5 Trade Candidates The SF Giants Should Pursue with the Universal DH
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins
The most expensive option on the list, but maybe could be had for less than anyone else, and his salary could even less if the Twins were extremely motivated to move away from Donaldson. And maybe, just maybe, the replacement for Buster Posey at catcher. (Seeing how he hasn't played a single inning at catcher since 2012, that is DEFINITELY not happening).
When dissecting Donaldson, let us start with the bad. First, he's 36. Second, he's played 163 out of a possible 222 games the past two seasons because of various injuries, so he hasn't exactly been durable. Next, whether it was due to the lack of games played or just hitting the inevitable father time cliff, Dondalson's power numbers have dipped the past two years. Before 2020, Donaldson hit 30 or more home runs in three of the previous five seasons. However, in the last two, he hit a combined 32.
Let us not forget the contact, which lays out like this:
2022, 2023: $21.7M
2024 (team option): $16.0M (or a buyout of $8M)
Now let's talk the good. Donaldson was top four of all of baseball in average exit velocity (and a career-high), and the right-handed third baseman is still in the top percentile in almost every offensive analytical category. The former MVP, when he plays, still rakes.
If the Twins are out of the playoff race early like they were a season ago, moving away from Donaldson to shed payroll might be one of their first moves, and if they are willing to take back some salary, then the Giants should be interested. He could slide in a third when Longoria has a day off, be the full-time DH, or even, despite his very limited playing time, give Belt some relief and start at first from time to time. The Posey comment earlier was clearly a joke, however, this one could be more plausible, despite logging FIVE career games (which is the same amount that he's played shortstop). Just knowing how to play these positions gives the Giants more options, which is never a bad thing.
One more thing: his power plays at Oracle. Out of the 26 home runs he hit a season ago, he would've hit that many plus SIX more if they were at Oracle. A trade for Donaldson would likely be a last-last resort, but it would not be a bad move if Minnesota was willing to take back some salary.
Another aside: I learned that there is a "No Doubter Percentage" stat for home runs, and 69% of Donaldson's home runs in 2021 were classified as a "No Doubter". Out of everyone who hit at least 25 home runs, Donaldson ranked was third in all of baseball in No Doubter % behind Kike Hernandez and CJ Cron. Mike Yastrzemski was the highest-ranking Giant, with 64% of his homers being considered "No Doubters". The more you know.