Free-agent 3B Donaldson on Rangers' wish list

November 13th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson is high on Texas' offseason wish list, as the Rangers aren’t going to let past grudges get in the way of their efforts to improve their club, general manager Jon Daniels said on Tuesday at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“There might be a specific instance where there is something more to it, but competitive people in the heat of the moment, things happen,” Daniels said. “For the most part, I doubt it would factor in.”

Donaldson was with the Blue Jays from 2015-18, when Toronto and Texas had a heated rivalry. They clashed twice in the American League Division Series (2015-16), with the Blue Jays winning both times.

The 2015 series was especially contentious, with Donaldson getting into it with Rangers reliever Keone Kela in Game 2. Donaldson, annoyed that Kela was trying to quick-pitch him, yelled at him, leading to a brief altercation. Both benches spilled out onto the field, but the tension was quickly defused.

Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, averaged 31 home runs, 83 RBIs, a .271 batting average and a .529 slugging percentage over the past five years. He is a right-handed hitter who would help balance a left-handed lineup.

Third base is the Rangers' No. 1 need this offseason. Anthony Rendon is the top third baseman on the free-agent market, but he may be outside the Rangers' grasp if he is looking for more than a five-year contract.

Rendon and Donaldson both received qualifying offers by their former clubs. That means the Rangers would forfeit their second-highest Draft pick and have their international bonus pool reduced by $500,000 if they sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer.

The Rangers are also looking for starting pitching. Free-agent starters Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Jake Odorizzi all received qualifying offers.

The Rangers are exploring the top-of-the-market free agents but have also placed a high value on Draft picks over the past few years. Signing two free agents from the list of those who have received a qualifying offer would mean losing their second- and third-highest picks, as well as a reduction of $1 million in international bonus pool money.

“We are getting way ahead of ourselves,” Daniels said. “It is not an appealing side of it, but getting good players, that part is appealing. We’ll see.”