The Angels got all sorts of deserved flak for taking on $81 million of Vernon Wells’ contract in a trade with the Blue Jays last week. But they could end their offseason on a high note.
According to Mark Saxson of ESPN L.A., the Halos have opened long-term contract discussions with ace right-hander Jered Weaver.
Weaver, 28, posted a stellar 3.01 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across 34 starts last season, fanning 233 batters and walking only 54 in 224.1 innings of work. He features a strong four-pitch arsenal and looks to be entering his prime.
The Angels offered the righty a $7.365 million salary last Tuesday when arbitration figures were exchanged and Weaver’s people countered at $8.8 million. Those numbers can be thrown out if a multi-year pact is agreed upon. If it doesn’t happen, the two sides will have to either find a middle ground or they will head to an arbitration hearing and one of the two figures will be selected by a third party.
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.