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Front Page: Josh Donaldson Is a Rumored Twins Target, but Should Mike Moustakas Be Considered Instead?


Nate Palmer
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Josh Donaldson has been filling up Minnesota Twins related rumors over the weekend. Should he be the only third baseman the Twins are kicking the tires on? Mike Moustakas might be a free agent worth getting to move a state westward for 2020.The 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.

 

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Donaldson had a major comeback last season. You would also be paying more double for Donaldson as well. Moose has been consistent over the past few years.

 

So you could add Moose and a very good bullpen arm or two or Donaldson.

 

Donaldson will also command more years than Moose will for sure.

 

Then all we need is to find our favorite rally squirrel and we can have Moose & Squirrel take over Target Field.

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Considering all factors, to me the decision is easy. Moose. With all due respect to Donaldson, every projection has him at twice the $ as Moustakas. Living in Royals country here in Omaha, I'm pretty familiar with him and his career. While not elite defensively, he's turned himself in to a decent/quality 3B with a consistent stick. I have been honestly and shockingly surprised how he has bounced around considering how solid a player he is and his consistent production.

 

IF the Twins were serious about making a change at this point, I would jump at a 2yr $12M per vs what Donaldson would seem to command. He's been healthier and is 2yrs younger as well. His cost would be about $5-6M more than keeping Cron. Again, much less than Donaldson, and that $ influences pitching moves/additions as well.

 

If you really like Frazier's glove, and really believe he can at least duplicate his 2019 season, then be comes much cheaper on probably a 1yr deal. But unless you really feel good about those things, Sano/Cron sounds like a better alternative to me.

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This could be a great move and in reality neither player’s contract should be a barrier to signing any pitcher if it’s only 2 years (or 3 with annual value at $10MM). This may also help make Sano available via trade for a young, controllable front line starter. He is much more likely than Rosario to help gather interest in such a trade. 

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The Twins need 2 starting pitchers more than anything. Kick tires at 3B all you want FO, but get 2 quality starting pitchers first, please. Hopefully both new SP's will produce at high levels, but if only one is a true "Ace", even that moves the Twins closer to a World Series Championship. At least one successful free agent "Ace", plus an improving Berrios and Odorizi. A really good staring 3. And hopefully the second free agent SP will also produce in any of the 2,3 or 4 slots. Imagine Ryu and Wheeler in the Twins lineup?  Cuba Gooding said it best in Jerry McGuire when he said: "Show me the money, Jerry. Show me the money". Offer these 2 SP's enough money to get them to sign. Then see how much $ is left for 1B or 3B or SS. Frankly I'd rather move Arraez to 3B and Polanco to 2B and sign Iglesias for defense at SS.  I contend these moves would form a really good starting pitching staff and improve fielding at SS and 3B and possibly even 2B. I feel we need better IF defense plus two "number 1 quality pitchers" to be added in order to win the World Series next year. The Twins have the money...now is the time to "show" it.

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Would much rather see Moustakas with us over Donaldson, both have comparable stats last year, and Moose really turned it on with the Brewers late last season when Yelich went down, so that shows great clubhouse appeal to me; not too mention the money saved with him over Donaldson...Only question I have is how will Sano actually be at 1B, hopefully he can pick a low throw

 

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I like Donaldson as a player, but he has a bit of a reputation as being a PITA in the clubhouse. Atlanta reportedly had some issues with that early last year before a conversation between the manager and player got Donaldson to buy in and then they went on a run. Would he fit in this clubhouse?

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Reposting here some source material describing Donaldson in the locker room.

 

From 2015 new to the Jays.

 

https://www.theglobe...rticle25414792/

 

There are a few paragraphs here about Donaldson in the locker room

 

https://torontolife....sident-hothead/

 

I think I would want this guy in my locker room.

 

Then again leaving the Jays...

 

https://bluejaysnati...jays-clubhouse/

 

On the other hand from the Braves...

 

https://lastwordonba...josh-donaldson/

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I said back on November 15th I though the twins would be a surprise suitor for Moustakas and I still think that is on the table.  More than anything it shows they are willing to move Sano to 1st and have a replacement at 3rd.  Either Donaldson or Moustakas would be a big improvement in my mind.  For the cheaper contract and just slightly less top performance but more dependability I would pick Moose over Donaldson, but that is just me.  

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Trades not free agent pitchers:

Polanco belongs at 2nd making Arraez the odd man out as trade bait. Package Arraez, (he's not Carew yet) Rooker, Duran, and Gordan for Trevor Story and Jon Gray. Trade Kepler to the Rays for Glasnow (ace in waiting) and the Rays top pitching prospect. The Rays need offense and Kepler is cheap for the low budget Rays. Move Rosario to right and sign Alex Gordan for left on a 1 year deal until Kirilloff or Larnach force him out of the starting lineup as a late inning defensive replacement. Sign Moustakis for third and move Sano to first. Now the Twins will have the cash to sign their core players including Story and Gray to long term deals that are a lot less expensive than paying 20-25 million per year for pitching.

