Dodgers leaning toward television deal with Time Warner

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We heard two weeks ago that the Dodgers were “50-50” about whether to keep their television broadcasts on Fox Sports or move them to Time Warner Cable starting in 2014, but it appears they are moving closer to a decision.

While FOX Sports was once considered the heavy favorite, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times hears that the Dodgers are now leaning toward accepting a deal with Time Warner Cable. No final decision has been made, as the club hasn’t reached an agreement with MLB on how the structure of a deal will impact their contribution to revenue sharing.

It’s believed that the Dodgers will sign the largest television contract in baseball history, perhaps as much as $7 billion. The team discussed a new deal with Fox in the fall which was rumored to be worth at least $6 billion over 25 years, but Time Warner jumped in after Fox’s exclusive negotiating window expired.

At issue right now is whether the Dodgers will contribute closer to $1 billion or $2 billion to revenue sharing. Dodgers chairman Mark Walter and MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred discussed the situation at the owners’ meetings in Arizona last week, but it’s not clear whether any progress was made.

 

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.