Toronto Blue Jays star and 2015 American League MVP Josh Donaldson is on his way to a major pay day. Unless the Jays give him a well-deserved long-term extension, Donaldson will hit the open market this winter as one of the most coveted free agents in history.
On Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports shared his latest news and notes around the league. Here is what he originally reported (per Bluebird Banter):
"Josh Donaldson is believed to be seeking a monster payday, according to friends, and while he may not hit his goal (some think he may be shooting too high), he benefits from Manny Machado’s move to shortstop since he’d become the top third base option if Machado stays at shortstop as a free agent."
Donaldson then took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Heyman's reporting - in a somewhat professional matter:
@JonHeyman I respect what you do for a living, but you don’t know my friends. Nor do my friends know what I want, because there is still information to be gathered. I havn’t asked for anything. What I have said is I would like to stay. Cont. https://t.co/mCKqqj9OR1— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 8, 2018
@JonHeyman I would listen to an offer, but I havnt had one to listen to so it’s been pretty easy. Thanks for your concern about my future and next time I hope you put a name by it, because you are using my name in a manner I don’t appreciate.— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 8, 2018
Heyman then responded to Donaldson, acknowledging his mistake and changing it in a revised column:
fair enough. i should have said in that short note that the belief is he will be aiming high. (which isn't really a shocker as he's a past mvp and played like one once back on the field last year.) i did not mean to imply he's made big demands of jays or didnt want to stay. https://t.co/2ftGWsKXlP— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 9, 2018
Last month, the Blue Jays and Donaldson avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract worth $23 million. The superstar slugger has maintained that he wants to be re-sign with the Blue Jays, but the team has obviously not approached him with an offer yet.
The three-time All-Star has hit 30-plus home runs in each of the last two seasons, and led the Blue Jays to the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. He's set to enter a stacked 2018 free agent market that includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Murphy, among others.
Though the Jays payroll is currently at $151.9 million (per Baseball Reference), the organization has always been hesitant to hand out big contracts to star players. They let fan favorite Edwin Encarnacion walk in 2016 free agency, while icon Jose Bautista had to settle on a one-year pact worth $18 million.
Toronto GM Ross Atkins has reiterated that the team wouldn't be better without Donaldson, and has refused to trade away the franchise player - despite heavy pursuing from the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason. We'll find out within the year if the 2015 A.L. MVP gets a monster pay day from the Blue Jays, or if it will be elsewhere.