MILWAUKEE — Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson signed a minor league deal with the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, two days after the New York Yankees released him.
The Brewers said Donaldson the 37-year-old third baseman will report to their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee.
Donaldson is a three-time All-Star who had an MVP season with Toronto in 2015, but his production has dipped dramatically. He has hit .207 with 25 homers and 77 RBIs over 165 games in two seasons since the Yankees acquired him along with infielder/outfielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt in a March 2022 deal that set catcher Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela to the Minnesota Twins.
“Certainly you look at the pedigree of this guy and what he’s accomplished in the game, I think walking in the door he has instant credibility and a presence I think that could potentially help us,” Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said.
By signing Thursday, Donaldson can be eligible for postseason play with the Brewers and doesn’t have to finish the remainder of his stint on the 60-day injured list. Donaldson went on the injured list July 16 with a strained right calf and was moved to the 60-day injured list four days later.
“He hasn’t been in games in a while, so we’re going to have to give him some regular at-bats in Nashville,” Arnold said. “We’ll try to do that as soon as we possibly can.”
Milwaukee leads the Chicago Cubs by three games in the NL Central heading into a home series with the Philadelphia Phillies that begins Friday.
The Brewers have to pay Donaldson only a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum. The Yankees released Donaldson on Tuesday.
Donaldson is hitting .142 with a .225 on-base percentage and .434 slugging percentage in 33 games this season. In a statistical oddity, 10 of Donaldson’s 15 hits are homers.
The Brewers could use a boost in production at third base. Rookie Andruw Monasterio has received the majority of playing time at third lately and is batting .256 with a .335 on-base percentage, three homers and 18 RBIs in 65 games. But he’s hitting just .211 with a .290 on-base percentage and .300 slugging percentage in August.
“I think Monasterio’s done a really good job for us this year,” Arnold said. “He’s had some really, really big hits. He’s made some incredible defensive plays, especially on some charge plays. He’s a rookie that’s shown some really good upside here with us, and he’s also a great teammate. There’s certainly a lot of things to like there about Andruw. Again, just having somebody like Josh Donaldson just gives us another potential option there and another bat at DH as well.”
Milwaukee also has Brian Anderson, who is hitting .224 with a .310 on-base percentage, nine homers and 40 RBIs in 93 games. Anderson last appeared in a game on Aug. 22.