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Blue Jays far apart from Donaldson and Valencia in arbitration filings

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Not the best start to the Josh Donaldson era in Toronto.
Not the best start to the Josh Donaldson era in Toronto.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

It appears a certainty that the Blue Jays will be going to arbitration for the first time since 1997 as they are quite far apart from Josh Donaldson and Danny Valencia in their arbitration filings. While the team did avoid the process with Brett Cecil and Marco Estrada, it seems that the front office will go through the difficult exercise of proving why their players aren't worth as much as they think they are.

In the case of Donaldson, the Blue Jays filed at $4.3 million while the third baseman countered with a $5.75 million proposal. This is obviously an extreme gap that would be difficult to narrow through simple negotiations, meaning that before Donaldson even puts on a Blue Jays jersey he (and his representatives) will be forced to argue his worth.

Recall that the arbitrator chooses one number or the other making the result of this process quite impactful on the 2015 payroll and beyond. With Donaldson being a super two player, if his first year of arbitration eligibility nets him a $5.75 million pay check then things will get very expensive in a few years as he approaches free agency. On MLBTR it was predicted that Donaldson would receive $4.5 million in 2015, which is clearly much closer to the Blue Jays number.

Jon Heyman had the Donaldson arbitration filings:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>josh donaldson submitted $5.75M request, jays submitted $4.3M</p>&mdash; Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/556211240427470848">January 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The second Blue Jays player likely going to arbitration is Danny Valencia, reportedly with a smaller gap between the two parties than what Donaldson faces. The team filed at $1.250 million while the player filed at $1.675 million, making the difference still not insignificant considering the relative size of the salary. With Valencia contending for the final spot on the roster this outcome will also be important for the team going forward. It's unlikely that the front office will want to try and work out a multi-year extension with the fringe infielder, making it almost a guarantee that the two sides end up in arbitration. It was predicted at MLBTR that the former Royal would receive $1.7 million which obviously exceeds both filingsMaybe Valencia's agents will point out that he could be able to play second base?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Source: Danny Valencia files at $1.675 while <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a> file at $1.250</p>&mdash; Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) <a href="https://twitter.com/bnicholsonsmith/status/556226764654276608">January 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Alex Anthopoulos spoke about the impending arbitration process quite frankly, noting that it was clear the two sides were going to have a tough time mutually agreeing on a salary:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>AA said he knew early on w/ Donaldson &amp; Valencia they were far apart. "...Sometimes you need to have a 3rd-party to settle these things."</p>&mdash; Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) <a href="https://twitter.com/BKennedyStar/status/556234440339632128">January 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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One last note from Anthopoulos is that the team nearly had a trade in place for a reliever earlier in the week, but it fell apart:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>After Q bout relievers, AA says he&#39;s been &quot;pretty engaged&quot; in trade talks. Was &quot;close&quot; early in week, but fell apart. Now nothing imminent.</p>&mdash; Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) <a href="https://twitter.com/BKennedyStar/status/556236525906984960">January 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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