1. Try to re-sign Donaldson, but get ready: He’s walking
Extensive injuries might keep Josh Donaldson from capitalizing on free agency this winter, which doesn’t hurt if your’e the Tribe.
A healthy Donaldson who might’ve put up an MVP caliber year would be out of the Indians’ price range. However, Donaldson’s current situation might be much more affordable.
Cleveland should try to sign Donaldson to a one-year “prove it” deal.
He’ll benefit by playing for a team, that despite its current weaknesses, will contend for an American League Central division championship.
Ideally, Donaldson would sign something with the Indians for one year, $12-$15 million.
Realistically, he probably did enough in September to get the type of contract the Indians can’t afford. He only played 16 games during the final month of the regular season, but in 50 at bats, he had six extra-base hits and a .920 OPS. He looked stellar at third base and his timing seemed to be coming around.
If the Indians could retain Donaldson, third base is taken care of for another year, while Jose Ramirez plays second base. When those two are their best, they can be All-Stars, as can Lindor at shortstop. Not a bad thing when you’re contending for a World Series and hosting the 2019 All-Star game.
Unfortunately, Donaldson probably signs elsewhere, but that’s OK. There’s a backup plan.