Donaldson will turn 34 in December. Baseball execs live by a new rule: You pay for what someone’s apt to do, not what he has done. That said, this one-year deal was Donaldson’s chance to prove he had something left. He proved it. He’s not taking a pay cut.
The Braves love him. He’s a pro’s pro. He also plays a position where, in Riley, the Braves have a younger and cheaper option. (Though Riley’s splash debut was diluted by a subsequent plunge. Since May, he has 36 hits against 69 strikeouts.)
At 33, Donaldson has been excellent. How much worse could he be at 34? How much worse would the 2019 Braves have been had Anthopoulos not spent that $23 million? How much worse might the 2020 Braves be if Donaldson leaves?
We’ll discuss this more in the weeks ahead. For today, we leave it at this: Donaldson has done everything he can to make the Braves want to keep him. Come November, we’ll see if they have the wherewithal -- figure at least $25 million per year, and he’ll surely want more than two years, but would you want to be paying any 36-year-old $25 million? -- to retain the bringer of rain.