The Yankees held a press conference today to introduce Masahiro Tanaka. It was the largest assemblage of media for a Yankees player introduction since Hideki Matsui came to town in 2003. But for all of the scribes and television cameras in attendance, no actual news was broken.
Indeed, Yankees pressers are pretty much a game of bingo these days. The Yankees consider nothing short of a championship to be a success [check]. The big stage of Yankees stadium is what it’s all about [check]. There is nothing as intense as Red Sox-Yankees series [check]. More talk of wanting and expecting to win championships [check]. It is interesting because, apparently, players who play for other teams do not attempt to win championships — that’s a uniquely Yankees thing. I’m not sure what they say.
He’s happy to be there. They’re happy to have him. The press doesn’t yet have an angle on him. At the moment, everyone’s happy.
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.