Josh Donaldson signs one-year deal with the Braves
One of the more interesting free agents on the market this year was Josh Donaldson. It wasn’t too long ago that he was expected to be one of the headliners in what was expected to be a historic 2018 free agent class, nor was it all that long ago that he was simply one of the very best players in baseball. Last year was a major disappointment, though, with injuries leading to a rough campaign with missed time and highly diminished play. After that kind of drop-off, I figured it would take a while for Donaldson to find a deal he liked (or one he settled for), but that wasn’t the case. The Braves jumped on the opportunity to ink a deal with the former Blue Jays star, and they did so for just one year. It will cost them $23 million to do it, so it’s not a tiny sum of money, but this is still a great deal for them. If he can get back to something close to his peak, they get a massive boost on an up-and-coming team and are a legitimate contender in the National League pennant picture. If he can’t come back, they aren’t saddled with any long-term commitments. The Red Sox aren’t looking to replace Rafael Devers, even for just a year, so they were never realistic suitors for Donaldson, though for a one-year deal anyone could talk themselves into it. More than anything, it’ll be nice to get him out of the American League, at least for now.
Braves also sign Brian McCann to a one-year deal
Signing Donaldson was the biggest move from the Braves on the day, but it wasn’t the only one. Along with the third baseman, Atlanta signed one of their best players from the last decade, agreeing to a one-year, $2 million deal with Brian McCann. The catcher, of course, spent the first nine years of his career with the Braves and was one of the very best backstops in the game. He received MVP votes once with the Braves and made the All-Star team in seven of his eight full seasons. He moved to New York and later Houston after that, but after a down year the veteran is heading back to where it all began. McCann clearly isn’t the player he once was, but he’s also no longer an everyday option, instead presumably filling a backup role behind starter Tyler Flowers. The Red Sox could conceivably be interested in catching help, though an aging, past-his-prime McCann wouldn’t have made much sense.
MLB Teams hand out postseason shares
Monday was the day we learned of the postseason shares divvied up by all teams who made it into October this year. It is, admittedly, not an exciting part of the year for fans, but there can be interesting nuggets in there. The Red Sox got the highest share of any team (duh), and they awarded 66 full shares and 10-and-a-quarter partial shares. The number of shares given are voted on by the players and go to players, coaches and other organizational staff numbers. Boston used 44 players this year, so presumably 22 full shares went to non-players as well as the 10+ partial shares. You can see the full list of postseason shares here, but what’s most interesting is the Yankees. They gave out the fewest postseason shares, and that is a controversy brewing that could mean David Robertson will not be brought back. If this is true, it would be good news for Boston.
Dan Butler hired by Diamondbacks to be bullpen catcher
Finally, we have a bit of news that won’t make much of an impression in the general baseball landscape. Red Sox fans will care, though. Dan Butler has been a consistent presence in the Red Sox organization for what seems like forever. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, and he spent all but one of the next ten years in the Red Sox system. Butler was never a great prospect or anything, but he was a good emergency depth piece and a good guy to have work with young pitchers. Boston won’t benefit from that anymore, as Butler has been hired by the Diamondbacks to work as a bullpen catcher. He’ll be missed in the organization.