MLB free agency: Braves, Josh Donaldson agree to one-year, $23 million deal

Free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson has agreed to a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves. The club announced the signing on Monday night

Donaldson is a three-time All-Star and he won the 2015 AL MVP Award. He's dealt with injuries the last two years, though, which is why he didn't get a monster contract in free agency. To be clear, the $23 million in an annual salary is huge, but it's the one-year pact that would've been surprising a few years ago. 

Donaldson surely could have gotten more total value, but he's betting on himself with the one-year deal. 

Donaldson managed just 52 games last season due to a calf injury that lingered, but he hit .280/.400/.520 with three doubles and three homers in 16 games with the Indians after he was traded and returned from the injury. Though it was only 113 games -- again, injury -- Donaldson hit .270/.385/.559 (148 OPS+) with 33 homers in 2017. 

Quite simply, if Donaldson is healthy for all of 2019, the Braves got themselves an absolute beast here at a bargain rate. 

The Braves now have an outstanding infield, with Freddie Freeman at first base, Ozzie Albies at second, Dansby Swanson at short and Donaldson at third with Johan Camargo as the utility backup. Charlie Culberson also provides depth. 

After the additions of Donaldson and veteran catcher Brian McCann on Monday, the lineup should now look something like this: 

  1. Ronald Acuna, Jr., LF
  2. Ozzie Albies, 2B
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Josh Donaldson, 3B
  5. Adam Duvall, RF
  6. Ender Inciarte, CF
  7. Dansby Swanson, SS
  8. Brian McCann, C

That is obviously subject to change, with it being only Nov. 26. Keep in mind they could reconfigure their outfield, too, as Duvall has rarely ever played right field. 

Still, that's quite the foundation for the defending NL East champions. 

As for Donaldson, a big season in 2019 gets him a bigger payday next offseason. He will, however, be competing with Nolan Arenado unless the Rockies and Arenado can agree to an extension. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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