Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting article about Karsten Whitson, a right-handed pitcher who was the ninth overall pick in June’s draft and turned down a $2.1 million offer to sign with the Padres in order to attend the University of Florida.
The short version is that Whitson questioned whether he was truly ready to be a professional baseball player and also wanted the college experience at Florida. The long version is much more complicated than that and definitely worth reading.
From a financial standpoint I think it’s tough to argue that Whitson didn’t make a mistake. His odds of getting more than $2.1 million when eligible to be drafted again in 2013 are significantly lower than his odds of getting less than $2.1 million, and in the meantime there’s always the risk of serious injury or poor performance that could leave him with relatively little.
From a personal standpoint it’s a lot tougher to pass judgment, particularly since–based on what he told Rogers, at least–Whitson seems very pleased with his decisions so far.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.