Toronto Blue Jays: Time to show a financial commitment to Josh Donaldson

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 15: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 15: Josh Donaldson /

It has been said that the Toronto Blue Jays want to keep Josh Donaldson around but unless the team is willing to make the financial commitment, an elite player will be on his way out.

Back on August 10th, Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro said that the team wanted to keep Josh Donaldson around despite the team in need of a makeover. “It’s hard to imagine any scenario where we’re a better team without him,” Shapiro said during a guest appearance on The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “He’s a pretty special player and now that he’s gotten healthy over the last couple of weeks, it’s a reminder of just how great he is offensively and defensively.

The Blue Jays and Donaldson agreed to a two-year, $29 million extension back in 2016. The 31-year old is eligible for arbitration for next season and if the team does not come to terms on a long-term deal, Donaldson will be eligible for free agency in 2018. If the team is serious about keeping the 2015 AL MVP then they should put their money where their mouth is. When Alex Anthopoulos traded for Donaldson from the Oakland Athletics, it was a move that gave new life to the team. It will be hard to explain to fans how one of the best Blue Jays players in recent memory was allowed to leave.

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This season, Donaldson got off to a slow start because of injuries but in the month of August, he has returned to being an MVP caliber player. He has an OPS of 1.260 hitting a slash line of .315/.452/.808 with 11 home runs and 24 RBI. He has also shown an ability to start at shortstop and third base giving manager John Gibbons more options in the lineup.

There were people saying that trading Donaldson would be the best route to getting the team the assets they need to contend. However, there is always risk that what you get in return will not equate to the value Donaldson provides. With a starting rotation that has Aaron Sanchez (if he can remain healthy), Marcus Stroman and J.A. Happ and most likely Marco Estrada if they can get a deal done. Finding a player with Donaldson’s ability is tough, so why let him flirt with the idea of free agency.

The Blue Jays should have learned their lesson from Edwin Encarnacion who the team probably could have signed to a reasonable contract prior to free agency. Instead, Encarnacion is now thriving with the Cleveland Indians and Kendrys Morales (the replacement for Encarnacion) has struggled this season.

It is now time for management to show that they are committed to this team going forward. The best way to do that is to pay their best player and make the commitment that they have not been willing to do in the past. Granted the team should not just give Donaldson a blank check because they need to build around him but losing him would mean starting from scratch.

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What should the team do with Donaldson? If they were to give him a long-term deal what would be the ideal number? Let us know in the comments.