New Twin Josh Donaldson said Atlanta’s offer ‘wasn’t in the same realm’ financially

The reports early in the process of the Josh Donaldson Sweepstakes, as they were affectionately known, said that if all else was equal, the slugging third baseman would prefer a return to Atlanta, the team he grew up watching.

Given that he signed a 4-year deal with the Twins that could surpass $100 million if a 5th-year option is exercised, we’re left to wonder. Either something changed in the intervening weeks, or all was not equal financially.

The Twins haven’t officially announced the move. But that’s a formality. Donaldson, for his part, is already calling the Twins’ lineup “our” lineup, and he gave a hint in a recent interview about the offers on the table. Minnesota was believed to be one of the 3 most serious bidders, along with Atlanta and the World Series champion Nationals.

Here’s a clip of his interview, shared by Alison Mastrangelo. Donaldson was asked if Atlanta made a competitive offer to the Twins.

“No,” he said. “They ended up offering me late, like a day or so before. But it just didn’t work out, unfortunately, because I really enjoyed my time there. ”

“It was tough to make that decision,” Donaldson continued. “But ultimately it wasn’t in the same realm for me as far as financially was concerned.”

The Twins offered a reported $84 million over 4 years, with a 5th year club option worth $16 million, or a buyout worth $8 million in that final season. So the minimum guaranteed to go to Donaldson is $92 million. Not exactly chump change for a player in his mid-30’s, which speaks to how highly the Twins must view Donaldson.

“This is going to be my 13th year in the big leagues and 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 to where I thought it was right for me and my family. Ultimately, that’s what the decision came down to,” he said.

So after missing out on the “impact pitching” they’d targeted this winter, the Twins flexed some financial muscles to land an impact player of another type. They spent some serious cash on a star slugger and excellent third baseman, and Josh Donaldson should make an already good lineup even scarier.

“I think that their lineup is going to be — our lineup is going to be something pretty special,” Donaldson said.

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