So far, this MLB free agency has been relatively quiet. We’re still waiting for all the big-name players to decide on where they’ll be playing. However, the Atlanta Braves have started making moves already, signing two veteran players in the last few days. One of those players is a former league MVP.
On Monday, the Atlanta Braves signed veteran catcher, Brian McCann, to a one-year contract worth $2M. They also signed former league MVP, Josh Donaldson, to a one-year, $23M contract.
McCann is now 34. He made it clear last November he wants to retire as a Brave, after he spent most of his career with the team. From 2005-2013, McCann was the man Braves fans could count on behind the plate. In that time, he made seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Slugger awards. Seeing as how this contract is a very small one, it can probably be assumed McCann will either retire after the 2019 season, or just continue to sign one-year deals with Atlanta until he decides to call it a career.
Donaldson is currently only 32. He won the American League MVP back in 2015 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Donaldson will be coming off a year where he missed more than three months because of a calf injury. Injuries also played a hand in ending Donaldson’s 2017 season early. Donaldson has proved that when he is healthy, he can be one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. His goal is to play with the Atlanta Braves long-term, or at least earn a good contract if the Braves don’t want him after the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see if Donaldson can stay healthy and work to power the Atlanta Braves’ lineup alongside first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Donaldson + McCann = Winning the Division?
Last year, the Braves finished with a record of 90-72, which was good enough for first place in the NL East. They ended the season eight games above the Washington Nationals. They eventually lost in the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers in just four games.
The Miami Marlins don’t look like they will be challenging for the division anytime soon. The New York Mets do have the 2018 CY Young winner, Jacob DeGrom. They’re also looking to deal Noah Syndergaard. However, they don’t look like they will be contending for the division for a little while either.
The Philadelphia Phillies finished third in the division, but are ready to spend money this off season and are linked to several stars, including Bryce Harper. They look like the only team that could contend with the Braves next season because of their young team and intention to spend money.
The Nationals did finish second in the division, but their record looked better than they played last season. With the possibility they’ll lose Bryce Harper, it seems they’ll fall out of contention for any division titles in the near future.
Because of their position, the Braves looked poised to once again win the division, or at least make the playoffs. If Donaldson stays healthy, they could possibly even make a deep run.