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Is Josh Donaldson One of the All-Time Least Likeable Twins Player?


Josh Donaldson was brought to Minnesota to help push a winning team to the next level. Instead, he has been part of multiple regrettable moments and he might be one of the all-time least likeable Twins players.

Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but he was coming off being named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. The Twins were willing to deal with his on and off field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Now two years into his massive deal and the outcome has been unfavorable to say the least.

Last season, Donaldson played in less than half of the team’s games and his most memorable moment might have been being ejected after hitting a home run. This year he has been much healthier, but he has become the crusader for all batters in the battle against sticky substances. He called out the Yankees Gerrit Cole and then struck out twice against him later that week. Just this week he showboated a first inning home run against Lucas Giolito in a game the Twins ended up losing. Then he ended up confronting him in the parking lot after the game.

These moments aside, Donaldson’s on field performance has come as advertised as he has been one of the game’s top offensive third basemen while also playing solid defense. So, do the distractions outweigh his other value to the team? And does that put him in the conversation for one of the all-time least likeable Twins players?

There are plenty of former Twins in the conversation for least likeable player in team history. Lance Lynn has been one of baseball’s best pitchers in recent years, but his Twins tenure was filled with poor performances and a poor attitude. From the beginning, he seemed upset with the free agent process and that frustration came out in his performance. However, his stay in a Twins uniform was short so that hardly puts him at the top of the least likeable list.

Other candidates for the least likeable Twins player include multiple players from the Metrodome Era. Kyle Lohse took a baseball bat to Ron Gardenhire’s office door. Needless to say, his days in Minnesota were numbered after that incident. A.J. Pierzynski was part of one of the greatest Twins trades of all-time, but his attitude didn’t fit well in multiple clubhouses during his big-league career. Both players went on to have careers outside of Minnesota, but they left on a sour note.

Stretching even further back, Chuck Knoblauch had an infamous end to his Twins career. Since the team moved to Minnesota, he ranks in the top-10 for WAR, which puts him ahead of names like Johan Santana, Jim Kaat, and Torii Hunter. Eventually, he demanded a trade from the Twins and took shots at the city on his way out of town. Then there was the famous hot dog throwing incident when he returned as an outfielder for the Yankees. His off the field issues probably mean he won’t be welcomed back in Minnesota any time soon.  

Donaldson has rubbed some people the wrong way throughout his career. It’s hard to imagine him being in the same level as Knoblauch or Pierzynski, but there will be plenty of fans that aren’t happy with his attitude and the attention he is drawing on a last place team.

How would you rank these players according to their likeability? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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I didn’t like the signing of Donaldson.  However, he has looked good this season, very good recently.  He seems to have taken Alex Kirilloff under his wing.  We should get used to having Josh around.  Nobody should want to take on this contract. I hope I’m wrong and somebody takes him in a trade where we get very little, but dump that contract on an aging player. 

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I have no problem whatsoever with his outspokenness on sticky substances (and I think his "it's not sticky anymore!" comment was, at worst, mildly obnoxious). But he doesn't seem like the kind of guy I'd really enjoy having a beer with.

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Count me in the (possible) minority, but in NO WAY is JD even remotely even in the Top 5 or 10 of "least likeable Twins players" if the definition is being disliked by your teammates/ home fans.  I, personally liked the signing of Donaldson albeit for a large financial commitment.  Saying that, coming off a 103 win season in 2019....he was the player that many thought would be the type that wouldn't wet his pant legs in the playoffs.  No shock that he was hurt far too much last year.  With this train wreck of a season, I can't put the blame in really anyway on Donaldson.  Yes, he's struggled at times, but his bat has been much better than others----Sano, Kepler, Garver-----who were expected to produce.  On top of that, again I may be in the minority, I like the swagger/style of Donaldson.  He's a pest. He's a pain...but the dude plays with EMOTION which has been far to scare a commodity from far too many players on this team for years.  I think if you poll his teammates secretly they'd respond they not only like him, but respect the way he plays the game.  He's loud and likely abrasive to opponents, but I like that.  This game is a competition and JD competes.  I respect that.

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Sorry, but this is stupid. 

