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Josh Donaldson Would Be “Tickled Pink” If Him and Jays Could Work Out A Long Term Deal

There haven’t been many things to cheer about this season, but this tidbit from Josh Donaldson prior to the Blue Jays’ final game is certainly something.

Donaldson told reporters that he wants to remain a Blue Jay for a long time and that he would be “tickled pink” if him and the front office could work something out. He knows that each sides have prerogatives and that this is out of his control.

Holy fuck, sign this guy already. Josh Donaldson is likely the best position player in Blue Jays history, and if he ends up signing a deal that keeps him around for a few more seasons, he’ll very likely go down as the best Blue Jay of all time.

But he turns 32 years old in December, meaning he’ll be 33 going into his first free agent season in 2019. With the crash and bang gritty style that Donaldson plays, there’s obviously some inherent risk to signing him to a long-term deal at this age. This year, we saw what a broken down Donaldson could look like. But we were also reminded just how damn good he is. Despite missing a month of action, the Bringer of Rain clubbed 33 homers and, for a short while there, had the Jays to within three games back of a wild card spot.

A comparable player to Donaldson at this stage in his career, as Keegan matheson points out, would be Adrian Beltre, a guy who’s been a rock for the Texas Rangers into his late-30s. If all things go well for the Jays on a hypothetical Donaldson extension, Beltre would be the path he follows.

Of course, nothing is that predictable. Who knows whether Donaldson will continue to be an MVP-calibre player for five more years? But barring a major injury, Josh Donaldson will make the Blue Jays better in 2018 and 2019. There isn’t very much doubt about that.

If he starts to decline after that, it’s likely been enough time to bridge the gap to Bo and Vlad, which represents the new wave of talent that could lead this team. By then, also, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin’s combined $40 million salary becomes a much more manageable $14 million owed to the former. The Jays have an opportunity to build for the future all while still being competitive and having Josh Donaldson around is a key part of that.

Yeah, I’m getting ahead of myself here. But Josh Donaldson is a Blue Jay. And he wants to continue to be a Blue Jay. Rogers, Shapiro, Atkins, and the front office need to find a way to make this work. I understand the appeal to dealing a Donaldson calibre player for a king’s ransom, but I would much rather have a boat than a mystery box that could be a boat.

  • Matty

    Of course he would be tickled pink if the jays offered 120MM. Except they’re not going to. If he agrees to a Beltre eske contract, sure he could be a Jay longterm but he’s going to have to settle a little bit for that to happen.

    Where else can Vlady play? LF maybe but 3B fits him best. Blocking a legit blue chip prospect with a 33 year old doesn’t make sense.

    • Abogilo

      I think Cam illustrates just how much sense blocking Vlady with Donaldson makes in one half sentence:

      “I would much rather have a boat than a mystery box that could be a boat.”

      I am excited for the VladBo era too, but Vladdy is not Josh Donaldson. He may be one day, but until he is you make room for Donaldson.

    • dolsh

      Vlad final position won’t be third. So it’ll be ok.

      I wonder what it would take? 5/125M? If they were willing to go 4/80 on Edwin, 5/125 should be a no-brainer. The only question is whether he thinks he’ll get 30M a year at 33…

      • The Humungus

        It’s good you know where Vlad’s going to play. You should call up Gil Kim and let him know. He seems to think that there’s a possibility that Vlad will play third, given that he’s 18 and never played one position full-time until 2016.

        • Barry

          There’s no way in hell the Jays worry about “blocking Vlad” when deciding whether to extend Donaldson. The Jays may trade Donaldson, but it won’t be because they think they have nowhere to put Vlad. Vlad’s a year away from even being considered for the starting lineup. At least. And he’s never played above single-A, so let’s not assume a rapid rise through the minors until he’s played AA, which is a significant jump.

          And let’s also not assume that the only option for Vlad Jr. is 3B. While that’s the only position he’s played so far, his long-term position might be 1B, so he might see some action there in 2018. He also might see some time in LF. The odds of either of those things happening increase if the Jays extend Donaldson.

          But you sure as hell don’t say, “We’d better trade Donaldson because we’ve got a kid in single-A who is going to be way better and can only ever play 3B.”

          • Matty

            Who’s saying trade Donaldson because Vlady is better? I’ve never heard anyone say that.

            Offering or not offering 150MM is not the same as trading him. It’s the paying a 33yo 150MM that people can’t see happening from this head office. The decision is further complicated by Vlady plain and simple

          • Glassman

            I don’t think the plan gets complicated at all by Vlad. You can always move Donaldson to first or DH, or Vlad moves to first or OF or DH (Ideally not DH for either of them). The idea is building the best ball club for the long haul and the more players you have that are MVP caliber the better. You can always make room for both.
            Also, never discount the possibility of a prospect not making it. Happens all the time, especially in baseball. All it could take is an injury. Sometimes it’s just how a player reacts to adversity when they have never faced it before.
            Either way, sign Donaldson and hope we have this log jam at 3rd and have to move somebody off position because they are both so damn good.

    • The Humungus

      The Beltre deal, with inflation, is 6yrs, $140M.

      I think if you offer that to a guy who will be, at best, the third most desired free agent in his class (and maybe as low as 5th depending on Kershaw’s opt-out and if Britton bounces back), regardless of how goddamned good he is, he’s going to at least think about it. I mean, it’s a deal on par with a same-age Hall of Famer.

  • Mule or etc...

    Meanwhile, around the league, other potential free agents are telling the press they’d be horrified if their club offered them an extension adding, “I’m doing my best to limit my options and ruin any competition for my services while suggesting to other clubs I might have character issues. It just seems like the smart thing to do.”

    • Barry

      Yeah, this is a good point. I’m a little surprised about the way some media and fans are acting as if this is actual news. What the hell was he going to say? He said exactly what I would have said even if I fully intended to test free agency. It was a pretty standard response, frankly.

      • JK

        He said the same thing Price said when he was a FA. He says the same thing every pending FA says who doesn’t have known/obvious reasons to want to get out of Dodge. He would be happy if his current team offered him a contract similar to what he can expect to receive on the open market. If that happened, he would strongly consider signing such a contract and would be happy that his current team is the one that offered it.

        If another team offers him much more money, he will sign that contract, as he should. Complete non-story.