The Pirates haven’t had a great week, public relations-wise. First there was that whole mess with whether or not John Russell was going to be fired or whether he got an extension or whatever. Then they went and fired their racing pierogi for insubordination and caught all kinds of hell for it.
It’s always hard for an organization to admit when it erred, but the Pirates have done that, and have now re-hired the pierogi. Of course the Pirates say that the bad publicity over l’affaire pierogi had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was because “he had not been dismissed in accordance with company procedures.”
In other news, (a) the Pirates have company procedures that govern the employment conditions for guys who dress up in pierogi suits and run around the ballpark; and (b) Pirates employees should now feel a lot more comfortable about ripping their employers in the Internet.
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.