Blue Jays Morning Brew: Josh Donaldson’s arbitration case


In todays Blue Jays Morning Brew we focus on Josh Donaldson‘s upcoming arbitration case, and how the recent cases of Josh Hamilton and Chris Davis frame it

Another work week in the books for the Toronto Blue Jays with Tuesday’s acquisition of Arnold Leon from the Oakland Athletics standing as their lone transaction. Keep an eye on the wire today, however, as Fridays traditionally see a spike in minor signing announcements. So as we collectively scowl out the window and await spring training’s arrival, here’s some Blue Jays coverage that grabbed our attention recently.

Donaldson’s Arbitration  –  An important article here from Matt Swartz of MLBTR that looks at the upcoming arbitration of Silver Slugger and American League MVP Josh Donaldson. Swartz and his projection system sees Donaldson getting a $7.7 million raise to a total salary of $12 million in 2016. Still a gross underpayment for a player of his calibre, but such is the nature of the arbitration structure.

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The primary comparable here is Chris Davis, who holds the current record for salary jump between arbitration years with $7.05 in 2014. Swartz notes that Davis has an edge in counting stats such as HR and RBI, but Donaldson did hit for a stronger average and should have an advantage defensively while playing a more premium position.

Another comparable is Josh Hamilton, who five years ago also entered his second arbitration year coming off an MVP award. Hamilton earned a $5.5 million raise that season. “Even if Donaldson cannot effectively argue that his raise should be larger than Davis’ due to the power gap, he should have less trouble arguing that he is deserving of a bigger raise than Hamilton received five years ago,” Swartz writes.

No result will be an overpay for Donaldson, so we can primarily hope that the process stays civil between the two sides. If the arbitration number does come in a bit below where it’s expected to, perhaps that allows Toronto to take another flier on bullpen help.

Sanchez the Starter?  –  Another look at the coming decision on Aaron Sanchez here from Nick Ashbourne of Sportsnet, and it’s well framed. “The Blue Jays are justified in dreaming on a 23-year-old with some extraordinary tools, but for a team defending a division title, certainty might be more valuable than potential.”

The development of secondary pitches will continue to stand between Sanchez and prolonged starting success. While the only way to learn is through hands-on experience, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista‘s final year under contract may not be the best time to learn.

Related Story: Blue Jays a reported finalist for veteran reliever Rodney

Delgado and McGriff  –  Over at Blue Jay Hunter, Ian Hunter makes a great Hall of Fame case for former Jays Carlos Delgado and Fred McGriff. With each passing year, I scratch my head more and more with Hall of Fame voting. These two undoubtedly deserve a more serious look than they’ve gotten.

Blue Jays trade targets  –  A good profile here by Cole Nefsky of Jays From the Couch on T.J. McFarland as a potential bullpen trade target. The lefty is coming off a 2015 that wasn’t as strong as his 2014, but given how the relief market has played out thus far, it’s beginning to look more likely that trades could be a more valuable avenue of business for Ross Atkins and Tony LaCava.