Coming off of his worst year since joining Toronto in 2015, Josh Donaldson has been included in a vast amount of trade rumors this offseason. The former MVP has only one season left on his contract, and there has been great speculation on whether the Blue Jays will extend his contract. There has yet to be even a mention of formal negotiations occurring between Donaldson and the organization. The question that all of baseball is wondering remains. Will the Blue Jays organization offer Donaldson a contract extension during the offseason of 2017?
Toronto needs to extend him if the team has any true aspirations of winning for the next three-to-four seasons. Here’s why:Embed from Getty Images
Since the move to the Jays in 2015, Donaldson has been their best and most productive hitter. In those three seasons, he has combined for 111 HR, 300 RBI, and a batting average of .284. Alone, he has contributed just about 14% of the team’s RBI’s and 17% of the home runs hit. Needless to say, Donaldson is the offensive catalyst of this club. When healthy, he can carry a team the entire season. Even though he missed just under 50 games this past season, “The Bringer of Rain” batted an impressive .302 with 22 HR and 47 RBI’s in the last two months of the season, desperately trying to make up for time lost. He also posted a 4.83 WAR statistic, clearly establishing that he was needed on a team who underachieved so greatly this past season. When out of the lineup, Toronto was pathetic. This team needs Donaldson’s productive bat to become a solidified winner once again.
Donaldson also shines on the defensive side of things with not only the fundamental plays, but also with an array of spectacular diving stops and throws that will leave you with your jaw smacking the floor. Over the course of 2017, he was solid even while not being 100 percent healthy. Ever since “JD” made the move from behind the dish to the hot corner in 2012, he has been one of the premier defenders at his position. The scary part is that he’s only getting better as the years go on.
You simply cannot quantify what a player can bring to a team’s morale. Donaldson brings more than just a powerful bat and a phenomenal glove. He is the personified grit and toughness that this team needs to be successful. Comparable to a free safety, Donaldson gives his body up every single game and plays with reckless abandon.
With Jose Bautista’s exit from Toronto, this team is yearning for consistent veteran leadership and production, and Donaldson has proven to be the one guy that this team can count on down the stretch of the regular season. His swagger speaks volumes, while his competitive fire is so transcendent that his teammates feed off of it game after game. Simply put, Donaldson is one of those guys who you simply hate to play against, but would love to have in your clubhouse.
Josh Donaldson has quickly become the face of the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization, as he is adored across the nation of Canada. Everywhere you turn, you either see the Donaldson jersey, the Donaldson haircut, or even both while in the city. While the front office of the Jays continue to let time pass without approaching the 2015 AL MVP with a contract extension, fans are getting worried. Trading Donaldson could provide the defining evidence suggesting a total rebuild. Letting the fate of his future in Toronto be dangled in front of his face could generate turmoil among the front office and within the clubhouse. Everyone knows that baseball is a mental game. Playing with a clear mind offers the best possible chance for a high level of production, and the thoughts of moving his entire life to another site would most likely weigh heavy on his mind.
This is simply the wrong move if the Blue Jays are still striving to grow their fan base while staying competitive. If they want to extend his contract, they need to do it in the near future. If he is moved, the fanbase would be devastated. Donaldson has undoubtedly been the deciding factor in the revival of the franchise. For the Jays to simply ship him away or not offer him the contract he deserves, it would be treasonous and unloyal, ESPECIALLY after he has said he would be “tickled pink” to be a Blue Jay for the rest of his career.
The Blue Jays should make “The Bringer of Rain” an offer he can’t refuse. He has contributed plays and memories that will live on in Blue Jays history forever, and for him to pack his bags and head to another team would be utterly devastating to the franchise and its fanbase.