Padres to release shortstop Jason Bartlett

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According to Jeff Sanders of the North County Times, the Padres have requested unconditional release waivers on shortstop Jason Bartlett.

The Padres signed Bartlett to a two-year, $11 million contract with an option for 2013 in December of 2010 after acquiring him from the Rays, but he ended up being quite the disappointment, batting just .245/.308/.307 with a .607 OPS last year and .133 (11-for-83) in 29 games this year prior to hitting the disabled list in mid-May with a strained right knee. He hasn’t played a game since.

Bartlett’s $5.5 million option for 2013 would have become guaranteed if he reached 432 plate appearances this year. While the Padres were fortunate that didn’t happen, they’ll still be on the hook for a $1.5 million buyout to turn the page.

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.