Link-O-Rama: Chapman, Byrnes, Pena, Pujols, Mauer

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* Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman had what agent Edwin Mejia described as “a very good visit” with the Red Sox yesterday at Fenway Park. In addition to the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of the Boston Herald lists the Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Cardinals, and Mariners as having interest in the 21-year-old free agent. Earlier this offseason Boston signed shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was teammates with Chapman in Cuba.
* Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that the Diamondbacks may be ready to part ways with Eric Byrnes two years and $19 million after handing him a misguided contract extension. Byrnes is still owed $11 million in 2010, but has gone from productive fan favorite to oft-injured whipping boy.
* Kansas City is interested in keeping Tony Pena Jr., but only if he’s willing to continue his mid-career switch to pitching. Originally a slick-fielding shortstop who was one of the worst hitters in baseball, Pena posted a 2.33 ERA and 18/6 K/BB ratio in 19 minor-league innings after moving to the mound in July.
* Today the MLB Players Association named Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer as players of the year in their respective leagues. Hopefully the Baseball Writers Association of America will follow suit when the “real” awards are announced next month.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.