The Atlanta Braves didn’t exactly have a need for Josh Donaldson this winter, but after signing him to a one-year, $23 million contract on Monday, the price was certainly right given his upside once healthy. They’re now in a very strong position to trade another hitter or go into 2019 with a deep lineup that has them prepared for multiple contingencies.
Donaldson was awful for most of 2018, although it seems likely — and is certainly a widespread belief around the game — that much of his decline was due to injuries rather than a loss of skill. His bat speed seemed to be intact, although off-speed stuff gave him more trouble than before, and he was nowhere close to his normal self on defense. In 2017, a healthy Donaldson was nearly a five-win player, and of course he was more than that in 2015-16 when his defense was also at a peak.