Rays sign reliever Mark Lowe to minor league contract

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The Rays have their latest reclamation project, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the club has signed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Lowe, 30, posted a 9.26 ERA over 11 appearances with the Angels this season before he was given his release his June. He latched on with the Nationals from there, but pitched exclusively with Triple-A Syracuse before he opted out of his contract after being passed over for a September call-up.

Lowe compiled a 3.60 ERA over 177 appearances between the Mariners and Rangers from 2009-2012, so there’s rebound potential here. The Rays have earned the benefit of the doubt at this point, so it would probably be more surprising if he didn’t end up being a contributor in 2014.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.