Craig told us earlier this week that the Padres, Orioles and Nationals were bidding against each other for the remaining free-agent first baseman, the most prominent of which are Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche. It sounds like the pieces are starting to fall into place.
Jon Heyman of SI.com writes that now that Lee will be too expensive for the Padres now that they have signed Orlando Hudson to a two-year, $11.5 million contract and close are close to completing a deal for Jason Bartlett, who is arbitration-eligible this winter. By the way, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com hears that Lee appears to be the Nationals’ top target, so assuming the Padres are truly out of the mix here, the O’s should be able to work something out with LaRoche.
Heyman reports that the Padres are considering second-tier options like Troy Glaus, Jorge Cantu and Brad Hawpe, which sounds about right. The team needs a simple stopgap option until either Kyle Blanks returns from Tommy John surgery or the newly-acquired Anthony Rizzo is ready for the big leagues, perhaps late in 2011.
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.