This is fun. Video from MLB Productions of the 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers at spring training. Mostly Leo Durocher jawing at his third baseman during fungo drills. He refers to the guy as “Nick.” Could be a nickname, but there was no third baseman named Nick on the ’45 Dodgers. Or the ’44 Dodgers for that matter. My guess: a tomato can wartime fill-in who didn’t make the club.
Also: note the bare trees in the outfield. This isn’t Florida. It’s Bear Mountain, New York. In 1945 wartime travel restrictions were still on, so teams trained near home. Now imagine catching a ball or hitting in March weather in the Hudson Valley.
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.