Blue Jays sign star Josh Donaldson to one-year, $23M deal

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Josh Donaldson

Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson rounds first base on his solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Sept. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

TORONTO — Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a US$23 million, one-year contact, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player.

The new deal gives the 2015 AL MVP a $6 million raise.

The 32-year-old three-time all-star, who was eligible for arbitration, becomes the highest paid player on the Jays.

Donaldson rebounded from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 runs batted in over 113 games. The sure-handed infielder missed time from April 14 through May 25 with a calf injury, which also hampered him during spring training.

Donaldson was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal. He is eligible for free agency after this season.

“Josh is huge component to our team and to our success — what he brings not only on the baseball field, but in the clubhouse,” Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez told reporters reporters before an event at a school in Burnaby, B.C., as part of the club’s winter tour. “Great dude to be around, great leader.”

Donaldson has a .285 batting average with 111 home runs and 300 RBIs over three seasons in Toronto.

Sanchez also avoided arbitration, signing a one-year deal worth $2.7 million.

“I let my people handle it. I wasn’t really in a lot of the talks, but definitely I’m happy.”

The Blue Jays also agreed to one-year deals with outfielder Kevin Pillar ($3.25 million), second baseman Devon Travis ($1.45 million), right-hander Dominic Leone ($1.085 million), outfielder Ezequiel Carrera ($1.9 million) and left-hander Aaron Loup ($1.8 million)

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

— With files from Joshua Clipperton in Burnaby, B.C.

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