Blue Jays, Donaldson avoid arbitration with record $23M deal

Aubrey Yates
January 13, 2018

The Toronto Blue Jays and center fielder Kevin Pillar have agreed on a one-year deal worth $3.25 million for the upcoming 2018 season, avoiding arbitration, sources tell FanRag Sports.

Although this figure isn't particularly surprising considering Donaldson's abilities, it marks the largest arbitration agreement in the history of the league.

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The new deal surpasses the mark set by Bryce Harper who made $21.625 million previous year but while the news might seem encouraging to Blue Jays fans, it does not provide any indication of what this means about his future. The 2016 AL ERA leader was projected to earn $1.9 million in 2018 after a disappointing 2017 season and the lingering blister issues. It was reported by MLB.com's Jon Morosi last week that the Blue Jays and Donaldson were not engaged in any active long-term extension talks, so it appears that the former MVP will be allowed to hit free agency next winter.

Donaldson was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal.

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Toronto also agreed Friday to one-year deals with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera ($1.9 million) and left-hander Aaron Loup ($1,812,500).

A calf injury limited Donaldson to 113 games during the 2017 season, his fewest since bursting onto the baseball scene as one of the game's top hitters in 2013. Still, he managed to hit 33 home runs and drive in 78 runs in under 500 plate appearances.

"The fact of the matter is, I really enjoy where I am at right now", Donaldson said on the Hot Stove program Friday.

Two key parts of the Jays' pitching staff that were eligible for arbitration, closer Roberto Osuna and starter Marcus Stroman, remain unsigned.

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