We know now Josh Donaldson’s price range. Anthony Rendon just signed with the Angels for an average annual value of $35 million over seven years. Mike Moustakas signed with the Reds for an AAV of $16 value over four seasons. Donaldson’s target figure is somewhere in between, though closer to Rendon’s than Moustakas’.
These are the three best third basemen of this free agent class. Rendon is 29, an MVP-caliber player in his prime. Moustakas is 31, three times an All-Star. Donaldson turned 34 last week; he’s a former MVP who isn’t quite as good as Rendon but is rather better than Moustakas. The Atlanta Braves spent $23 million for one year of Donaldson’s services; they’d like to keep him a while longer.
This is exactly how the Braves expected Donaldson’s offseason to play out. They knew he’d decline their qualifying offer. They encouraged him to look around and see what’s out there. He’d been waiting for this last big payday, and he was willing to take the Braves’ one-year deal to prove to the baseball world that he’s still a big deal. He proved that. He had a 6.1 WAR, as calculated by Baseball-Reference. Rendon had a 6.3, Moustakas a 3.2.
There’s no way a 34-year old gets a seven-year deal. Still, the Moustakas contract had to resonate with Donaldson. Not the dollar amount — he’ll want more than $16 mil per annum — but the length. If he’s worth that sort of commitment, Donaldson is surely thinking, so am I.