Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Article: Official Rule 5 Draft Day Thread

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 02:00 AM
The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been fairly quiet against in 2018. Certainly there are meetings, but there haven't been a lot of si...

Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:29 AM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...

Article: Twins Trying to Sustain Excellence

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:00 AM
If you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed at the close of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, I’m sure you’re not the only Minnesota Twins fan i...

Non-Twins Off-season news, tidbits and transactions

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:03 PM
We had a thread for items around the baseball world that were worth sharing but not worth a thread of their own. Now that the 2018 season...

Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:00 AM
Falvey discusses Sano, payroll, etc. http://www.1500espn....an-mackey-judd/

Photo

Donaldson to Fix Twins Hot Corner?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 06 November 2018 · 2,097 views

minnesota twins josh donaldson miguel sano joe mauer
Bryce Harper has the best hair on the open market this winter, but Josh Donaldson may not be far behind. The oft-injured third basemen is a free agent and coincidentally plays a position that the Minnesota Twins could be looking to rectify. Joe Mauer should provide clarity to the club soon, and that could leave Miguel Sano with an opportunity to swap sides on the diamond. Transitioning from the division-rival Indians, Donaldson could be an answer to the Twins questions.

When the 2019 season gets underway the former Oakland and Toronto third basemen will be 33 years old. He's got just shy of 900 big league games under his belt, and has eight years of MLB service to his credit. Talent is undeniable when looking at what Donaldson possesses, but he's also played in just 165 games across the past two seasons.

Last season the Donaldson made $23 million in the final year of arbitration eligibility. He enters the market at an odd time, looking for a long term payday but also having to calm fears of recent injury concerns and the reality of being an aging commodity. While a one-year deal may be more team friendly this is probably his last chance to get paid, and some level of stability will be hard to pass up.

From a dollars and cents standpoint, something like three years and $75 million seems like fair market value. Donaldson would be 36 at the end of that deal, and $25 million is a steal for a guy that has owned a .931 OPS dating back to 2015. There's obviously the risk that injuries derail things from the get go, but he played in 16 games down the stretch for Cleveland and was healthy enough to act as an impact bat in the Postseason.

The Minnesota Twins have to decide how they are going to handle both their corner and middle infield spots during the first year under Rocco Baldelli. Manny Machado is a perfect fit solely from a positional standpoint, but in that same vein, so to is Donaldson. The latter comes in at a far lower price point, and given the spending flexibility, is still well within the realm of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine's reach.

At his absolute best Miguel Sano is probably a league average defender at third base. Moving over to first puts him in a spot where defense is less of an issue, but also allows him the opportunity to take strides forward at a less demanding position. In Donaldson an acquiring team is getting a player that has never posted a negative defensive season in terms of DRS. With over 7,000 innings to his credit he owns a 53 DRS total and has a combined 30.3 UZR. Although he's never been rewarded with a Gold Glove, the leather is plenty strong with this one.

If there's another avenue that Donaldson plays up for the Twins, it's a middle-of-the-order bat that checks off every box. Not only is he a real power threat, having hit 29 or more home runs in each full season since 2014, but he's not a strikeout machine either. On-base threats are something Minnesota's lineup could use, and his .383 mark since 2015 is beyond impressive. Allowing Sano to see that kind of production, and likely learn from it, could pay dividends in more ways than one.

The reality is that when dealing with free agents the marriage has to be an ideal fit for both sides. No matter how much money the Twins could throw at the likes of Manny Machado, there's plenty of other big hurdles to overcome. Going into contract talks with Donaldson hoping for a one-year pact may be enticing for the Twins, but it probably doesn't move the needle or position them well amongst competing markets. Should the front office push their chips forward and believe the injury issues are behind him, this could be the opportunity to land a superstar talent through a perfect storm.

Pairing the likes of Donaldson with a lineup that includes Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton should be mouth-watering for Twins Territorians. You're never going to avoid risk when ponying up this level of cash, but being able to make a move like this doesn't often present itself so perfectly to organizations like the Twins. Whether Mauer returns or not, Donaldson fits and the iron is hot.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • nclahammer and railmarshalljon like this



Impact bat, solid defense, proven veteran player... If he could stay healthy I would be all for it.  

