Negotiations between Cole Hamels and Phillies “are heating up”

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Cole Hamels’ agent is in Florida this week and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that long-term contract negotiations with the Phillies “are heating up.”

According to Salisbury, agent John Boggs has already met with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. once and plans to do so again later this week.

Asked to describe the present status of negotiations, Boggs said:

Basically, we’re talking. It’s a process. We’ve had a conversation and we’ll continue the dialogue. Ruben and I have a very good relationship.

However, he replied “I don’t see that happening” when asked if he thought it was possible for the two sides to reach an agreement before he leaves Florida.

The good news for the Phillies is that Boggs and Hamels apparently aren’t setting any sort of deadline for talks, so unlike many other impending free agents they won’t cut off all negotiations on Opening Day. So while they won’t be giving the Phillies a hometown discount, they also won’t be trying to pressure Amaro and company into what Boggs called “a frenzy” that can be created by self-imposed deadlines.

Ultimately it’s going to take more than $100 million to keep Hamels in Philadelphia beyond this season, but it sounds like the Phillies will have every opportunity to retain him if they’re willing to make that commitment before he hits the open market next winter.

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.