After using the combination of Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery, and Brad Miller all at third base last season. Could the Philadelphia Phillies be looking to upgrade the position in free agency?
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported this week that the Phillies are among multiple teams interested in signing free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson is part of a free-agent third-base class that features World Series champion Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas.
While Rendon is expected to get a massive contract this offseason from either the Nationals or another team. Donaldson and Moustakas will more than likely get themselves a nice deal too from a prospective team.
Last season for the Atlanta Braves, Donaldson had a career year at the plate and in the field. The 34-year-old slugger, who battled injuries in 2018, almost looked like his former AL MVP self with Atlanta.
Donaldson had a slash line of .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI. He also had 100 walks and a career-high 155 strikeouts in 659 plate appearances.
The last time Donaldson hit at least 37 home runs was in the 2016 season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Not to mention, the veteran slugger also had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 6.1, which is pretty good for a player that the Braves signed to a one-year, $23 million deal last November.
When it comes to playing defense, Donaldson did a great job of handling the hot corner.
He posted a fielding percentage (Fld%) of .969, surpassing the lgFld% of .962. Additionally, Donaldson also turned 38 double plays and only committed 13 errors.
That being said, it should be interesting to see where Donaldson goes and how much he gets. But also what the Phillies do at third base this offseason.
After having a breakout season and helping the Braves win their second-consecutive division crown. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Donaldson get maybe a two or three-year deal on the free-agent market.
According to Feinsand, an executive told him that teams might not want to wait for Rendon, who is represented by Scott Boras, and instead go after the 34-year-old Donaldson.
Furthermore, Donaldson’s calculated market value is a three-year, $53.6 million deal with an annual average salary of $17.8M per Spotrac.com.
If that is the case, should the Phillies go all in for Donaldson, while they wait for Alec Bohm in the minors?
It honestly depends on how they feel about Bohm, Kingery, and possibly surrendering a draft pick.
For players such as Donaldson, who have until Nov. 14 to decline their qualifying offer, it puts teams such as the Phillies and others who might have to sign them in a tough decision.
Do you risk giving up a draft pick for a veteran player, who declined their QO, or keep it in hopes of building up the farm system?
Phillies GM Matt Klentak shined some light on this very topic last week on 94WIP’s Midday Show.
“One of the things we’ve got to try to do, if we can, is to not forfeit draft picks, and that’s hard when you’re fishing in the deep end of the free-agent pond,” he said (h/t MLB Trade Rumors).
“But we lost our second-round pick last year and our second and third the year before. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s where Scott Kingery comes from. That’s where Spencer Howard comes from. That’s where Connor Seabold comes from. … We’ve got to try to hang onto that as much as we can.”
Speaking of Kingery, he had a breakout year last season for the Phillies. The second-year utility man played all three outfield spots, second base, third base, and shortstop.
He had a slash line of .258/.315/.474 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI. Therefore, where do the Phillies envision him playing in the future?
Regardless, if the Phillies get Donaldson or not, this will be another important offseason for them under new manager Joe Girardi.