Brewers preparing offer to re-sign Craig Counsell

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General manager Doug Melvin said yesterday that the Brewers will make an effort to re-sign Craig Counsell and plan to send his agent a contract proposal during next week’s winter meetings.
Last offseason Milwaukee declined a $3.4 million option on Counsell and then re-signed him for just $1 million, but the 39-year-old is reportedly drawing significantly more interest this time around after hitting .285/.357/.408 in 130 games for his highest OPS since 2000.
Counsell has spent four of the past six seasons in Milwaukee after going to high school there and seems unlikely to land an everyday job elsewhere, so returning to the Brewers as an oft-used utility man will probably appeal to him quite a bit.
Alex Cora and the Mets seemingly set the going rate for veteran backup infielders with a one-year deal for $2 million with a vesting option for 2011, but Counsell is a better defender and significantly better hitter. Barring a multi-year deal, something like $3 million seems about right.

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.