February 20, 2018 7:00 am

Rick Zamperin: Blue Jays won’t break the bank for Josh Donaldson

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson says he has ended contract talks with the team to focus on the upcoming season.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gail Burton
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Josh Donaldson is saying all the right things and odds are the Toronto Blue Jays slugger will do the all the right things on the field this season.

However, alarm bells should be going off for even the most naïve Jays fan after hearing that the all-star third baseman has ended talks towards signing a contract extension with Toronto and is headed for free agency this off-season.

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Donaldson told reporters covering spring training in Dunedin, Florida on Monday, that negotiations could still ramp up again, but admitted that he and the team are not in the same ballpark.

READ MORE: Blue Jays Josh Donaldson speaks out after claim he’s seeking ‘monster payday’

On the field, the good news for Toronto is the 2015 American League MVP says all of his attention and focus needs to be on this season, adding that he will no longer comment publicly on his contract status.  So, hopefully, this won’t be a distraction come opening day and beyond.

The 31-year-old Pensacola, Florida native is one of the most feared hitters in baseball.  Donaldson has averaged 31 home runs and 100 RBIs in his three seasons in Toronto.

He is also set to earn $23 million in the final year of his current contract.

READ MORE: Josh Donaldson signed by Toronto Blue Jays to 1-year deal worth $23M

That’s not chump change.  But Donaldson must be salivating at the amount of money MLB general managers will be throwing around to impending free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado after this season comes to an end.

Those two megastars are going to break the bank, thus providing Donaldson with a much more lucrative baseline for contract negotiations when free agency rolls around.

READ MORE: Josh Donaldson shares secrets from the ‘Vikings’ set

I don’t see the Blue Jays’ president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins offering Donaldson anywhere near the neighbourhood of $30 million a season, which is what it will likely take to keep him in town.  And I don’t envision Donaldson sticking around Toronto either.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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