Cubs should steer clear of Josh Donaldson this offseason

Despite a glaring need, signing an aging veteran who seems to be past his prime isn't a solution.

Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One / John Fisher/GettyImages

The best is behind Josh Donaldson. It's as simple as that. The former MVP and three-time All-Star stated this week that he's open to playing one more season before hanging up his spikes for good - but that should, in no way, shape or form, be seen as a potential solution to the Cubs' third base problem.

About to turn 38, Donaldson is in the extreme twilight of his playing career. After struggling brutally with the Yankees to open the year, batting just .142/.225/.434, New York moved on, allowing the veteran to latch on with the eventual NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers down the stretch. He was only marginally better there, finishing the year with a sub-.700 OPS for the second time in as many seasons.

"If it’s a situation that I feel (comfortable in) then I’m definitely up for playing one more year. But I think after this upcoming season, that would be my last season no matter what. I would like to play one more year and go out on a good note and then that’d be it."

Josh Donaldson, via The Score

Cubs can - and need to - do better than Josh Donaldson at third

Batted ball metrics suggest Donaldson had his share of bad luck in 2023, evidenced namely by a .115 BABIP, but his offensive profile at this point is something the Cubs are better off without. He's turned into an all-or-nothing, three true outcome sort of presence late in his career and, frankly, if that's what Chicago wants, they might as well pencil in Patrick Wisdom as the everyday third baseman. He carries far higher upside and is also stronger defensively and on the basepaths.

Frankly, I'd be suprised if Donaldson can find a big league guarantee from any of the 30 teams. The position is relatively deep this winter, headlined by Matt Chapman, and also including some other late-30s veterans like Justin Turner and Evan Longoria, both of whom have more to offer at this point than the former Blue Jays star.