Deal buys some time for Jays, Donaldson
The Toronto Blue Jays brought enough cash to satisfy The Bringer of Rain. At least for the 2018 season.
The Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration, settling at $23 million US for the 2018 season, first reported by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
The Donaldson deal is a record, the previous record for an arbitration-eligible player was Bryce Harper’s $ 21.625 million for the 2018 season.
As first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Jays also signed second baseman Devon Travis to one year, $ 1.45 million deal and right- handed pitcher Aaron Sanchez, $2.7 million deal for 2018. Both Travis (right knee surgery) and Sanchez ( blisters on right middle finger) spent a considerable amount of time on the DL last season. Nightengale reported on Thursday that outfielder Ezequiel Carrera signed a $ 1.9 million deal for 2018 with the Jays, also avoiding arbitration.
That will satisfy John Gibbons as the Jays manager loves having Carrera as his fourth outfielder. Left-handed reliever LHP Aaron Loup also signed a 1,812,500 deal.
Four Jays remain unsigned and arbitration eligible — RHP Dominic Leone, RHP Roberto Osuna, OF Kevin Pillar and RHP Marcus Stroman. Deadline to file arbitration numbers was 1 p.m. Friday but deals can be agreed to before an arbitration hearing is held later this winter.
Donaldson, a three- time major league all- star, becomes eligible for free agency after this season. There is speculation that if the Jays don’t sign him to a long-term deal, he may be traded this upcoming season if the club does not get off to a good start and falls out of the playoff picture. The Jays however have said repeatedly that they are not in a complete rebuild mode and want to compete for a playoff spot in 2018 and wouldn’t be able to do that without Donaldson, the 2015 American League MVP, in the lineup.
In 113 games in 2017, Donaldson hit .270 with 33 home runs and a . 944 OPS. The 32- year- old appeared on the MLB Network on Friday and said it’s “a compliment” that his name has been mentioned frequently during the off- season as someone who might be traded.
“I think it’s a compliment that there are other teams that feel that their team would be better with me in it. And I tend to agree with them,” Donaldson said with a smile. “The fact of the matter is, I really enjoy where I’m at right now and I enjoy being a Toronto Blue Jay and enjoy what we’ve been able to build in this organization and I’m very happy.”