The Blue Jays and star third baseman Josh Donaldson were part of history this morning, agreeing on a deal of $23 million for the 2018 season to avoid arbitration, Shi Davidi of SportsNet reports.
Yes, you just heard “$23 million” and “arbitration” in the same sentence. The payment is a MLB record in arbitration cases, eclipsing Bryce Harper’s $21.625 million. The agreement also makes Donaldson the highest paid member of the Blue Jays.
Of course, the payment is warranted given Donaldson’s production during his time in Toronto. Injuries slowed Donaldson down in 2017, limiting him to 113 games, yet the three-time All-Star still managed to smack 33 home runs and finish with a .944 OPS.
Through three seasons as a Blue Jay, Donaldson holds a ridiculous slash line of .285/.387/.559, with an OPS+ of 150. His monster 2015 season in which he slugged 41 home runs earned him the MVP award.
The Blue Jays also avoided arbitration by agreeing to one-year deals with Ezequiel Carrera and Aaron Loup on Thursday. They still have cases to settle with six other players, including Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna.