Yankees find their platoon bat in Marcus Thames

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For much of the offseason the assumption has been that the Yankees would sign a right-handed bat to platoon with Brett Gardner or Randy Winn in left field, and now SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that they’ve found their man in Marcus Thames.
Thames actually came up through the Yankees’ farm system after being a 30th-round pick in 1996, but New York traded him to Texas for Ruben Sierra in mid-2003 and then Detroit signed him off the scrap heap a short time later.
He’s spent the past six seasons as a part-time player for the Tigers, getting around 350 plate appearances per year against primarily left-handed pitching. Thames has elite raw power, averaging 33 homers per 500 at-bats, but has hit just .234 with an ugly .291 on-base percentage against right-handers during his career.
However, the Yankees have plenty of left-handed bats to plug into the lineup against righties and will simply need Thames to knock around left-handed pitching, which he’s done to the tune of .256/.329/.516. Right now it looks like Winn and Gardner will compete for the left field job, with the winner forming a platoon with the 32-year-old Thames and the loser serving as fourth outfielder.

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.