Atlanta Braves New Year’s Mailbag: Is Josh Donaldson enough

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The Atlanta Braves continue to wait on Josh Donaldson's decision. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The first Atlanta Braves mailbag of 2020 takes a look at the roster if/when Josh   Donaldson signs, who pitches in the fifth slot, and Austin Riley’s future.

Jumping into the Atlanta Braves love of Josh Donaldson topic immediately, Jason wanted to know how long before fans realize he’s not the final piece – Donaldson, not Jason.

The media, fans, and bloggers seem obsessed with getting Josh Donaldson back in the fold. We’ve written more posts than I can count – well I could, but I’m too lazy – about getting him back, what happens if we don’t get him back and what if the Nationals, Phillies or some other evil team snatches him away.

While Donaldson adds a needed piece to the team, most unbiased onlookers will point out other moves are needed, Writers here posted about the need for an outfielder, perhaps two depending on trades the Atlanta Braves may make for pitching or one of those outfielders.

Confidence in the proposed platoon of Adam Duvall and Nick Markakis in left comes from a rose-colored glasses view of their projected seasons, and Ender Inciarte is a notoriously slow starter.  For those reasons talk of a deal for Starlin Marte – a left fielder these days – Trey Mancini, Mitch Haniger, and others keeps bubbling up.

In-season trades for position players happen, but teams usually buy bats in the winter and pitching in season. A few weeks ago, I read that the Pirates were sitting tight on Marte until the Atlanta Braves / Donaldson hunt ended.

Those writers felt that the Braves had what the Pirates wanted – William Contreras and a pitcher – and could wait to see if Atlanta still had interest after they settled third-base. The same feeling may well exist with other trade partners like the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Orioles, or Dodgers.

It seems the Braves are making plans to go either way; they understand that Donaldson alone guarantees only his production, it can’t make up for unrealized production in other positions. I suspect the Atlanta Braves want one more bat with a history of success.

When we talk of bats, fans tell me with some regularity Austin Riley is the answer, providing a nice segue to a question from Josh  - no, not that Josh.

Next: Production projection