ESPN agrees to broadcast games of every team at least once a year in the new deal

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Just got the press release from MLB about the new ESPN rights deal. It’s mostly as reported this morning. This stood out, however:

ESPN has also made a commitment to showcase each of the 30 MLB Clubs at least once per season in a live game telecast.

This is at least a bone to fans of teams who don’t play for one of the big boys.  Of course, I presume that fans of those teams will get to see their guys playing one of the big boys in one of these guaranteed games.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ratings are what pay for these deals, and way more people will watch the Yankees play the Royals than will watch the Rays play the Royals.

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.