File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson hits a three-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto.

Blue Jays sign star Josh Donaldson to one-year, $23-million deal

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins didn’t see a problem giving all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson a hefty raise for the upcoming season.

Donaldson and the Blue Jays avoided arbitration Friday by agreeing on a US$23 million, one-year contact — the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player.

“We didn’t by any means break the record, Josh did. Josh broke the record with his performance and quite frankly blew it out of the water,” Atkins said on a conference call. “We knew that was going to happen. It was just a matter of how much and if we could align in value and we’re very pleased that we did.”

The contract gives Donaldson a $6 million raise while also making the 2015 AL MVP the highest paid player on the Jays’ roster.

Donaldson rebounded from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 runs batted in over 113 games. The sure-handed infielder missed time from April 14 through May 25 with a calf injury, which also hampered him during spring training.

He was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal and is eligible for free agency after this season.

Atkins wouldn’t get into details about the potential of a long-term contract with the 32-year-old Donaldson but did say that Friday’s deal could help in future negotiations.

“I definitely don’t think it hurts us,” Atkins said. “Everything in any relationship and any negotiation, when you do agree on something is certainly a positive. There’s always a lot that goes into a negotiation so I would say it definitely doesn’t hurt.”

Donaldson has a .285 batting average with 111 home runs and 300 RBIs over three seasons in Toronto.

“Josh is huge component to our team and to our success — what he brings not only on the baseball field, but in the clubhouse,” Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez told reporters before an event at a school in Burnaby, B.C., as part of the club’s winter tour. ”Great dude to be around, great leader.”

Sanchez also avoided arbitration, signing a one-year deal worth $2.7 million.

“I let my people handle it. I wasn’t really in a lot of the talks, but definitely I’m happy.”

The Blue Jays also agreed to one-year deals with outfielder Kevin Pillar ($3.25 million), second baseman Devon Travis ($1.45 million), right-hander Dominic Leone ($1.085 million), outfielder Ezequiel Carrera ($1.9 million) and left-hander Aaron Loup ($1.8 million)

Two key parts of the Jays’ pitching staff that were eligible for arbitration, closer Roberto Osuna and starter Marcus Stroman, remain unsigned.

Stroman, who won a career-high 13 games in 2017 while boasting a 3.09 ERA, required an arbitration hearing last year before securing a $3.4 million salary.

“It’s just a part of the process,” Atkins said of taking Stroman to arbitration in back-to-back years. “The industry has seen that more and more teams are willing to go and agencies are more willing to go. … If the numbers don’t line up that’s what the hearing is built in for.”

While the Blue Jays have been relatively quiet this off-season, aside from acquiring infielder Yangervis Solarte in a trade with San Diego last week, Atkins said the team is still in a good position to add where it needs to.

“We definitely still have flexibility and we definitely have room to make moves whether that be via free agency or trade and I feel like we’re in a good position to make our team better,” Atkins said. “Where that ends, we’ll see.”

Just Posted

Longer wait times at Red Deer hospital’s ER due to staff shortage on weekend

“Right now we’re short staffed but it’s subsiding. It was critical Saturday evening”

Lacombe Legion Ladies Auxiliary celebrates 70 years

Community group supports local veterans and other community initiatives

Sylvan Lake Legion honours the memory of past president

A new podium at the Legion was dedicated to Steve Dills at a recent meeting

WATCH: Trekking through the foam in Red Deer

The fourth 5K Foam Fest was held at Heritage Ranch in Red Deer Saturday

WATCH: Red Deer residents protest for more equal family court treatment

Despite unfavourable weather, Matias Battauz was “stoked” to have three other people… Continue reading

WATCH: Farm Safety Day encourages Lacombe area students to stay safe

Lacombe County annual event helps keep accidents off the farm

Toronto police investigating drive-by shooting; fourth homicide in 24 hours

TORONTO — An unarmed woman was killed in a drive-by shooting in… Continue reading

Toronto Pride Parade to kick off amid tensions between LGBTQ community, police

TORONTO — Crowds of people have filled the streets of Toronto on… Continue reading

WATCH: Farm Safety Day encourages Lacombe area students to stay safe

Lacombe County annual event helps keep accidents off the farm

Lacombe Legion Ladies Auxiliary celebrates 70 years

Community group supports local veterans and other community initiatives

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Man shot dead in Surrey, B.C., ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Honda goal gives Japan a 2-2 draw with Senegal at World Cup

YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Senegal twice took the lead. Japan tied it up… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month