Looking forward to the 2018-2019 free agent market, current Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson will be an interesting player to watch to see how much his next contract will be worth.
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It seems that every day Donaldson’s market value decreases. He is currently on the Disabled List with a shoulder injury. While fighting through the pain, it was hard to watch him throw to third base as he looked like a middle school kid aiming the ball to throw to first. Many fans of the sport seem to think that pitchers are the only ones who can suffer with arm injuries related to throwing, however they are wrong. We see more catchers nowadays getting Tommy John surgery and I have personally felt pain in my arm (a while ago) from playing third base earlier in my life.
One of the staples of Donaldson’s game is his stellar, highly respected defense. If he is relegated to first base/designated hitter duties after only his age 32 season; that will be troublesome for any suitors this off-season. He will be the best third baseman available this off-season if current Oriole Manny Machado is serious about only considering teams that will sign him to be a shortstop. However, if Machado is open to a return to the hot corner, then Donaldson will be pushed to second-best and his earning power will decrease.
Following last year’s productive yet injury-prone season, the 2015 AL MVP needs to show teams that he can be durable because he will want at least a 5-year deal and as we saw this off-season, teams are extremely (and smartly) reluctant to hand out large contracts to players who are past their prime. His start to the 2018 season have only increased concerns about his age and production with a sluggish .239/.352/.457 batting line albeit through 12 games. An injury-plagued down year could cost him an estimate of 2 years and $40-50 million off of his next contract.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons reported that Donaldson told him his shoulder “feels great” after throwing last Thursday, but that he still needed more time to heal.