There was a general assumption, at the beginning of this offseason, that the Blue Jays would get involved at some point in the bidding for Prince Fielder.
But it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not likely to.
According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, Toronto is “not a serious suitor” for the 27-year-old first baseman, and his asking price would have to come “way down” for that to suddenly change.
Fielder has drawn only mild interest around the league this winter despite owning a shiny .929 career OPS and batting .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI across 692 plate appearances last season for Milwaukee.
The Nationals have emerged in recent weeks as a potential front-runner, and reportedly had a meeting with Fielder’s agent on Wednesday evening at the annual owner’s meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. But it has become quite apparent that the free agent slugger isn’t going to come close to an Albert Pujols-like deal.
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.