Tom Verducci grounded out into a shift in a media baseball game today

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Last week Tom Verducci floated an idea that was pretty darn harebrained about possibly outlawing defensive shifts because they’re allegedly unfair to hitters. We tore that one apart pretty well and moved on. But today circumstances force us to be reminded of it. For the Boston and New York media met in a media baseball game this afternoon. And this happened:

It is my hope — and given how baseball scribes tend to operate, my full expectation — that they put the shift on against Verducci simply to taunt and annoy him. Now, if he ever raises the issue of the shift again, he can be shouted down as being motivated by personal feelings and emotions and things.

(thanks to Josh R. for the heads up)

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.