Brewers: Three free agents to target this winter
By Dan Larsen
2) Josh Donaldson, Third Baseman
Coming in at number two on our list is one of the best third basemen in Major League Baseball: Josh Donaldson.
The former 2015 American League MVP is coming off if a fantastic 2019 season in Atlanta where he was good for 4.9 fWAR, That total put him 8th among all third basemen this past season.
Donaldson is still a monster in the field and with his bat. He posted above-average metrics in both in 2019. His offensive stats were most impressive, as he posted a slash line of .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs, and a top-tier walk percentage of 15.2%.
Outside of an injury plagued 2018 season, Donaldson has been one of the best players in baseball. He posted between 5.1 and 8.7 fWAR in every season from 2013 to 2017.
With the Brewers facing an uncertain future at third, with Moustakas entering free agency and Travis Shaw coming off one of the league’s worst offensive seasons, they would be wise to entertain their options at the hot corner. Donaldson proved this past season that he’s still one of the best third basemen out there.
A few words of caution, however, are required when it comes to Donaldson. One is that he’s arguably entered into injury-prone status. He missed over 100 games in 2018 due to injuries. That came on the heels of a 2017 season where he also missed over 50 games.
What’s encouraging, though, is that Donaldson was healthy for entirety of 2019, featuring in over 155 games for the Braves in the regular season, plus five post-season games.
It’s also worth noting that Donaldson turns 34 in just a few weeks. Given his age, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see his performance decline in the coming years.
That said, the Brewers would still be hard pressed to find a better bat on the market this winter than him. If they want to upgrade significantly over Moustakas (he posted 2.8 fWAR last season compared to 4.9 for Donaldson), Donaldson would make perfect sense. He’d be a high-level addition to an already solid core.
Predicted Contract: Two years, $40-48 million.