Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Braves and Dan Uggla have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a five-year, $62 million contract.
Some thought Uggla may have been pushing his luck when he turned down a four-year, $48 million extension from the Marlins in November, leading to a trade to the Braves. But you see, it was a different time back then. Fortunately for him, the subsequent months have worked in his favor. Sure, Uggla turns 31 years old in March and is still a defensive liability at second base, but this contract doesn’t look so nutty anymore.
According to Rosenthal, Uggla will now have the highest average annual salary ever ($12.4 million) for a second baseman. While Chase Utley signed a seven-year, $85 million contract with the Phillies before the 2007 season, his annual salary checks in at just over $12.1 million.
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.