Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that Chone Figgins is no longer going to be an everyday player. His new role: utility guy off the bench. The new third baseman/basemen: Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi. The new leadoff hitter: Dustin Ackley. Done and done.
This is something that had to happen. Figgins has hit .231/.304/.287 in 267 games since signing a four-year, $36 million deal with the M’s before the 2010 season.
Ackley has just a .291 OBP so far this year, so he needs to turn it around for the leadoff spot to get righted before the move pays real dividends. It’s likely he will, however. Seager (.788 OPS) and Liddi (.809), however, have hit well when they’ve had the chance this year.
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.