Toronto Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson settle on record arbitration deal

TORONTO, ON - JULY 27: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - JULY 27: Josh Donaldson /

With the arbitration deadline set for Friday, the Toronto Blue Jays took care of their most important case, agreeing to a record settlement with Josh Donaldson.

The Bringer of Rain gets his pay day. The Toronto Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agreed to a record arbitration number as reported by Sportsnet‘s Shi Davidi ahead of the MLB deadline.

The settlement will pay the three-time All-Star $23 million in 2018 after making $17 million in 2017, he now surpasses Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki as the highest paid player on the roster. The team will have to make a decision on his future after this season, as the 32-year old will be a free agent.

The new deal surpasses the mark set by Bryce Harper, who made $21.625 million last year. However, while the news might seem encouraging to Blue Jays fans, it does not provide any indication of what this means about Donaldson’s future.

President Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins have come out and said they are not looking to move Donaldson, as they want to be competitive despite the New York Yankees loading up in the offseason.

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The team still has six more arbitration cases left after agreeing to deals with Aaron Loup and Ezequiel Carrera. The Blue Jays still have to get deals done with Roberto Osuna, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Pillar, Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis and Dominic Leone.

The team has taken a cautious approach to the offseason, adding Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte for insurance in the infield. However, there is still work to be done in the outfield, a backup catcher (if there was not an in-house solution) as well as adding pitching depth.

A lot will have to go right for the Blue Jays to be competitive in 2018 including the health of Sanchhez, Tulowitzki, Martin and Travis.  It would also help if Justin Smoak can have a repeat or close to performance from 2017, where he had 38 home runs and Kendrys Morales bounces back.

The benefit 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.

Next: Gonzalez could be short-term solution for Jays’ outfield woes

What do you think about the Donaldson news? Does it make you optimistic about him staying after 2018, or should the team continue to search for a deal to move him? Let us know in the comments below.