Why is it that when Tatis mocks Bauer *to his own bench* everyone loves it, but when it's Donaldson and Giolito everyone is on the "he's a classless pest" train.

Donaldson started the week with a closed door team meeting telling the team how if they go on a run during this next stretch of something like 20 games against other AL Central teams they'll be back in the race (ridiculous, I agree, but also how athletes are going to motivate themselves). He had a first inning homer putting the Twins up by two in what the team has decided is an important series. He was excited and trying to keep his team pumped up and the guy who's bitter about not being able to cheat anymore got hurt by it. I don't see how that makes Donaldson the bad guy.

 

I like him more now than I did before.

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I have no idea.  I have a difficult time judging how nice players are.  I am not sure it matters.  There have been some terrible individuals in the game since the beginning - Cobb and Cap Anson are two of the worst and they are HOF.  What is our definition of worst?  

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I wish we were getting 4 of his best seasons, and there is still time, I guess, for a couple. Cruz is a believer of strong seasons in the late 30s (and 40s so far). I wish he would hire a full time leg masseuse or messeur or PT person to travel with him and keep his legs fit to perform at his peak and not get hurt.

But aside from that, I like Donaldson. I find it funny that there is an article like this disparaging all of these guys. I guess anything is fair game in seasons like this. I like interesting complex personalities. I like bite and creativity. And he is saying the truth. I like folks celebrating and having fun and getting in umpires' faces. Most of the time they deserve it. I liked Pierzynski. Funny guy. Real funny. 

Lynn would be my recent least favorite, and not because I am judging hearsay news about him.... he just was horrible on this team, to me his body language seemed like he didn't like it here, and he mailed it in.

I bet Donaldson doesn't have any boring friends. 

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2 hours ago, raindog said:

Maybe watch this to gain a new appreciation for him and his character. It’s incredible what he’s overcome. 

 

The five year old flipping his bat/stick (was he lefty then, or is the film just flipped)at 5:50 is classic.

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I dont particularly care how likeable by the other team a guy is.  His teammates seem to respect him.  And God forbid he call out cheaters, it's not like he's bashing on people for their political views or stuff like this:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/2614994-delmon-young-arrested-latest-details-comments-and-reaction.amp.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2015/10/27/torii-hunter-gay-and-latin-player-comments-sully-his-legacy/amp/

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1 hour ago, old nurse said:

Donaldson called out the cheaters and now he is the bad guy? Something is ucked up in that scenario

I agree - people love those who called out the Astros, like Aaron Boone, or those who shame PED users, but Donaldson does the same to pitchers and he "might be one of the most un-likable players"?????  Criticize Jose Altuve but give a pass to Lucas Giolito and criticize Donaldson for saying something?

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Another unlikable Twins player - and this was both on-field performance and team bonding was Ron Davis.  Those of us who followed the team in the '80s don't need to relive his blown saves.  There were plenty of stories from teammates about his surliness.  He's certainly more un-likable than Donaldson.  Maybe he's not liked because of his contract?  

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Echoing what others have already said, but I like Donaldson. He was one of my favorite non-Twins players when he was with the A's and Blue Jays and I was pumped when they signed him. I've always been a fan of guys like him who play with fire and emotion, and the Twins haven't really had a guy like that since Pierzynski (who I also liked!).

His contract is unfortunate, but that's not his fault.

My vote goes to guys like Nolasco, Lynn, and Worley who just moped around and were terrible.

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Wow.  Awesome article with a lot of great comments.  I have mixed feelings regarding Donaldson.  Personally I wish he would just keep his mouth shut, stay healthy, and keep playing well.  I don't think he is amongst the top 5 most hated twins players.  He may be the only player on the team with a pulse.  Just tone it down please.  We are already embarassed by the teams results.  Let's not add to it.

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In a whistle blower sense Donaldson could be the Canseco of the foreign substance issue.  Not necessarily lovable,  and obviously Canseco was self implicating and selling books, but will end up being a critical figures.

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If the Twins were winning I wonder if this question surfaces in this way. There is fine line between distraction and “swagger”

I feel like Dave Boswell could be a mention on this list though. Solid career, but ran his mouth enough in a bar to start a fight amongst the team and get punched by his manager Billy Martin. Which was at least a factor in Martin being shown the door. 

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