Josh Donaldson rumors: Rangers reportedly eager to land third baseman

Sporting News

The market for Josh Donaldson appears to be brisk already, even though the free-agent third baseman has yet to decide whether to accept the Braves' qualifying offer.

One of the reported suitors reportedly is eager to make an offer of its own. USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted Wednesday that the Rangers were making an "aggressive push" to sign Donaldson.

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Texas can claim a need at the position. Six different Rangers players started games at third base in 2019, led by Asdrubal Cabrera with 90. The Rangers released Cabrera in August, which opened the door for rookie Nick Solak to become the regular there.

Solak hit well (.884 OPS, five home runs in 135 plate appearances), but Donaldson, 33, is a proven slugger who revived his career with the Braves last season. The 2015 American League MVP put up a .900 OPS and hit 37 home runs in 155 games. He earned SN's National League Comeback Player of the Year award, as voted by players.

Those numbers are why the Rangers are competing with the Braves, Dodgers, Nationals and Phillies for Donaldson. Los Angeles also has top free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon on its radar. Incumbent third baseman Justin Turner has one year remaining on his contract. The Nats would consider Donaldson a fallback option if they can't re-sign Rendon, and the Phillies are trying to upgrade from Maikel Franco. The Phils reportedly are also looking at free agent Mike Moustakas.

Donaldson has until 5 p.m. ET Thursday to accept or reject Atlanta's $17.8 million qualifying offer. If he accepts, then he is considered signed for 2020. If he rejects and then decides later not to re-sign with Atlanta, then the team that does sign him would lose a draft pick and international bonus money. The Braves would also receive a compensatory pick in next year's draft from MLB.

The Dodgers, Nationals, Phillies and Rangers would all lose their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus money if they were to sign Donaldson, per MLB.com. The calculation is based on whether clubs receive revenue sharing money and/or exceed the luxury tax.

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