The Runner Sports

Blue Jays Need To Make Decision On Josh Donaldson Now

The Toronto Blue Jays have no idea what they’ll be doing at the July 31 trade deadline, but they should start figuring out what to do with star third baseman Josh Donaldson.

This team is five games out of a Wild Card spot — which isn’t impossible to overcome — but it’s unlikely they’ll be a playoff team for the third consecutive year.

So the Blue Jays will likely have to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline, which means pending free agents Marco Estrada, Jose Bautista and Francisco Liriano could and should be dealt. But would that include the 2015 American League MVP?

Here’s what Jon Heyman from FanRag Sports had to say about a possible Donaldson trade to the St. Louis Cardinals:

“This one remains a long shot, as it’s hard for some to see the Jays doing something this bold..the Cardinals absolutely need a middle of the order presence (and maybe a little attitude) and the gut here tells me Donaldson would be perfect for St. Louis.”

For what it’s worth, team president Mark Shapiro admitted it’s hard to see the team being better if he trades away Donaldson.

That’s fine, but Donaldson is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season. As evidenced by the departures of David Price and Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays don’t usually pony up the big dollars to retain their core players. Donaldson is easily in line for at least $70 million in his next contract.

As it stands, the Jays are in a lose-lose situation with Donaldson for 2018. If he stays, has a great season, and sets himself up for a big payday in the winter, that could be far out of the Jays’ reach. Or they decide to trade him at the deadline, but the return is minimal for a pending free agent.

So now is the time where the Jays negotiate with Donaldson and seek his asking price. If it’s too much, then trade him at this year’s deadline — where teams will throw in a lot in return for a guy that is under team control for another season.

Or else, extend him now before his contract demands get ridiculous in a year’s time. The Blue Jays are really playing with fire as they continue to wait and see about their approach for the 2017 trade deadline and beyond.

Decide soon: Is Donaldson going to be a Blue Jay for the rest of his career? Or is he going to be in a new uniform soon? Shapiro and the front office better get moving on this in the coming weeks.

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Alex Hoegler

I'm a graduate of the journalism program at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.

I've been an avid sports fan since I was seven years of age. A lifelong follower of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Blue Jays, my passion is to deliver news through writings while building bridges with other sports fans.
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