Rangers promote top 1B prospect Justin Smoak

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smoak batting.JPGMLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have promoted first base prospect Justin Smoak (pictured right) from Triple-A Oklahoma City and demoted struggling first baseman Chris Davis in a corresponding move.

Smoak will take over starting first base duties for the Rangers and could hang onto the gig for a long while if he performs as expected.  The 23-year-old was off to a superb start at Triple-A this year, with a .326/.500/.587 batting line and two home runs over 62 plate appearances.  He has serious, serious upside and Rangers fans have been clamoring for his promotion for at least the last two weeks.

Davis, 24, had been batting just .188 with a 556 OPS in 48 at-bats.  He may need to find another organization in order to continue his major league career, but will first need to prove his worth with a nice stretch of production for Oklahoma City.

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.