1.Berrios

2.Glasnow

3.Gray

4.Odorizzi

5.Grateral

lf-Gordan

cf-Buxton

rf-Rosario

3b-Moustakis

ss-Story

2b-Polanco

1b-Sano

c-Garver

dh-Cruz

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Trades not free agent pitchers:

Polanco belongs at 2nd making Arraez the odd man out as trade bait. Package Arraez, (he's not Carew yet) Rooker, Duran, and Gordan for Trevor Story and Jon Gray. Trade Kepler to the Rays for Glasnow (ace in waiting) and the Rays top pitching prospect. The Rays need offense and Kepler is cheap for the low budget Rays. Move Rosario to right and sign Alex Gordan for left on a 1 year deal until Kirilloff or Larnach force him out of the starting lineup as a late inning defensive replacement. Sign Moustakis for third and move Sano to first. Now the Twins will have the cash to sign their core players including Story and Gray to long term deals that are a lot less expensive than paying 20-25 million per year for pitching.

1.Berrios

2.Glasnow

3.Gray

4.Odorizzi

5.Grateral

lf-Gordan

cf-Buxton

rf-Rosario

3b-Moustakis

ss-Story

2b-Polanco

1b-Sano

c-Garver

dh-Cruz

Is Gordon not going to retire? I thought he said he wasn't going to play anywhere other than KC?

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Donaldson would certainly be an X-factor in the clubhouse. He and Rocco would mix about as well as oil and water; Donaldson might have fit better with those Twins teams of the late 90s, early 2000s.

 

Here, I am re-linking to one of the stories shared by another member in an earlier post. Its a long read, and I’m about half way through. Language warning.

 

https://torontolife.com/city/life/home-josh-donaldson-blue-jays-resident-hothead/

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Trades not free agent pitchers:

Polanco belongs at 2nd making Arraez the odd man out as trade bait. Package Arraez, (he's not Carew yet) Rooker, Duran, and Gordan for Trevor Story and Jon Gray. Trade Kepler to the Rays for Glasnow (ace in waiting) and the Rays top pitching prospect. The Rays need offense and Kepler is cheap for the low budget Rays. Move Rosario to right and sign Alex Gordan for left on a 1 year deal until Kirilloff or Larnach force him out of the starting lineup as a late inning defensive replacement. Sign Moustakis for third and move Sano to first. Now the Twins will have the cash to sign their core players including Story and Gray to long term deals that are a lot less expensive than paying 20-25 million per year for pitching.

1.Berrios

2.Glasnow

3.Gray

4.Odorizzi

5.Grateral

lf-Gordan

cf-Buxton

rf-Rosario

3b-Moustakis

ss-Story

2b-Polanco

1b-Sano

c-Garver

dh-Cruz

 

No, no and NO. Arraez isnt getting traded......If he did, we would get fleeced no matter who the return was.
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Donaldson's worst years are simlar to Moose's average to better seasons. He's a better player. That said, Moose is younger, cheaper and wouldn't have to worry about anything in the locker room. 

 

Also, neither of these are "must" moves IMO. Get the pitching taken care of and if you want to improve infield defense, I think moving Polanco to 2B or 3B might make more sense and bring in a glove first SS. Also, moving Sano out of his position didn't work out to great last time did it? Unless your plan is to move him, you might be better off leaving him at 3B.

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Donaldson's worst years are simlar to Moose's average to better seasons. He's a better player. That said, Moose is younger, cheaper and wouldn't have to worry about anything in the locker room. 

 

Also, neither of these are "must" moves IMO. Get the pitching taken care of and if you want to improve infield defense, I think moving Polanco to 2B or 3B might make more sense and bring in a glove first SS. Also, moving Sano out of his position didn't work out to great last time did it? Unless your plan is to move him, you might be better off leaving him at 3B.

Sano at 1B is not like Sano in RF. He's already played 1B fairly often and been fine. He's not great there either, but less awful than at 3B.

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Everything about Donaldson screams "you're going to over-pay and be disappointed." Give me Moose and spend the savings on pitching.

 

I don't trust them to spend any savings though, do you?

 

When has it ever happened? They want a 3B, get the best one available. Same with pitching, get the best one available that is realistic. 

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I don't trust them to spend any savings though, do you?

 

When has it ever happened? They want a 3B, get the best one available. Same with pitching, get the best one available that is realistic. 

I'm not convinced there's a big gap between them if the price is double. And yes, they have a budget. If they save $12 million on Moose vs. Donaldson, it's safe to assume at least some of that will be spent elsewhere.

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I am confused by all the 3B, C postings when the team produced all it needed to do in the lineup - we need pitching. Is this just because nothing is happening and speculation at least keeps the stove hot?

Getting better is ok and so is infield defense. Infield defense even helps the pitching.

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I am confused by all the 3B, C postings when the team produced all it needed to do in the lineup - we need pitching. Is this just because nothing is happening and speculation at least keeps the stove hot?

Well, Castro is not on the roster for one thing..... And astudillo is not really a catcher

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