Aaron Cook will talk to the Padres and Reds in free agency

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Aaron Cook is a free agent now that the Rockies have declined their $11 million option on him for 2012.  And like a lot of recently-injured or ineffective starting pitchers, he said that he’d talk to the San Diego Padres.  You know the pattern by now: it’s a big, pitcher-friendly park and it’s a great place for a one-year prove-yourself contract. The only downside: you don’t get to face the Padres offense several times a year.  Still get the Giants, but no Padres.

But Cook told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he’d talk to another team too:  the Cincinnati Reds.  Not exactly an obvious choice given that they play in a bandbox, but as Armstrong notes, Cook has always pitched well in Great American Ballpark.

But let’s also be realistic: he’s pitched six games in that joint. Six.  While, sure, he’s only pitched 11 in Petco Park, at least his results match up roughly with what a lot of pitchers do there (i.e. pitch better).  Is he really confident that he’d continue to buck the trend of pitchers getting blown up on Cincinnati?

Call the Reds once and see what they’d do for you, Aaron.  But go see the Padres in person.  You may find your efforts in that direction more richly rewarded, at least in the long term.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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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.