Blue Jays to put Josh Donaldson on waivers, reportedly “want him gone”

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Blue Jays are planning to place Josh Donaldson on revocable trade waivers Thursday because “they want [him] gone.”

It’s nothing personal, of course. Rosenthal says they simply do not want to have to decide whether or not to give the former AL MVP a qualifying offer this fall when he hits free agency. Because, heck, he might take it given how lost a 2018 season he has had. Donaldson has not appeared in a major-league game since May 28 due to a left-calf injury, cratering his trade value to the Jays and putting in question what kind of a deal he could get as a free agent. Ideally, if you’re the Blue Jays, you want to give him a qualifying offer in order to get the draft pick and thank him for his service as he signs elsewhere rather than pay him $18 million or whatever it will be for him to play on a rebuilding team in 2019.

Donaldson is now playing rehab games and, barring any setbacks, will soon be ready for big league play again. Given the Jays’ desire to unload him it would not be at all shocking to see someone make a claim on him via waivers or, in the event he clears waivers, to see many teams try to acquire him via a trade. It would be expensive if they did so — Donaldson is owed about $4 million for the remainder of the season — but if he’s healthy he could prove to be a useful bat down the stretch.

Donaldson, who turns 33 in December, has only hit .234/.333/.423 in limited action this year, but over the previous three years with the Jays he hit .285/.387/.559 while averaging 37 homers and 100 RBI, along with winning that MVP Award.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.