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Donaldson expects to hit free agency after 2018


Extension talks between the Toronto Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson haven’t gained much traction, and the three-time All-Star said Monday he expects to hit the open market when his contract expires following the 2018 campaign.

“( General manager) Ross (Atkins) and I and my agent have talked and we’re just not there right now,” Donaldson told reporters, including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, on the Blue Jays’ first day of full-squad spring workouts.

Donaldson said discussions could “ramp back up” at some point, but the 32-year-old stressed that the two sides remain far apart, noting his camp and the Blue Jays “are not in the same ballpark.”

With the Grapefruit League schedule set to begin Friday and Opening Day less than six weeks away, Donaldson is focusing solely on baseball, telling a media horde in Dunedin, Fla., that he won’t be addressing his contract situation in the media from this point forward.

“I’m turning the page,” he said.

In 2017, despite missing nearly six weeks with a calf injury, Donaldson still accrued 5.0 WAR – tied for 18th-most among position players – while managing a. 944 OPS (149 wRC+) with 33 homers in 113 games. Since getting traded to Toronto three winters ago, the 2015 American League MVP has been the third-most valuable player in the majors, behind only Mike Trout and Kris Bryant.

Barring an extension with the Blue Jays, Donaldson, who will earn $23 million in 2018, will join Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Andrew McCutchen in next offseason’s star-studded free-agent class.