Report: Blue Jays and Donaldson avoid arbitration to sign record-breaking contract

Jan 13 2018, 1:46 am

Josh Donaldson is the Toronto Blue Jays’ best player, and on Friday he got paid like it.

Multiple reports confirm that Donaldson has signed a one-year contract worth $23 millionĀ to remain with the team.

The deal breaks an MLB record for the largest annual salary for an arbitration-eligible player – surpassing the $21.625 million contract Bryce Harper signed with Washington.

Donaldson and the team had until the 1 pm ET deadline to reach a deal before arbitration rules began to take place.Ā The deal pushes the Pensacola, Florida native above Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin as the highest-paid players on the Blue Jays.

The 2015 AL MVP had a slow start to last season – in part due to injuries – but rebounded nicely down the stretch. Donaldson finished the year with a .270 batting average, 33 home runs, 78 RBIs, and a .385 on-base percentage.

Given that it’s expected to be a rough year for the Blue Jays, who need to get younger, there had been rumblings about Toronto trading the 32-year-old. The St Louis Cardinals are reportedly interested in his services, but GM Ross Atkins has been reluctant to trigger a full-scale rebuild.

In other news, the Jays have announced that they have also avoided arbitration with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera ($1.9 million) and pitcher Aaron Loup ($1.8125 million). They’ve also reportedly avoided arbitration with second baseman Devon Travis ($1.45 million).

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