Blue Jays: Plenty of veterans with something to prove

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 04: Kendrys Morales
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 04: Kendrys Morales /
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BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Donaldson
BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Donaldson /

Expiring contracts

Josh Donaldson

This is a big year for the Blue Jays in terms of expiring contracts, and there are none bigger than the “Bringer of Rain”. The 2015 AL MVP is unquestionably the best player the Blue Jays currently employ, but they’ll have to determine just how valuable they think he can be after the age of 32.

If anyone wondered if he can still be a game changer, he should have put those doubts to rest in the second half of last season, as he mashed the ball as well as any hitter in the game. That said, teams are growing more reluctant to sign aging veterans to long term deals, so Donaldson will need to prove he’s still worthy of building a team around in order to maximize his next contract.

Marco Estrada

It was a tale of two seasons for the change-up artist last year, and Marco Estrada is hoping for a little more consistency in 2018. There have been reports that he struggled with getting regular sleep in the middle of last season, which could have contributed to his dreadful summer when it appeared he’d forgotten how to pitch.

Fortunately for the Mexican right-hander, he was able to right the ship and prove enough to warrant the Blue Jays bringing him back on a one year deal. He’ll be a pending free agent once again this year, so whether he wants to return to Toronto or secure a multi-year contract elsewhere beyond this year, he’ll want to put his best foot forward, and hopefully one that more closely resembles his 2015-16 performance.

J.A. Happ

Speaking of starting pitchers on expiring deals, J.A. Happ will join Estrada on that list unless the Blue Jays extend him before that times comes. Happ has provided excellent value for the Blue Jays since returning on a three year deal prior to the 2016 season, and quietly had a great year in 2017 around time spent on the disabled list.

If he can stay healthy and pitch the way he has for the last couple of years, Happ should have no problem securing another multi-year deal before his career comes to an end. Of course, he’ll have to do just that first, which can be easier said than done.