According to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, an arbitration hearing for the Red Sox and designated hitter David Ortiz has been scheduled for Monday.
Ortiz requested a salary of $16.5 million and was offered $12.65 million by the Boston front office when arbitration numbers were exchanged in mid-January.
The two sides have not been able to find a middle ground over the past three weeks, and only have a handful of days left to do so before independent arbitrators are asked to pick one of the two figures.
Ortiz, 36, batted .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers and 96 RBI in 605 plate appearances last season. He could have chosen free agency this winter, but instead opted to accept the Red Sox’ offer of salary arbitration.
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.