MLB Trade Rumors: Josh Donaldson Talks Held by Twins, Mets Ahead of 2021 Deadline

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2021

Minnesota Twins' Josh Donaldson rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The New York Mets have reportedly held trade talks with the Minnesota Twins involving veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets are focused on upgrading at third base prior to the July 30 trade deadline, and they have had "very preliminary" talks with the Twins about Donaldson.

The Mets reportedly have interest in Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant as well, but they are unsure if the Cubs intend to be sellers.

While the Mets boast one of the best starting pitching rotations in baseball, their offense leaves plenty to be desired. 

Entering play Friday, they ranked 26th in MLB in batting average at .227, 27th in home runs with 76 and last in runs scored with 275.

Despite that, the Mets lead the National League East with a record of 41-36, two games better than the second-place Washington Nationals.

The Mets have a chance to do some damage if they make the playoffs thanks to the pitching trio of Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman, but they undoubtedly need to inject more life into their lineup.

Third base in particular is a problem area for the Mets, as both Jonathan Villar and J.D. Davis are on the injured list.

New York has been using Luis Guillorme at third base recently, but he is hitting just .247 with no home runs and one RBI in 91 plate appearances.

The 35-year-old Donaldson boasts an impressive resume, as he is a three-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger award winner and was the American League MVP in 2015 when he hit .297 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

After suffering through injuries in 2018, Donaldson experienced a career renaissance with the Atlanta Braves in 2019, hitting .259 with 37 homers and 94 RBI.

He subsequently signed a four-year contract with the Twins, but it hasn't worked out as well as hoped.

Donaldson appeared in just 28 games last season due to injury, and he has spent some time on the IL this season as well.

Still, his 2021 numbers are decent, as he is slashing .250/.345/.486 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 63 games.

Even though Donaldson is performing well below what he did at his peak, he would represent a massive upgrade for the Mets at the hot corner.

Per Martino, the Mets have some conditions if they are going to make a trade. One of them is that they have no interest in trading their top prospects.

Another is that New York doesn't want to go above the $210 million luxury tax threshold. That could be an issue since the Mets are less than $10 million below that number and Donaldson would put them over the top unless they are able to shed salary, according to Martino.

Regardless of who they acquire, the Mets clearly need more offensive firepower in order to be true contenders in the NL.