Blue Jays back in familiar position with Josh Donaldson’s contract situation

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 25: Josh Donaldson /

Josh Donaldson provided another update on his contract status, with the Toronto Blue Jays finding themselves in a similar position with another star player.

First it was Edwin Encarnacion, then Jose Bautista and now the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves in a familiar position with Josh Donaldson. This came after the 2015 AL MVP told reporters there has been no progress made in contract talks.

"“We’re not in the same ballpark to make a discussion to moving forward,” Donaldson said to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. “To me it’s just not that big of an issue to focus on it right now or throughout the season. Because I don’t feel like the time is right, at the moment, and I just want to focus on what I can do to be better and what I can do to help other people in our locker room better.”"

This is not an ideal position for the Blue Jays, because the subject of Donaldson’s future will be highly discussed. As much as Donaldson does not want it to be a distraction, it will be.

Unlike past situations with Bautista and Encarnacion, there seems to be some dialogue between the Blue Jays and Donaldson. According to Griffin, the sides have not discussed money, which means the contract length is an issue.

As Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith’s writes, the one positive in this situation is that Donaldson does not feel frustrated with the process.

"“I’m extremely happy with what’s transpired throughout this time,” Donaldson said. “I believe they want me. If they didn’t want me, we wouldn’t be having any type of discussions.”"

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The tough part now for the Blue Jays is to find common ground with Donaldson, whether that is trying to come to an agreement on term or make the dollar figure worth it for the 32-year-old to take less years.

One thing Donaldson made known when he spoke to reporters is that he is not concerned with his performance as he gets older. It has been an issue in free agency where teams are not willing to dish out term to older players, something Donaldson does not understand.

"“You have to look at the individual,” he said. “I don’t think you can throw all of us in one capacity as far as age is concerned. The game of baseball’s going to show you whether or not a guy’s capable of playing.”"

The Boston Red Sox showed that by handing J.D. Martinez a five-year deal worth $110 million, as reported by ESPN. There are players worth taking a chance on even if they are getting older, Donaldson has shown.

He had 33 home runs and 78 RBIs despite missing 50 games with injuries and was probably not healthy even when he was in the lineup. Sure his average dipped to .270, but he still had an impressive OPS of .944 and a slugging percentage of .559.

Even with promising prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette on their way, the Blue Jays cannot simply replace what Donaldson brings. There is no bargain to be found that the team can piece together that will have the same impact.

Now there is still an opportunity for the Blue Jays and the Bringer of Rain to try and work out a deal, but expecting progress to be made before the season begins is unlikely. Donaldson will have suitors in free agency and losing him might be the last straw for some Blue Jays fans.

Next: Marcus Stroman thinking long-term

Core players have come and gone in Toronto and as past situations involving Encarnacion and Bautista have shown, the grass is not always greener on the other side.