According to SportsNet's Shi Davidi, the Toronto Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson have agreed to a one-year, $23 million deal to avoid going to arbitration. Donaldson put the injury behind him in the last two months of the season, when he hit.302 with 22 home runs, an on-base average of.410 and a slugging percentage of.688.
The 32-year-old three-time all-star, who was eligible for arbitration, becomes the highest paid player on the Jays. The 2016 AL ERA leader was projected to earn $1.9 million in 2018 after a disappointing 2017 season and the lingering blister issues.
Donaldson is one year away from free agency, and the high salary will help set his market next winter.
Donaldson was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal.
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The previous record deal for an arbitration-eligible player was Bryce Harper's $21.625 million for the 2018 season, which was finalized last May.
Toronto also agreed Friday to one-year deals with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for $1.9 million, left-hander Aaron Loup for $1,812,500, outfielder Kevin Pillar for $3.25 million, right-hander Aaron Sanchez for $2.7 million, second baseman Devon Travis for $1.45 million and right-hander Dominic Leone for $1,085,000. Over the past three years with the Blue Jays, he is a.285/.387/.559 hitter with 111 home runs and 300 RBI. As a file-and-trial team, the only way to avoid a hearing once the sides trade numbers is a multi-year agreement.
The benefit that the Blue Jays have right now is that Donaldson has shown no interest in leaving so the best approach might be to hold onto him and see what happens this season and make a decision at the trade deadline.