Blue Jays Should Eradicate “File & Trial” Stance For Josh Donaldson Case

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Monday, January 18th, 2016
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Josh Donaldson

The Toronto Blue Jays have historically employed a quote, unquote “File and Trial” system when approaching arbitration cases with their respective players. This essentially means that if no agreement is met by the deadline to exchange proposed salary figures, then the two sides will ultimately go to an arbitration hearing. The team refuses to negotiate once the deadline has passed putting the onus on the agent to come up with some hard numbers earlier in the process.

Former Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos enacted this policy during his tenure with the Blue Jays stating it brings the parties to the table sooner to negotiate. “The thought was really it’s hopefully to encourage more dialogue in negotiations with the goal of continuing to avoid arbitration and continuing to try to get deals done and maybe bring both parties to the table a little bit sooner.” 

The new front office regime that was sequestered from the Cleveland Indians during the off-season never employed this approach while running shop in the Rock and Roll capital.

The Jays had 8 players file for arbitration however came to a contractual agreement with all but 2 players. The players remaining in contract limbo are newly acquired Jesse Chavez and the reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson went to arbitration last season filing at $5.75 million while the Blue Jays countered at $4.3 million. The Blue Jays would come out victorious at the hearing, as the arbitrator awarded the slugger $4.3 million for the 2015 season.

This time around the gap is much smaller with Donaldson filing at $11.8 million while the Jays countered at $11.35 million. The difference is a mere $450,000 which by baseball standards is almost pocket change.

It is no doubt encouraging to see the parties in the same ball-park with their figures however the Jays should continue to negotiate and do their utmost to avoid a hearing. I realize the business side of this and the continual process each year pertaining to arbitration, however this is Josh Donaldson, the MVP, the teams heart and soul for hopefully years to come.

Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have been tight-lipped on the process, nobody knows for sure if a long-term deal is in the works to buy-out his last couple years of arbitration eligibility and free agency.

Yes, arbitration hearings are part of the business but they also can put a strain on relationships. A strain the Blue Jays can ill afford to do with an uber talent like JD. Last time I checked players weren’t lining up at the border to play in Canada.

Keep the man happy, give him the $450,000, start a GoFundMe page if you have to but get it done.

If the MVP wants a pink unicorn, go find one. Whatever it takes Rogers, whatever it takes.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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