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Braves Can't Afford to Let Josh Donaldson Leave for Rangers

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 09:  Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fourth inning in game five of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 09, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Josh Donaldson had one fantastic year for the Atlanta Braves in 2019. After signing to a one-year deal in the offseason, he reminded everyone of why he won an MVP back in 2015 through a healthy mix of stellar defense and quality offensive production.

Naturally, he's receiving interest on the free agent market. The Texas Rangers in particular have emerged as early competitors to land him, but if the Braves are serious about contending again in a crowded NL East, then they absolutely cannot afford to let Donaldson walk in free agency.

He's simply too good of a player to let slip through their hands. Donaldson was a force at the plate this year, mashing to the tune of 37 home runs and a .521 slugging percentage. His 4.9 fWAR outranked that of fellow third basemen Kris Bryant and Manny Machado.

He's an established veteran at a position in which experience is vital, especially for a team like Atlanta that relies primarily on its talented youth.

Donaldson's ability in the field is nothing to laugh at, either. The 33-year-old managed to amass 15 defensive runs saved, the second-highest mark of his career, and a respectable 2.1 UZR/150, numbers few defenders at his age could match.

Outside of Anthony Rendon, there's nobody on the market that can match Donaldson's contributions at the position. Letting him go would deal a devastating blow to Atlanta's defensive alignment, their depth in the batting order, and their chances at a deep playoff run in 2020.