Must-click link: The struggles of Shaq Thompson

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Some of you may have heard about the struggles of Shaq Thompson, who was selected by the Red Sox in the 18th round of last month’s First-Year Player Draft.

The 18-year-old outfielder put a bow on his first professional season yesterday by going 0-for-2 with a strikeout for the organization’s rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate. He will now head to the University of Washington to begin his football season, so he’ll finish his pro debut at 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts.

Thompson’s early struggles have made him a punchline in certain circles, but Alex Speier of WEEI.com has penned an excellent piece providing some greater context on his situation. Hopefully this is just a footnote on a productive career, no matter which path he chooses.

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.