Blue Jays win arbitration case against Josh Donaldson

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When you’re cultivating a new relationship, the best place to do so isn’t likely over a deposition. However, that was the case with the Toronto Blue Jays and newly acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson, as the two sides went to an arbitration hearing on Thursday, with the All-Star’s 2015 compensation at question.

According to Jon Heyman at CBS Sports, who has seemingly been sitting outside the arbitration office all week, Donaldson has lost his case against the Blue Jays.

Eligible for salary arbitration for the first time as a Super-Two player, Josh Donaldson looked to capitalize on back-to-back top-10 American League MVP finished and requested $5.75 million for 2015. The team countered with a proposal for $4.3 million (which he’ll now take home as a consolation prize), with MLB Trade Rumors projecting a figure of $4.5 million. All three numbers were a significant upgrade over the $500,000 that Josh Donaldson made during his second full season with the Oakland Athletics.

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The Blue Jays acquired Josh Donaldson on November 28th in a deal that sent incumbent third baseman Brett Lawrie, along with prospects Sean Nolin (LHP), Kendall Graveman (RHP), and Franklin Barreto (SS) to the Athletics. With four years of team control in front of them, Donaldson could easily become the face of the franchise that the team builds around for the next several years.

As a member of the Oakland Athletics in 2014, Donaldson finished 8th in the AL MVP balloting while hitting .255/.342/.477 with 29 home runs, 98 RBI, and a wRC+ of 129. That came on the heals of a 4th place finish in 2013, where Donaldson was a bigger beast with a .301/.384/.499 slash, 24 home runs, 93 RBI, and a wRC+ of 147.

Coupled with outstanding defense at the hot corner, Josh Donaldson put up a combined fWAR of 14.1, which ranked him third in Major League Baseball behind only Mike Trout and Andrew McCutcheon. He also finished 9th in the game in WPA (Win Probability Added) with a 8.12 mark during that span.

That all said, Donaldson may have had a point as to justifying his value a bit more. According to FanGraphs, when converting his WAR to a dollar scale, Donaldson was worth a combined $73.6 million over the course of the last two seasons. Granted, that’s a scale and not necessarily grounded in reality, but it certainly goes to show the value he brings to the table.

Needless to say, the Blue Jays may have one this particular battle, and it may provide them with a bit of financial flexibility now, but Donaldson will undoubtedly see some significant increased over the next four seasons.

Next: Where will Matt Boyd start in 2015?

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