MLB Rumors: Rangers Have ‘Shown Interest’ In Braves Third Baseman Josh Donaldson, Per Jeff Passan
The Texas Rangers are reportedly hoping to address their weakness at third base by signing erstwhile Atlanta Braves star Josh Donaldson, provided he rejects his current team’s qualifying offer.
In a Twitter post shared on Friday and cited by Bleacher Report, ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote that the Rangers have “expressed interest” in Donaldson, given that the team has enough money to spend on player acquisitions in the MLB offseason. Further citing a report from The Athletic, Bleacher Report noted that the third baseman — who turns 34-years-old next month — is expected to turn down the $17.8 million qualifying offer he received from the Braves, thus allowing him to enter free agency.
Aside from the Rangers, the Philadelphia Phillies are also reportedly interested in acquiring Donaldson, as tweeted separately by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Talking about how Donaldson could help the Rangers, Bleacher Report wrote that the team had six players sharing time at third base in the 2019 season, including Asdrubal Cabrera, who played 93 games before being released midway through the campaign. The outlet added that Texas’ lineup needs “a little more pop” in general, considering how the team ranked 8th in the American League in both home runs and on-base plus slugging (OPS).
It was also pointed out that the Rangers’ home field, Globe Life Park, is a very hitter-friendly stadium, thus potentially setting Donaldson up for a productive season if he signs with the Rangers.
"We'll see. I enjoyed being here. I enjoyed my time here. I know that this organization has a bright future ahead of it."
— #Braves star Josh Donaldson on his future pic.twitter.com/dBjyJ05yIe
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) October 10, 2019
Although it’s unclear how much Donaldson’s asking price might be if he turns down the Braves’ qualifying offer, Bleacher Report added that the Rangers have a lot of financial wiggle room to add new players in the offseason. The publication noted that last season, Texas only had the 19th-highest payroll in the MLB at $118.3 million, a figure that drops to $85.5 million for 2020 and $40.4 million for 2021 when taking into account players still under contract for the seasons in question.
“Unless Texas is planning on cutting costs severely, the room should be there to potentially land Donaldson,” Bleacher Report concluded.
After splitting 52 games with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians in an injury-plagued 2018, as seen on his Baseball-Reference player page, Donaldson bounced back strong in the 2019 campaign, tallying 37 home runs, 94 RBI, a.259 batting average, and a.521 slugging average for a Braves team that won 97 games to finish first in the National League East Division. The veteran infielder has hit 219 home runs in a nine-year MLB career that has also included a four-season stint with the Oakland Athletics.