At surface level, the comments made by Josh Donaldson and Ross Atkins are incongruous. On Thursday Donaldson said he expects to hit free agency after the 2018 season. On Friday, Atkins said “We feel good about the potential of him being here long-term.” So who should we believe if Donaldson says he ‘turning the page’ and Atkins says he’s optimistic? Ultimately, although Donaldson and Atkins stressed different points in their respective media availabilities, they were aligned on most key details with no appearance of awkwardness or animosity. Whether that leads to an extension is another question altogether. Both acknowledged that extension talks had taken place between the Blue Jays’ front office and Dan Lozano, Donaldson’s agent. Both said talks were open and amicable. And both said that they hope to reach a deal but prefer to focus on the team as a whole for now. “We went into (talks) thinking that we’d do everything to realize a deal,” Atkins said. “In the case of Josh Donaldson, the impact that he has had and will continue to have on a major-league roster, we felt it was important to give a solid effort and we’ll continue to do that.” The contrast appears when you look at which points they stressed. Donaldson made it clear that the sides are ‘not at the same type of area, the same ballpark.’ He said he wasn’t ‘eye to eye’ with the club when they talked parameters and, presumably, dollars. Atkins didn’t focus on those differences. He highlighted the possibility that a deal could still be reached, either before Donaldson reaches free agency, or even once he hits the open market this fall.
Donaldson contract negotiations a balancing act for Blue Jays
Sportsnet | Feb 20