The Minnesota Twins need to improve their corner infield and could use an impact bat for the middle of the lineup. Could Josh Donaldson be their answer?
The Minnesota Twins have officially seen Joe Mauer retire in what was an emotion filled experience for all involved. Then their young should be cornerstone Miguel Sano also presents the Twins with several different types of questions as we look forward to 2019. That has caused the need for a corner infielder and an impact bat to rise to the top of the list of needs facing the Twins as they prepare for 2019.
There are several players on the market that could help in these areas, but one of the more interesting options for the Twins will be third baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson represents a player who is a multi-time All-Star and Silver Slugger award winner as well as the MVP winner in 2015. Yet, the last two seasons have been filled with injuries and performances that just have not lived up to the standards we have come to expect out of the third baseman.
Donaldson’s 2017 numbers were still solid as he slashed .270/.385/.559 with a .944 OPS but injury limited him to only 113 games. Now this past season, Donaldson really struggled with injury and even ended up on the 60-day DL which limited him to only 52 games. It is those recent injuries that will make any team signing Donaldson feel like they are gambling as they bring in the veteran third baseman.
Out of all the teams in the majors, the Twins have to be on the front end of teams who need to be willing to take such a gamble. After Mauer’s retirement, the best corner infielders on the Twins roster are utility man and catcher Willians Astudillo with his .355/.371/.516 slash line and a .887 OPS in 29 games. Then it is Tyler Austin who in 35 games hit .236/.294/.488 with a .782 OPS. If we are honest there is a chance that Astudillo may not even be on the Twins 25-man when 2019 begins. This brings to light just how much the Twins corner infield status is in a very questionable state.
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As much as there is a risk that Donaldson could be hurt again, he could also be an All-Star middle of the order bat. While it was a very small sample size, the Indians saw a glimpse of that sort of Donaldson for 16 games as he slashed .280/.400/.520 and a .920 OPS. When healthy, Donaldson has also been a reliable fielder. He may be beyond the days of having really good range but could still be a positive addition to the infield.
MLB Trade Rumors has Donaldson set to grab a 1 year and $20 million deal. There are a few other players that the Twins could take a look at and try to help meet some of the team’s needs that Donaldson does, but maybe none of them provides the star power and upside that he does. That is what has Donaldson hanging on the lips of many who talk about the Twins regularly.
What may drive the conversation is whether or not Donaldson is worth the predicted $20 million commitment at his age and potential volatility. Do you think that would be a wise investment for the Twins or should they pursue someone else? Let us know below!