Category Archives: Hot stove season

The Atlanta Braves sign former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal

(From MLB Daily Dish, read the full article HERE).

The Atlanta Braves are having a productive Monday. In what seemed a matter of minutes after signing veteran, fan-favorite Brian McCann to replace Kurt Suzuki, the Braves bring in third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Jeff Passan

@JeffPassan

Sources: Josh Donaldson’s deal with the Braves is done. It’s for one year and $23 million. @Ken_Rosenthal had the figures first and @StevePhillipsGM first connected the sides.

Donaldson and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos go back their Blue Jays roots when Anthopoulos trade four players to the Oakland Athletics to land his third baseman. That turned out to be an initial success, as Donaldson won the American League MVP that same season, slashing .297/.371/.568 with 122 runs, 123 RBI, and 41 home runs.

The 32-year-old right-hander was rumored to be on the trade block for what seemed an eternity, but an injury-plagued 2018 saw him shipped to the Cleveland Indians at the deadline for a player to be named later, hardly the value of what a healthy Donaldson should command. Donaldson played 52 games last year in a very much lost season.

This is a big signing for the Braves as Donaldson has great numbers over his eight-year career, slashing .275/.367/.507 and a .874 OPS. He can find the gaps as well as launch it out of the park with 193 career doubles and 182 career home runs. He brings a veteran presence to the heart of the lineup and stability defensively at third. While he won’t win many Gold Gloves, he has a cannon of an arm having been drafted as a catcher.

It does present several big question marks for the Braves future. With Johan Camargo becoming a reliable option at third when they needed him, where does he move? Will he shift back to the super utility role, or are perhaps, Dansby Swanson’s days numbered at shortstop? Though it is just a one-year deal, does this mean the Braves don’t believe top offensive prospect Austin Riley is ready, or possibly on the move?

Stay tuned. These questions and more will be answered in the coming hot stove weeks.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Jung Ho Kang staying put, inks one year

(From MLB Daily Dish, please read the full article HERE)

The long and windy road that Jung Ho Kang has called a Major League Baseball career will continue with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Adam Berry

@adamdberry

The Pirates re-signed Jung Ho Kang. One-year deal.

Per Berry, Pirates GM Neal Huntington also hinted that Kang may be competing for a starting job: “If Kang plays the way Kang is capable, he has everyday opportunity here.”

Kang came to the states in 2015 and the then-28-year-old infielder delivered. He split time at shortstop and third to put up a .287/.355/.461 slash line with 24 doubles and 15 home runs in 467 plate appearances. He appeared in just 103 games the following season, but his over-the-fence power developed, smashing 21 home runs and seeing his slugging percentage rise 52 points to an impressive .513.

And then came the legal issues. While they are well-documented, the biggest takeaway was the corresponding visa suspensions that kept him out of Major League Baseball for essentially two full years. Kang played 16 games in Bradenton and Indianapolis before returning to the Pirates in September for three games, now 32 years of age. Reports were that he was released from the Dominican Winter League for his struggles, so the comment from Huntington is questionable.

At the very least, the Pirates have a player they know can hit that has position versatility at what should be a very affordable price tag.