Braves add McCann, Donaldson
Atlanta fans will get their #chopon with the announcement of Brian McCann returning to the fold. But what will turn up the “We gonna win it all!” chatter is news that third baseman Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, has signed with the Braves for one year, $23 million.
Yep, that’ll get ’em dancing in the streets ’round The Big Chicken.
Sorry, a 34-year-old backup catcher who has averaged 75 games the past two seasons just doesn’t “do it” for me. And $23M for an on-the-mend corner infielder? … I’m not impressed, other than by how similar their numbers were in 2017:
McCann — 63 games, 216 plate appearances, 22 runs, 40 hits (10 for extra bases, including 7 HR), 23 RBI, .212 average with a .339 slugging percentage.
Donaldson — 52 games, 219 plate appearances, 30 runs, 46 hits (22 for extra bases, including 8 HR), 23 RBI, .246 average, with a .449 slugging percentage.
McCann is the local-boy-makes-good story. And now he’s happy to be back for a swan-song season with the home team. I’m quite fuzzy all over for this feel-good holidays story. Holler at me after the season starts.
On the plus side, Tyler Flowers may pick up a thing or two from McCann. Generally about league-average defensively, Flowers’ offense was … well, offensive in 2017 (.227 average with 17 extra-base hits in 251 at-bats).
Donaldson is nothing more than Atlanta trying to catch lightning in a bottle. If he is able to bounce back to his 2015-17 level of play, maybe the Braves will be (cough) World Series (cough) contenders. However, Donaldson is not a spring chicken; he’ll be 33 when the season starts. More importantly, he’s moving to the pitching-heavy NL.
If anything, the Donaldson move shines a light on the fact Austin Riley is not big-league ready. (Kudos to the Atlanta brass for learning that lesson in the wake of Dansby Swanson’s flat-lining MLB arc.)