With each passing day this off-season, a drought continues to grow as the Bringer of Rain, 34-year-old Josh Donaldson remains a free agent. While rumors continue to surface, nothing has been set in stone or confirmed. So who is Josh Donaldson?
Donaldson was drafted in the 1st round (48th) by the Chicago Cubs out of Auburn University in the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft as a catcher.
In 2008, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics along with Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and Sean Gallagher for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. Donaldson made his debut on April 30, 2010 for the A’s, filling in for the injured Kurt Suzuki. While his debut as pinch-hitter ended with a strikeout — the next day, he recorded his first major league hit, a two-run home run off of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dana Eveland.
He converted from catcher to third baseman in 2012 during spring training. He helped the A’s make it into the postseason, finishing his season with nine home runs, 33 RBIs, and a .241 average.
The Bringer of Rain came to life in 2013, hitting his first career walk-off against the Detroit Tigers. His first career grand slam would come in June of the same year off of Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox. He played 158 games, finished with 24 home runs, 93 RBIs, and a .301 average. Donaldson finished fourth in AL MVP voting at the age of 28.
His first All-Star appearance came in 2014 as a starter at third base for the American League. He won his first career Fielding Bible Award for his position and finished eighth in AL MVP voting. His season totals were 98 RBIs, 29 home runs, and 93 runs scored — although his average dropped to .255 that season.
Donaldson was soon traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto. He was named Player of the Week for the second time in his career that June. He participated in the Home Run Derby but lost to Todd Frazier.
In 2015, Josh Donaldson won American League Most Valuable Player finishing ahead of Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain. He was also the face of MLB The Show 16 due to his successful 2015 season.
But injuries soon caught up with Donaldson. His hip, right calf, and eventual dead arm syndrome made playing time difficult.
Traded once again in late 2018, Donaldson found himself with the Cleveland Indians. He was placed on the injured list for a calf strain, returning to Triple-A on a rehab assignment just to hit a grand slam in his first rehab game. He didn’t make his actual debut with the Indians until September 11, 2018.
He signed a 1-year contract with the Atlanta Braves for $23 million. He batted .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBIs. He had a 15 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rating, the best in the National League among third basemen. He was also named the 2019 NL Comeback Player of the Year.
So where does the Bringer of Rain belong?
Speculation says that Donaldson, who grew up as a Braves fan, wants to stay in Atlanta with a team that welcomed him with open arms — but it isn’t really ever that easy. According to sources, Atlanta are still in talks with Donaldson, but also willing to trade for another third baseman if they cannot land a deal.
Rumor has it that Donaldson has had multiple four-year offers with the Twins and Nationals. If the Twins were to sign Donaldson, Miguel Sanó would move from third to first base.
Do not count out the Dodgers as well. Although they might be reluctant to go four years old someone of Donaldson’s age and injury history.
What is known — it is possible that Donaldson will see a $100 million deal and if he continues to hold on, the price might grow even higher.
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