Josh Donaldson signs with the Braves for one-year, $23 million
It was going to be interesting to see how the former AL MVP’s free agency panned out because the last two seasons Donaldson has missed a good amount of time with injuries, especially this season where he only played 52 games. Now in 2017 while only playing in 113 games Donaldson still hit 33 home runs, so it’s not unreasonable to think that if he can stay healthy he can still put up an all-star season, which is something the Braves are betting on here with the one-year deal.
I love this gamble for the Braves because if Donaldson can stay healthy, he’ll be a major upgrade at third base, which is one of the few spots in the Atlanta lineup you look at and view it somewhat as a weakness or a spot they need to upgrade. On top of being a great offensive player when healthy, Donaldson is also a very good defender. He was also on the field for the Indians at the end of the season so there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to give the Braves a very productive season.
Brian McCann signs with the Braves for one-year, $2 million
Brian McCann is returning to the team that he started his MLB career with, and while he’s not the player that he was during his first stint in Atlanta, with the young talent they have on the roster they don’t need him to be the same player. What they did need was a catcher to go with Tyler Flowers and McCann gives them a great veteran presence and someone who has won a World Series ring since he was last in Atlanta.
This isn’t going to be the impact signing that the Donaldson signing has the potential to be, but it will be an important one because he can bring that playoff experience and veteran presence to a clubhouse that’s full of young talent, but has also only experienced the postseason one time.
Lonnie Chisenhall signs with the Pirates for one-year, $2.75 million
A lot of people probably don’t know who Lonnie Chisenhall is unless you’re a die-hard baseball fan, but I love this signing for Pittsburgh. The Pirates were better last season than people expected going into the season and right field is a spot they could afford to upgrade and they were able to do that for cheap. A big part of them being able to get Chisenhall for so cheap is that he only played in 29 games last season with Cleveland, but in years prior he was a very effective member of the everyday lineup.
Not only is he a good member of the offense to have because he’s versatile and can take extra bases and do small things that might not show up in the box score, but he has been rated as a significantly better defender since moving from third base, where he was playing earlier in his career, to the outfield, mainly right field. He’s a good athlete out there and he has a very strong throwing arm, which should play really well in the shallow right field of PNC Park.