The slugging veteran and former MVP — reputed for his bat flips and historical domination of Target Field — upgrades an already potent offense after bashing 37 home runs for Atlanta in 2019. This marked the fourth time in five years he has launched 30+ home runs, excepting only an injury-shortened 2018. Back in 2015, Donaldson earned AL MVP honors with 41 bombs and 123 RBIs.
His arrival will push Miguel Sano across the diamond to first base, and while it's fair to wonder how Sano will fare as a full-timer there for the first time, the move will almost certainly improve Minnesota's infield defense overall.
According to Fangraphs, Donaldson ranked 17th out of 32 players to play 500+ innings at third base in UZR/150 (2.1), whereas Sano ranked dead last at -19.9. In defensive runs saved, Donaldson ranked second (15) behind Matt Chapman, while Sano was at 25th (-5). Age is of course a factor, and the length of his deal makes it likely Donaldson will move to first or DH at some point, but for now he's a dramatic defensive upgrade.
No, he's not a pitcher. And there are likely still moves to come on that front. But Donaldson does figure to have a positive impact on run prevention. The bat is his featured strength, and rightfully so, but this acquisition helps the pitching staff. Don't overlook that.
In general, this is a huge name and a huge get for the Twins. Since 2014, Donaldson ranks third among position players in fWAR (behind only Mike Trout in Mookie Betts). He's a superstar addition to an already loaded lineup, though it's valid to wonder how this contract will age in Years 3 and 4. Donaldson turned 34 in December.
We'll update with more details as they come in. How are you feeling about the biggest free agent signing in Twins history? What needs to happen next?
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