Earlier today, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported that despite previous reports to the contrary, the Blue Jays did indeed make an extension offer to Josh Donaldson back in Spring Training — one that would have been worth more than Jake Arrieta’s three-year, $75MM free-agent deal with the Phillies. Per that report:
“[W]ord is the Jays extended an offer for more than the three-year, $75 million deal the Phillies gave to free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, another major star older than 30. … However, word is that after Donaldson initially seemed willing to continue talks, bringing brief hope for a deal, ultimately his camp suggested a figure range that put the sides far apart enough that talks discontinued.”
Donaldson’s agent, Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group, took the extraordinarily rare measure of issuing an on-record statement disputing the report and questioning the motives behind it:
“Just as in February, when Jon Heyman mis-reported information ’according to friends’ of Josh Donaldson, he once again is incorrect regarding contract negotiations between Josh and the Blue Jays. The fact is that the team never extended an offer to Josh, no years or dollars were ever specifically discussed, and it’s unfair to Josh for someone to repeatedly misrepresent his business affairs citing their ’beliefs.’ This is not the first time Jon has been reckless in his reporting about an MVP Sports Group client, and I believe it’s clear his motivations have less to do with the truth than they do with his other agenda.”
Some may speculate on the possibility of semantics being utilized to downplay the reported talks here, but this type of statement from an agency — at least made in such a public, on-record manner — is rarely, if ever seen. The previous report alluded to in today’s statement from Lozano is in reference to a February report on Donaldson’s asking price in extension talks which cited “friends” of Donaldson. Donaldson felt strongly enough about the report to dispute the matter directly on Twitter.
Today’s drama aside, it’s been a nightmare of a season for Donaldson, who was recently traded to the Indians in exchange for a player to be named later — widely reported to be righty Julian Merryweather — despite the fact that he hasn’t played a game since late May due to a calf injury. Shoulder problems also shelved Donaldson early in the season and impacted his ability to throw across the diamond even when he was on the field. The earning power that Donaldson once had, when he was viewed as a potential candidate for a nine-figure contract, has largely dried up as a result. While he’ll still undoubtedly find plenty of interest this offseason, the question of whether he’ll even receive multi-year offers is up for debate. Of course, none of that was known when contract negotiations — such as they were — took place before the start of the season.