TORONTO — Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a US$23 million, one-year contact, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player.
The new deal gives the 2015 AL MVP a $6 million raise.
The 32-year-old three-time all-star, who was eligible for arbitration, becomes the highest paid player on the Jays.
Donaldson rebounded from an injury-slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season with 33 homers and 78 runs batted in over 113 games. The sure-handed infielder missed time from April 14 through May 25 with a calf injury, which also hampered him during spring training.
Donaldson was coming off a $28.65 million, two-year deal. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
"Josh is huge component to our team and(The Canadian Press) to our success — what he brings not only on the baseball field, but in the clubhouse," Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez told reporters reporters before an event at a school in Burnaby, B.C., as part of the club's winter tour. "Great dude to be around, great leader."
Donaldson has a .285 batting average with 111 home runs and 300 RBIs over three seasons in Toronto.
Sanchez also confirmed he had avoided arbitration with the club. Reports said the contract is a one-year deal worth $2.7 million.
"I let my people handle it. I wasn't really in a lot of the talks, but definitely I'm happy."
Earlier, the Jays announced they have avoided arbitration with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and left-hander Aaron Loup, signing the pair to one-year contracts for 2018.
Carrera, who hit .282 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs last season, signed for $1.9 million. Loup, who went 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 70 games, signed for $1.8.
— With files from Joshua Clipperton in Burnaby, B.C.