ATLANTA — Looking to improve on their first division title in five years, the Atlanta Braves agreed Monday to one-year contracts with Brian McCann and former AL MVP Josh Donaldson — a pair of low-risk moves that give the team a chance to make another postseason run while not hindering the long-term development of all those talented young players.
Donaldson agreed to a $23 million deal, the Braves confirmed Monday night. The salary matches what the third baseman made during a forgettable 2018 season.
McCann’s $2 million contract reunites the team with a catcher who was a seven-time All-Star from 2005-13. A native of suburban Atlanta, he was eager for a chance to return home with his wife and two children.
While McCann’s signing is sure to be popular with the fan base, the acquisition of Donaldson figures to be far more significant to the team’s fortunes in 2019.
The Braves are counting on a return to form from the
three-time All-Star, who turns 32 next month. It was only three years ago that he captured the MVP award in his first season with Toronto, hitting 41 homers and leading the AL with 123 RBIs. While he followed up with two more
30-plus-homer seasons, a hip injury in 2016 and a strained right calf in 2017 cut into his production.
This past season, Donaldson was limited to 52 games by shoulder inflammation and calf issues, hitting .246 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. He was dealt to Cleveland by the Blue Jays on Aug. 31.
The short-term deal with the Braves gives Donaldson a chance to show he’s healthy and back to form, potentially setting up a huge payday in the next free-agent market.
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