Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann are both Atlanta Braves for 2019, with reports indicating that the free agents have each agreed to one year deals with Atlanta.
Donaldson, who turns 33 in twelve days, was at one time thought to be one of the massive stars who would be available in this year’s free agent bonanza. Injuries, however, limited him to 113 games in 2017 (though with a 944 OPS), and in 2018, he appeared in just 52 games, putting up a .246/.352/.449 slash line between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians.
Donaldson was the American League MVP in 2015, and he finished in the top 8 every year from 2013-16 — if he can be healthy and close to where he was then, he’s a great pickup for the Braves, even at the $23 million salary he will reportedly command. The Braves fill a hole in their lineup at third base, and don’t have to rush third base prospect Austin Riley, who split the 2018 campaign between AA and AAA, now that Donaldson is in the fold.
This is a deal that makes sense for both player and club — the Braves get a guy who has All Star potential on a one year deal, after which they have a top prospect who should be ready to slide into the position, while Donaldson gets a big payday while getting the chance to show teams he can stay on the field and mash, which could result in a much bigger deal next offseason.
The Braves are also bringing McCann, who turns 35 in February, back to where he started his career. The lefty swinging catcher had a disappointing year for the Astros last year, slashing .212/.301/.339 in 216 plate appearances, but he gives the Braves a veteran replacement for the departing Kurt Suzuki.
The deal for McCann is reportedly one year, $1 million.