Josh Donaldson, the 2019 National League Comeback Player of the Year, has cashed in on his bounce-back year. The Minnesota Twins have signed Donaldson to a reported four-year contract worth 92 million dollars with a fifth-year option.
Donaldson’s contract is 4 yrs, $92M with a fifth-year option. #Twins
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 15, 2020
Donaldson settled for a one year prove-it deal in 2019 with the Atlanta Braves after an injury riddled 2018. He got off to a slow start, hitting only seven home runs in April and May. Once the weather heated up, however, so did Donaldson. The second half of the season saw Donaldson slash a ridiculous .270/.402/.556 with 19 home runs.
His defense also returned to an elite level as his dWAR was 1.7, which brought his overall WAR to a robust 6.1. Donaldson, even with a couple of MVP-like teammates, finished 11th in NL MVP voting.
Finally, Donaldson put to rest some durability concerns to rest with a very full 2019. For the first time since 2016, he played 155 games and looked fully healthy once again. Overall, Donaldson proved to be an immense value on his one year deal and now he lands the bigger deal he was looking for.
Josh Donaldson got a late start to his major league career as it took the slugger a few years to become a big league regular. He came up through the Oakland Athletics system as a catcher, but was quickly switched to third base once he actually reached full time status in 2013. That’s when the breakout began. He joined the launch angle revolution and exploded for 24 home runs and a .301/.384/.499 slash line.
He would be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays two years later. That’s when the full breakout took place. In 2015 he hit 41 home runs and drove in a league leading 123 RBI. He would win AL MVP and cement himself as one of the most dangerous hitters in the league.
In 2017, the injuries started to linger. Coming off an annoying hip injury in 2016, Donaldson injured his calf in April, limiting the third-baseman to only 113 games. The next season he suffered injuries to his shoulder, throwing arm and, again, his calf. The injuries, combined with his age (at this point 32), forced Donaldson to settle for a one year deal with his former GM, Alex Anthopolous, and the Braves.
Donaldson proved in 2019 that he can still be an elite player with both his offense and his defense. He profiles as a potent middle-of-the-order bat who is willing to take his share of walks. His opposite-field power will project well at Target Field.
Donaldson is yet another power bat added to the potent Twins lineup. Could this signing signal that a trade for a starting pitching upgrade is on the horizon?