By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
The Blue Jays came to terms with Josh Donaldson on a two-year deal worth $28.65 million, avoiding arbitration and gaining some cost certainty over the next two years. The Jays have said in recent years that they would not sign one-year deals after the arbitration numbers have been filed and the two-year deal avoids this.
The Jays avoid having a second arbitration hearing after Jesse Chavez won his hearing (and a $4 million contract). In Donaldson’s case, the Jays were offering $11.35 million with Donaldson asking for $11.8 million. Most writers agreed that the Jays were likely to come to terms with Donaldson, mainly because the difference between them was only $450,000 and to go through a potentially acrimonious hearing would be silly.
While the breakdown of the agreement wasn’t publicized, I wouldn’t be surprised if Donaldson got around $11.35 million this year and the rest next year. The AL MVP was looking for the largest raise via arbitration (moreso than Chris Davis had previously earned) after a season in which he hit .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and a league-leading 123 RBI. This deal only eats up two more of Donaldson’s three arbitration years while the Blue Jays still have him under team control until after the 2018 season.
The other thing that a two-year contract does is give the Jays some flexibility with their other two big sluggers, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Reports are that the Blue Jays will be opening contract talks with the other two and it’s unlikely that either of them will sign an extension for fewer than three years. By signing Donaldson to two more years, it’s possible that he might accept a back-loaded deal further down the line that will allow the Jays to hold on to the big three.
Donaldson was clearly happy to settle outside of arbitration as he posted this picture on Twitter...
Mood right now.
— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 9, 2016
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