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Twins Notes: Donaldson, Polanco, Sano

The Twins’ initial four-year offer to Josh Donaldson was for $84MM, per Phil Miller and La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Shortly thereafter, the team grew pessimistic about signing him, as reports that Donaldson was seeking a $110MM guarantee surfaced. Minnesota’s addition of a fifth-year option with a huge buyout ($16MM option, $8MM buyout) not only boosted the contract’s guarantee to $92MM but also increased the possibility of Donaldson eventually reaching the $100MM mark, which was important to his camp. That increase, of course, also helped the Twins to outbid the rest of the field, which included the Braves, Nationals and, to a lesser extent, the Dodgers and Rangers.

Donaldson himself chatted with Alison Mastrangelo of Channel 2 WSB News in Atlanta about his decision to choose the Twins over the Braves (Twitter links, with video). “Ultimately it wasn’t in the same realm for me [financially],” Donaldson said. “This is going to be my 13th year in the big leagues. I’ve been on a lot of one-year contracts, and the Twins were in a position to where they could offer me a lengthy deal where I thought it was right for me and my family.”

The third baseman called the opportunity to suit up for the Braves, who he grew up watching a “dream come true,” but added that Atlanta wound up “offering me late — like a day or so before.” A return simply “didn’t work out,” Donaldson summed. On the Twins, he expressed excitement over joining a contender with a deep lineup and noted that he’s had success hitting at Minneapolis’ Target Field throughout his career.

More from the Twin Cities…

  • Shortstop Jorge Polanco, who underwent surgery to repair a chronic ankle issue in November, is likely to resume baseball activities this week, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North radio. There was no expectation at the time of the surgery that Polanco’s rehab would extend into Spring Training or the regular season, though it’s nevertheless a positive for the Twins that the 26-year-old’s rehab is seemingly on track. Polanco turned in a strong .295/.356/.485 slash and a career-high 22 home runs in 2019, but he also posted some of the game’s lowest marks in Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average. Ongoing ankle troubles surely didn’t help Polanco’s mobility, but it’s still tough to expect him to make significant contributions on the defensive side of things.
  • Miguel Sano will shift across the diamond to first base now that the Twins have emerged victorious in the Donaldson bidding, and the slugger has no issue with that move, writes Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Sano has been working out at first base all winter and said he’s plenty willing to make the switch. (In the aforementioned Star Tribune column, Sano even revealed that he sent a video message to Donaldson in the final days of his free agency, urging him to come to Minnesota to “join the Bomba Squad.”) Moreover, Sano made clear that he hopes to stay in Minnesota well beyond the 2023 season — the final year of club control on the $30MM extension he just signed: “I think regardless of winning or losing, I’ve made up my mind,” Sano said. “I want to spend my entire career here, so this is the first step.”

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