Bryce Harper not included in Nationals’ first round of cuts

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Today the Nationals made their first batch of spring training cuts and somewhat surprisingly 18-year-old Bryce Harper was not among the 11 players reassigned to the team’s minor-league camp.

That won’t impact his status for this year–Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com writes that he “has no realistic shot of making the Opening Day roster”–but it does show that he looks like he belongs in big-league camp and the Nationals’ coaching staff wants to get some more looks at the No. 1 overall pick.

Harper has yet to start a spring training game and struck out twice on just seven total pitches in his debut, but he’s 6-for-14 with three doubles since then and has also gotten some positive reviews for his outfield defense. He’s expected to officially begin his pro career at Single-A.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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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.