The free agent class of 2018-2019 is one that we’ve been hearing about for what seems like forever, featuring stars like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw. In fact, some theorize that is the main cause of this offseason’s snail-like pace. Either way, part of what makes this particular class intriguing is that it has seemed all along like none of the biggest stars would sign extensions with their current team to take them off the market. Generally speaking, at least some of the big names come off the market before it even opens. Well, although the biggest stars above are still slated to hit free agency, one of the big names slated to be available next winter could sign a new deal with his current team before the time comes. That would be Josh Donaldson, who has said he’d be “tickled pink” to stay in Toronto for the rest of his career and hasn’t wavered from that.
This is all well and good, but it begs a question. Assuming that Donaldson isn’t lying about his long-term desires, and there’s no reason to believe he would, do the Blue Jays want him to stick around for the next few years? Honestly, it’s hard to believe that answer would be anything besides a resounding yes. Although Toronto is in a tough division that should stay good for a long time, the Blue Jays have enough talent that they are only a couple moves away from competing. They surround Donaldson in the lineup with solid bats like Justin Smoak, Devon Travis, Randal Grichuk and Yangervis Solarte. They also have an intriguing young pitching staff led by Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. There is the fact they have Vlad Guerrero Jr. coming up to the majors as one of the top prospects in baseball, but it seems like a team could make room for both a top prospect and the face of the franchise.
So, if we assume that Toronto would like to keep Donaldson around, then why hasn’t a deal gotten done? Well, the most important point is that it is Jan. 21, and the two sides have seven months to go until they have to agree to a contract. That being said, Donaldson has been Toronto’s biggest star in recent memory — yes, even better than Bautista — and it isn’t exactly a magnet for star-caliber players. If he truly wants to stick around north of the border for the rest of his career, how can they say no?
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