With concerns about his surgically repaired shoulder likely limiting the potential trade market and two catchers ahead of him on the depth chart, the Nationals sent Jesus Flores to the minors today.
Flores was once the Nationals’ catcher of the future, but suffered a shoulder injury after getting off to a great start in 2009 and hasn’t played since, as the Nationals signed Ivan Rodriguez to be their short-term starter behind the plate and traded for Wilson Ramos to be their new catcher of the future.
Flores is still just 26 years old and showed a lot of promise before the injury, so if he can stay in the lineup at Triple-A, prove that his arm strength is back, and put together a couple good months there should be quite a bit of trade interest as the July 31 deadline approaches.
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.