Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson comments on contract extension talks

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson /

Ever so slowly, a repetition of Edwin Encarnacion’s contract fiasco is becoming a possibility for Toronto Blue Jay fans in the future.

This time, however, it would be Josh Donaldson at the centre of the action. While addressing media after the first full-squad workout of spring training on Monday, Donaldson made some comments that were eerily similar to those of Encarnacion’s agent before the start of the 2016 season.

Per Hazel Mae of Sportsnet, Donaldson said that he is no longer discussing his contract with the Blue Jays because he would prefer to focus on playing his best.

“I want to play this season and really focus on winning games,” Donaldson said. “Ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.”

Said Paul Kinzer, Encarnacion’s agent, in December of 2015: “Edwin loves Toronto, but he doesn’t want [contract talks] to drag into the season. He doesn’t want it to be a distraction.”

Encarnacion, for the record, set Opening Day as a firm deadline for contract extension offers. During the season, he didn’t speak with the Blue Jays about his contract.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

Donaldson said that his agent and the Blue Jays are not seeing eye-to-eye in extension talks and that he fully expects to hit free agency when the season is complete. He said he thinks the Blue Jays want to sign him long-term.

“I truly believe that where I’m at today, I have longevity in this game performing at a high level,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson also told the media that even with contract offers and expectations not lining up, his relationship with general manager Ross Atkins isn’t frayed.

“I’m very extremely happy with what’s transpired throughout this time,” Donaldson said. “Mark [Shapiro] and Ross have been very upfront with me throughout this entire process.”

In short, the biggest news from Donaldson’s comments today is the fact that he expects to become a free agent and that he won’t discuss a contract extension during the season.

Next: Blue Jays Spring Training News and Notes

The picture that Donaldson paints of the contract talks are largely positive. Even if an agreement on an extension isn’t met before Opening Day, Toronto’s front office has laid strong groundwork with Donaldson that can be used to reach a potential deal during the postseason (if the Blue Jays aren’t playing) or even in free agency.