Third baseman Josh Donaldson reportedly prefers to stay with the Atlanta Braves, but only if he lands the type of contract he is looking for as a free agent.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Donaldson would like to stay put "all things being equal," but he also understands the next contract he signs will likely be his last significant one and "is seeking the largest possible guarantee."
The developments in the Donaldson market come after fellow third baseman Anthony Rendon agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
While the 34-year-old won't get that type of money, Rosenthal noted his market features more suitors, including the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Atlanta.
As a result, it's "likely" he will sign a three- or four-year deal even at his age. The price has "exceeded" the Texas Rangers' comfort level, whoare "likely" out of the race, reported Levi Weaver of The Athletic.
While Donaldson is far removed from his 2015 American League MVP season when he slashed .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI with the Toronto Blue Jays, he proved himself on a bounce-back one-year deal with Atlanta last season. The three-time All-Star slashed .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI while helping the Braves win the National League East.
That should prove to teams that he is still a formidable bat after he struggled during an injury-shortened 2018 on the Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.
There is also another potential option for the Braves if they don't want to re-sign Donaldson for that many years. That is especially the case since David O'Brien of The Athletic pointed out the Braves are "not likely to get in [a] bidding war" if negotiations go as high as four years.
Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reported Atlanta manager Brian Snitker believes Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant would "fit in perfectly" with his team.
It's hard to find a team Bryant wouldn't fit on—including his own—as a 27-year-old with an NL MVP, NL Rookie of the Year, three All-Star nods and a World Series trophy on his resume.
However, trading for Bryant would also involve giving up prospects and assets for a Chicago team that, in theory, is still in the middle of a competitive window. Donaldson is a free agent and could be had for just dollars this offseason.