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Photo Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Donaldson’s agent declines the report that former MVP was offered extension by the Blue Jays

The Josh Donaldson saga continues! According to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays did, despite some belief of the contrary, in fact offer the former MVP a contract extension.

This is interesting, of course, because Donaldson had a little bit of a spat on Twitter with Heyman over a report that indicated he was shooting for a monster payday. Heyman’s source in this story was an odd one, as he cited Donaldson’s friends suggesting he was possibly shooting too high in his ask. Anyways, the crux of this back-and-forth ultimately resulted in Donaldson saying he hadn’t yet received a contract offer from the Blue Jays.

And here we are today with a new report from Heyman that stirs a pot that hasn’t stopped boiling since Donaldson was dealt to Cleveland last week…

Contrary to some suggestions out there that they never talked numbers or made an offer, word is the Jays extended an offer for more than the three-year, $75 million deal the Phillies gave to free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, another major star older than 30. The belief is they were flexible to go at least a bit higher.

But what really surprised Jays people — who initially heard Donaldson wanted to go to a contender — was how Donaldson didn’t seem interested in facilitating a trade after originally saying he wanted to go to a contender. It isn’t known how word got out that Donaldson didn’t want to go anywhere, but to Toronto’s detriment, it did. A couple team executives on the night of the deadline expressed the belief to Fancred that they shouldn’t give up much for Donaldson if he didn’t want to go.

There are a few things going on here. First and foremost, it appears that the Jays did, in fact, offer something to Donaldson. Obviously at the time a three-year deal worth something around the $75 million Jake Arrieta received probably seemed like a low-ball at the time given how good Donaldson was down the stretch when he was healthy. But now, given his completely-derailed season and the ultimate concern over his future, it looks like a good thing that it didn’t happen.

The other interesting note is about how Donaldson didn’t seem to want to leave. I’m having a difficult time with this one. I do believe that Donaldson wanted to stay. It goes in line with the general idea that he would have accepted the qualifying offer had the Jays opted to give it to him and what he explicitly said after last season. That said, I’m not sure I buy that Donaldson wanting to remain a Blue Jay really had that much of an impact on his value in a trade. I mean, ultimately, this guy watched his value plummet and his payday completely implode over the past few months and a big playoff run could likely go a long way in restoring some of his his value. Teams were wary because he isn’t physically at 100 per cent. To suggest teams were like “uhhh idk man” because he wanted to play for the Jays seems a little silly.

So, like I said, there are a couple things to take in here. I think it’s ultimately a good thing the Jays and Donaldson didn’t reach an extension prior to the season. I think we can all agree there. This is much like the Jose Bautista situation in which the front office avoided giving the franchise icon a massive extension and it worked out in their favour because he fell off a cliff after the 2016 season. We don’t yet know if Donaldson is going to suffer a similar fate, but I don’t think any of us would want the team to hand out three years at $75 million to Donaldson right now.

I’m not here to toss on hindsight goggles and say the Jays should have dealt Donaldson last winter. They made a calculated risk and it backfired. I, like many others, was in favour of them taking a legitimate stab at wild card contention in 2018 and Donaldson’s massive finish to the 2018 season made it seem possible. That said, given the fact Donaldson did, in fact, want to remain a Blue Jay, it continues to be aggravating that the organization didn’t believe the qualifying offer was an option. Beyond the pure emotion of wanting Donaldson around because he genuinely wanted to be here, $18 million isn’t a hell of a lot to invest in a player with the upside that Donaldson has. Again, maybe it’s just my blood boiling because a former MVP and franchise legend is stating a desire to stick around, but I have a tough time accepting Julian Merryweather being too good to pass up and Brandon Drury needing a roster spot as the reason Donaldson isn’t a Blue Jay.

I don’t know. The Donaldson situation is a messy one. It’s something we’re going to be talking about for quite some time, I think.

UPDATE:

More fuel to this fire! According to Donaldson’s agent, there was, in fact, no extension offer.

Hmmm. That last line of the quote is certainly something. What Dan Lozano is likely referencing here is Heyman’s past relationship with Scott Boras. Heyman in the past has been criticized for being a mouthpiece for Boras. In the off-season this year, Heyman reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks were willing to give up a certain amount of cash to re-sign J.D. Martinez in what was speculated as a ploy to drive up Martinez’s ask (given that he’s a Boas client) from the Boston Red Sox. This isn’t the only instance of that happening.

But, uh, also, what else is the agent going to say? “Ha ha yeah guys I told my fuckin client with a history of calf injuries to turn down this lucrative offer and now he’s gonna cash in like one-tenth of that whoops!” I mean, really.

Now, is Heyman fabricating something here, or did he have a faulty source? What motivation would there be for doing that? I don’t know. I’m not the best at speculating this kind of thing. What I do take out of this, though, is the same as before. I imagine the Jays wanted to keep Donaldson around prior to the season but only at a modest price, I figure that offer was declined, and I’m disappointed the team wasn’t willing to take a risk on him at the very cheap one-year price.

  • The Humungus

    Neither the Blue Jays nor Donaldson are represented by Scott Boras, so I’ll give Heyman the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    That said, WTF was JD thinking?!

  • yronnen

    Sounds like JD didn’t want the contract and chose to try his luck with a contender, but after he saw his value plummeting he sought a QO from the Jays…

  • McNamee’s Beer Can

    Looks like the Jays dodged a couple bullets with JD, Joey Bats and, to an extent, EE. Those contracts, along with Martin and Tulo would have severely hamstrung them, financially.

    • El Cabeza

      So your crystal ball shows you that JD’s career has fallen off a cliff and he won’t be any good again if he gets these injuries behind him. Cool. Mind lending it to Atkins and Shapiro?

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    Pretty strange noise from Camp JD, and completely the opposite of what JD said back in February. http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/22512642/josh-donaldson-expects-become-free-agent-not-eye-eye-toronto-blue-jays-contact-talks

    This is from February.

    “Donaldson told reporters Monday that he and the Blue Jays “are not quite there” in terms of the framework of a deal and said he wants to focus on the upcoming season.

    “We’ve had conversations about it, and I just think that we are not quite there,” the former American League MVP said. “Not quite there meaning there’s not a deal done and we’re just not there. We’re not in the same type of area, the same ballpark, to make a discussion to moving forward.

    “What has led up to right now, I don’t personally believe is going to be what the market is next year, per se,” he said. “You’re going to have a very good free-agent class. We’ll see what happens, but as of right now, our camp and I — we have our views, and it hasn’t shifted.””

    Now Camp JD is saying that nothing was discussed? Obvious bullshit. He came in high and “never shifted” in his own words, despite last offseason’s market for FA’s. Bye Josh. He broke off negotiations which he now says never took place? Bye Josh.

  • El Cabeza

    Before this latest Heyman/Lozano spat JD has been quoted himself as saying the Jays didn’t make an offer.

    So why would anyone believe Heyman here? Maybe he’s not a Boras puppet, and he’s just reporting what the Jays leaked to him to make them look better? I mean, they certainly have something to gain by framing the JD situation a little more in their favour, don’t you think?