Donaldson, Bryant agree to rich deals, avoid arbitration
Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $23 million contract Friday, the largest oneyear deal for an arbitration-eligible player.
The 32-year-old, a threetime All-Star, topped the $21,625,000, one-year deal covering 2018 agreed to last May by outfielder Bryce Harper and Washington.
Donaldson, the 2015 American League MVP, got a $6 million raise after rebounding from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 RBIs in 113 games. The sure-handed infielder missed time from April 14 through May 25 with a calf injury, which also hampered him during spring training.
Donaldson was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
In Chicago, Kris Bryant also has a record-setting contract, agreeing on a one-year deal with the Cubs worth $10.85 million — the most for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time.
The previous mark was held by Ryan Howard, who was awarded $10 million by a three-person panel in 2008. The Cubs and Bryant avoided arbitration, and the 26-year-old third baseman receives a hefty raise after making $1.05 million last year.
Bryant hit .295 with 29 home runs and 73 RBIs in 2017. The previous season, he earned National League MVP honors when he hit .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs as the Cubs won the World Series that year for the first time since 1908.
Also getting paid Friday was third baseman Manny Machado, who agreed to a $16 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, avoiding arbitration.
Machado, who can become a free agent after this season, hit .259 with 33 homers and 95 RBIs last year, when he made $11.5 million. He has been mentioned in persistent trade rumors.
The Orioles also reached agreement with injured closer Zach Britton on a $12 million deal.
Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays got a $6 million raise after rebounding from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 RBIs in 113 games.