Former first-round pick and one-time top prospect Josh Fields has signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies.
Once upon a time Fields was the White Sox’s third baseman of the future, but after smacking 23 homers in 100 games as a rookie in 2007 he hit just .228 with 10 homers and a .649 OPS in his next 106 games.
Fields is 29 years old now and spent last season at Triple-A in the Dodgers’ farm system, hitting .288 with 13 homers and an .880 OPS in 133 games. Those numbers look solid, but they’re not very impressive for a non-prospect playing in the extremely hitter-friendly environment in Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League.
Fields has experience in the corner infield and corner outfield spots, so he’ll compete for a bench gig during spring training.
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.