Blue Jays, Don­ald­son avoid ar­bi­tra­tion with one-year, $23M deal

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - SPORTS - STEVE BUFFERY TORONTO SUN

The Jays and their third base­man Josh Don­ald­son have avoided ar­bi­tra­tion, set­tling at $23 mil­lion 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 righthanded 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 dis­abled list 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 make John Gib­bons happy as the Jays man­ager loves hav­ing Car­rera as his fourth out­fielder.

Left-handed re­liever Aaron Loup also signed a deal worth $1,812,500. Four Jays re­main un­signed and ar­bi­tra­tion el­i­gi­ble: re­liever Do­minic Leone; closer Roberto Osuna; cen­tre-fielder Kevin Pil­lar; and start­ing pitcher 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 the three-time 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 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, slug­ger known as The Bringer of Rain hit .270 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS.

Don­ald­son 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.

“I could be OK if this (Toronto) is where I spend the rest of my ca­reer, I could also be OK if they (the Jays) de­cided to move on,” Don­ald­son added that it’s not only his de­ci­sion.

The Jays are still free to ne­go­ti­ate a long-term con­tract with Don­ald­son af­ter avoid­ing ar­bi­tra­tion.

Don­ald­son

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