 

If I was GM (and thankfully for all of us I'm not) I might actually roll the dice with this one. It carries some risk, but.. it could very well work out to be a good deal.   

    • Oldgoat_MN, Ted Schwerzler and SF Twins Fan like this
Photo
Ted Schwerzler
Nov 06 2018 02:27 PM

 

Impact bat, solid defense, proven veteran player... If he could stay healthy I would be all for it.  

 

If I was GM (and thankfully for all of us I'm not) I might actually roll the dice with this one. It carries some risk, but.. it could very well work out to be a good deal.   

To a certain extent, this is the market inefficiency that the Twins are poised to manipulate. The big spenders may not be interested in the risk here, but Minnesota could have a star somewhat fall into their lap.

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
Photo
Kelly Vance
Nov 06 2018 09:20 PM

Do NOT sign Manny Machado.  He is a dog

    • rdehring likes this
Photo
Physics Guy
Nov 06 2018 11:35 PM

I very much like the idea of Donaldson, but more as a part-time 3B, 1B and DH.Doing so could help keep him healthy.I will be surprised if he is able to get anywhere near $75M over three years considering he has played 165 games in the past two years.

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 07 2018 05:51 PM

I would like to hear more about why 1B is a less demanding position for Sano. 1B takes away some of the plus factor of Sano's rocket arm. I realize a 3B must charge slow grounders and fire the ball to 1B, which I think Sano does well. A 1B must also field line drives, grounders, popups, chase foul balls, run into the OF for soft flies, leap for liners, run to his left and right, be involved in catching numerous low throws, high throws, wide throws from infielders, throwing soft tosses to pitchers who are running to 1B and be in danger of being injured in collisions at 1B,I'm not sure where the 1B is supposed to position himself on various throws from the OF vs. where the 3B must position himself on OF throws...but everybody is supposed to be somewhere on every conceivable play. I would like to read more about why Sano should be moved to 1B instead of remaining at 3B.

    • brvama, Circus Boy, caninatl04 and 1 other like this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 07 2018 06:55 PM

Donaldson played WR, punter and defensive back in HS. He pitched and played SS in HS . When he went to Auburn for college he moved to catcher for 3 years and was drafted by the Cubs in 2007 as a catcher. He caught in the minors (played some 3B, but mostly caught)and was brought to the majors as a catcher with Oakland, when Suzuki got injured. He caught in the majors and high minors until he was moved to 3B in 2012. He has been on the DL for right shoulder injury, dead arm syndrome, hip injury (2016) and for calf strains (2017 and most of 2018}. It may be that 8 years at catcher anddefensive positions in HS football before that, have put Donaldson at risk for future leg injuries. This information must be weighed in any decision to offer him any contract, much less a $25 million a year contract for 3 years. He turns 33 in December.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
I'm usually not a fan of multi-year contracts for FAs in their 30's. One reason is that I'm worried about blocking the potentially large crop of minor leaguers scheduled to come up over the next few years. But, if I'm reading these posts correctly, there isn't an obvious candidate to take over 3B.

So, maybe Donaldson makes some sense.
    • Original Whizzinator likes this

For the Twins to consider Donaldson, we would have to know what they are expecting out of Sano.Is he doing a good job continuing to cut weight?What type of workout plan is he on, and is he doing it?Is he still planning on winter ball?

 

The Twins have a lot of information about him that we don't.If Sano is on plan, doubt we will see anything done at 3B.If he isn't, something like Donaldson on a 1 or 2 year plan may make a lot of sense.If you see them talking to/signing Donaldson, it tells us Miguel is putting pounds on rather than taking them off.

Photo
Ted Schwerzler
Nov 08 2018 06:47 PM

For the Twins to consider Donaldson, we would have to know what they are expecting out of Sano.Is he doing a good job continuing to cut weight?What type of workout plan is he on, and is he doing it?Is he still planning on winter ball?
 
