Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson hits a solo home run. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Twins turned to Donaldson after missing out on pricey pitchers

After striking out on the top-tier starting pitchers on the market, settling for bargain-rate deals with Homer Bailey and Rich Hill, the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins decided instead to double down on their offense.

The Twins and former Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson agreed to a $92 million, four-year contract, with a fifth-year option that could bring the deal to a total value of $100 million. The deal was first reported by Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. 

The 34-year-old Donaldson returned after an injury-spoiled 2018 season split between Toronto and Cleveland to bat .259 with 37 homers and 94 RBIs for the Braves last year. He earned $23 million on a one-year deal with the Braves, his lone season in the NL in a decade-long major league career.

The Twins set a major league record with 307 home runs last season on the way to the division title and were second in baseball with 939 runs scored, behind the New York Yankees, who swept them in the AL Division Series.

Donaldson leaves: Reaction on social media

Donaldson will give the Twins a sixth 30-home run hitter from last season, one of two with designated hitter Nelson Cruz who've topped the 40-homer mark at some point in their career. Cruz went deep 41 times last season.

The acquisition of Donaldson will allow the Twins to move third baseman Miguel Sanó across the diamond to first base. Sanó has a powerful arm and is agile for his size, but the 26-year-old slugger who’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds ought to be better suited for the long term at first.

Sanó was at Target Field on Tuesday to finalize a three-year, $30 million contract and told reporters he was more than willing to switch spots, noting he’s worked out at both positions during the offseason.

Here's a by the numbers look at Josh Donaldson's 2019 season with the Braves.

The Twins created a vacancy at first base by not tendering a contract to C.J. Cron, who hit 25 homers in 125 games in 2019 but was hampered by a thumb injury that required offseason surgery. Cron signed with Detroit.

The Braves, meanwhile, now need a third baseman and cleanup hitter.

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