The Toronto Blue Jays reportedly have avoided arbitration with slugger Josh Donaldson signing the former MVP to a $23 million dollar pact for 2018.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet the Blue Jays have locked up Josh Donaldson signing the third baseman to a record arbitration salary. The reported $23 million tops the previous arbitration salary record of $21,625,000 handed out to Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
MLB Trade Rumors had projected Donaldson to earn $20.7 million for the 2018 campaign however the Jays obviously felt extending an olive branch and avoiding an arbitration hearing was the best course of action for the pending free agent. Donaldson earned $17 million last season and has been a topic of discussion all offseason long as his free agency looms in the background.
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The St.Louis Cardinals have been hot on the trail to acquire Donaldson, however, the Jays have stayed strong fending off any possible suitors with the intention the compete in 2018. Although there have been no reported extension talks with Donaldson perhaps not nickeling-and -diming him this time around will bode well when it comes time to talk extension.
The record-setting $23 million is a $6 million dollar raise from last season and a significant jump from what many industry experts had prognosticated for Donaldson.
Donaldson is a generational talent accumulating a 21.1 WAR in his first three seasons north of the border. The 32-year old is the heart and soul of the Blue Jays and efforts should be made to extend the slugger long-term.
As GM Ross Atkins has continually reiterated there is no possible scenario where the Blue Jays are a better team without Donaldson in the fold. Time will tell how the Donaldson drama unfolds as many feel the Jays will look to deal the third baseman at the trade deadline if the Jays stumble out of the gate again this season.
As for now, J.D. is staying where he belongs with a record arbitration deal in his pocket.