The Twins have a lot of information about him that we don't.If Sano is on plan, doubt we will see anything done at 3B.If he isn't, something like Donaldson on a 1 or 2 year plan may make a lot of sense.If you see them talking to/signing Donaldson, it tells us Miguel is putting pounds on rather than taking them off.


Not sure I agree with that premise. Believe the decision at 1B/3B relies more on Mauer than anyone. Regardless of what Sano is doing right now, it’s still likely 1B is in his future. The market is pretty poor at 1B this year, so a big splash could be made at 3B.

Signing a 3B to a 1 year deal might also light a fire under Sano.

 

(Or it might not, but I hope something will.)

The question is: Who's on Third. Is Sano the third baseman for at least three more seasons, until the Twins see if any on-the-fringe names of prospects, can play the position? Third base is NOT a strength in the organization right now.. Really. It isn't. At least in a player of the quality of Donaldson or with the expectations of Sano.

 

Is Sano better suited to first base and designated hitter? At this point hate to make Sano JUST a designated hitter. We can't really answer the question if Sano stays in the game better if in position on the field rather than as a watcher from the bench. And, today, right now, the Twins have at least Tyler Austin who should fill the power needs at first until the Twins see if Rooker or someone else steps up to the plate.

 

Three years at $75 million? WIll he bring stability to the order and the team? Is the salary too high that he isn't flippable at some point if the Twins would like to move on, even if absorbing part of the salary? Will he be willing to even look at the Twins and field an offer?

 

The Twins do have the funds. It wouldn't break the bank, assuming Mauer isn't coming back. No doubt the Twins will try and low ball if possible, depending on interest, but they should make a competitive offer for his services.

I'm all for giving Donaldson a "prove it" deal for 1 year. Solid bat, solid glove and more importantly, he's a guy that seems to have a really strong desire to win. I think that could be a good influence on a team that sometimes seems too laid back for their own good.

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

we could sign Donaldson and trade for Tulo, and whether they ever stay on the field or not, if we use career stats... they will look good on paper,

 

we could sign Donaldson and trade for Tulo, and whether they ever stay on the field or not, if we use career stats... they will look good on paper,

It is not known how good Tulo would be given his injuries, so I would pass.Donaldson, I could see, even 3/75 would not break the bank.I do like that he is not a big strikeout guy, Twins have a number of those.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

I would like to hear more about why 1B is a less demanding position for Sano. 1B takes away some of the plus factor of Sano's rocket arm. I realize a 3B must charge slow grounders and fire the ball to 1B, which I think Sano does well. A 1B must also field line drives, grounders, popups, chase foul balls, run into the OF for soft flies, leap for liners, run to his left and right, be involved in catching numerous low throws, high throws, wide throws from infielders, throwing soft tosses to pitchers who are running to 1B and be in danger of being injured in collisions at 1B,I'm not sure where the 1B is supposed to position himself on various throws from the OF vs. where the 3B must position himself on OF throws...but everybody is supposed to be somewhere on every conceivable play. I would like to read more about why Sano should be moved to 1B instead of remaining at 3B.

Let us all pause to recall the painful image of Harmon K doing the splits in the 1968 ASG. 

If we go in to 2019 "counting on" Sano for anything it would seem irresponsible to me. I would plan as if he were not a factor and enjoy it as a bonus if he is productive and healthy. That being said, I feel it is important to sign a bat that is elite for this lineup.

I get the optimism, but why would any Twins fan have their "mouths watering" over a player that had a .383 OPS, another with a .679 OPS, and a player that will be 33 years old that only played 52 games last season (and only 113 the year before)?

 

Obviously, getting even 80% of a guy that was the league MVP just two seasons ago and was in the top 10 in MVP voting 4 years in a row would be great. But you aren't guaranteed anything with a player that age.And even with that realistic view of his production, what is he really going to do?Get you to 86 wins?At $75 million over 3 years?  

 

I don't see the fit.  

 

Especially since it is clear that Sano and Buxton are in their last chance mode.Each has 4 years of experience now and the question marks are significant.Will Sano show up at 300 lbs? WIll Buxton even be healthy or ever be healthy?The probability that neither of them are on the Twins roster at the end of the season is pretty significant.