Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

There may not have been any formal extension negotiations between the Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson, but that doesn’t mean the Jays are neglecting exploring the possibility internally. To the contrary, GM Ross Atkins said at a recent PitchTalks event that the Blue Jays have placed their own valuation on Donaldson and suggested that the team has a good idea of how far it’d go in an effort to extend the former AL MVP (subscription link via The Athletic’s John Lott).

“We do have that number,” said Atkins during his presentation. “We have come up with a clear walkaway that we would be willing to commit to him to extend (the contract) for him to remain a Blue Jay probably for the rest of his career.”

Unsurprisingly, Atkins didn’t delve into the specifics of what that number would entail. Donaldson said recently that to his knowledge, the Blue Jays hadn’t engaged his agents at MVP Sports in extension talks, though one can imagine that the team will explore that possibility in the coming weeks once spring training gets underway. That’s typically the timeframe for players and clubs to negotiate extensions, though Donaldson could be one of the tougher players to pry away from free agency.

The 32-year-old got off to a slow start in 2017 but finished with an absurd .302/.410/.698 slash and 22 homers over his final 227 plate appearances, and he’s been on the short list of the AL’s best players for the past half decade. While Donaldson will hit the open market at an older age than most premier free agents, he’s still be primed for a massive contract in free agency, assuming a typically excellent year at the plate and in the field.

On a related note, Atkins also addressed the excruciatingly slow free-agent market, noting that teams appear to be less inclined than ever to push past their comfort levels to win the bidding on a player, calling it “good business to walk away and not [exceed] your value.” Atkins also touched on the fact that free agency tends to reward older players, noting that the “aging curve has been potentially overcompensated in the past.” 

Atkins did note that the Jays value experience (their signing of Curtis Granderson certainly seems to back that up). While other teams throughout the league surely do as well, it does seem as though the dollar amount associated with that value has declined in precipitous fashion.

How highly the Jays value the experience of Donaldson (financially speaking, that is) and how they’ll proceed with him will continue to be pressing topics in Toronto for the next six months or more. If no long-term pact is worked out this spring, the question will shift from one of signing Donaldson long term to one of whether the Jays should trade the well-rounded slugger this summer.

Should the team finds itself buried in the AL East, that’ll be a fairly easy question, but if not, the Jays could face the unenviable task of balancing the short-term benefit of chasing down a Wild Card spot with the long-term benefit of bolstering their farm system with a franchise-altering trade of their best player. The Jays would have the option of making a qualifying offer to Donaldson and recouping some value in the 2019 draft, of course, but they’d almost certainly be able to top that value on the summer trade market.

Blue Jays News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Anfernee McLemore shares positive news after horrific injury

Jets could offer Kirk Cousins fully guaranteed contract

Roger Federer cracks funny joke after reaching No. 1 ranking

LeBron James responds to Laura Ingraham’s jab on Instagram

Czech skier Ester Ledecka gets shoutout from Katie Ledecky after surprise gold

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dwyane Wade instigated Kevin Love drama with Cavaliers?

Kyrie Irving leaves open possibility of playing with LeBron James again

Rockets owner: Luxury tax no issue if competing for titles

Lindsey Vonn dedicates race to late grandfather

Washington letting 'pettiness' dictate Kirk Cousins situation

Marlins’ Dan Straily ‘glad’ critical stars were traded

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

Big surprises, disappointments heading into NBA All-Star break

Signing A.J. McCarron would be a typical Browns move

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

The greatest barrier-breaking African-American moments in MLB history

Fixing the NFL catch rule: No more 'surviving the ground'

Best Winter Olympic athlete from every state

Blue Jays News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

The 'Hope springs eternal' quiz

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

The 'My Bronny valentine' quiz

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

The '100-point game that you never heard about' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker