Blue Jays: It’s still early for Donaldson extension talks

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson /

According to a tweet from respected writer Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have yet to approach Josh Donaldson with a formal extension offer this offseason.

For a guy with one year left of club control, Josh Donaldson has been one of the hottest topics around the Blue Jays so far this offseason. That’s with good reason of course, as he has just one year left on his current deal, which means the Blue Jays will need to decide if they are going to try to keep him around, and if not, what the best way to handle the situation might be. For a team that plans on contending in 2018, trading your best offensive player isn’t the best move to start with.

Plenty of the discussion around Donaldson has been that the Blue Jays have to keep him in the fold beyond 2018, which would require an extension or a new contract next offseason. Locking him up now would do a lot of things, as it would provide some roster stability, cost certainty, and perhaps most importantly it would be a show of faith to a fan base that came out in droves in 2017, despite the fact that the team was in last place for all but one day of the season.

Whatever the thinking is around the front office these days, word from respected baseball writer, Jon Morosi, is the club has yet to approach Donaldson with a formal extension offer this offseason. At first glance that sounds like a troubling thing, but even Morosi partially solves the question with the rest of his tweet, pointing out that there is no immediate urgency, and that both parties will have to come together for the arbitration process in the new year.

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That last fact is why Blue Jays fans shouldn’t panic just yet, as Morosi is right that the team doesn’t have to move on this right now. Sure, it would satisfy the fanbase a great deal, but we’re a pretty emotional group at the best of times, and fail to see the big picture more often than not. To that point, waiting until the new year does a few things for the equation.

First, it buys the team some time to see how they’ll be building for 2018, and what the market will ultimately look like. The front office has a group of free agent targets they covet for the immediate term, but Donaldson’s future very much effects their decision making. If they go out and spend recklessly right now, there’s a good chance there may not be enough to keep the 2015 AL MVP on the roster.

It also allows Donaldson and his agent to survey the market, and do their best to figure out how things could play out for the slugger as a 33 year old free agent a year from now. Maybe they are best served signing now, after all, the market next season could also feature names like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado as well, just to name a couple from the star studded class. That’s not to down play Donaldson’s value at all, it’s just that there are only so many big spenders and there are a lot of heavyweights in play next season.

Finally, it’ll give Donaldson and the Blue Jays both a chance to see where this team is really going in the immediate future. If they fall on their face out of the gates in 2018 as they did this season, maybe Donaldson would rather pursue an opportunity to win while he’s still at the height of his game. At the same time, maybe the Blue Jays won’t want to pay him a premium salary as they drop a rebuild, or re-tool, or whatever you want to call it.

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So for now, it makes sense that the talks haven’t started. I’d hate to see the discussion not happen at all this offseason, and a resolution would be even better. Either way, don’t be put off by the news from Jon Morosi’s tweet, at least not yet.