Josh Donaldson's agent disputed a report Thursday that the Toronto Blue Jays offered the three-time All-Star and 2015 American League MVP a multiyear contract extension before trading him to the Cleveland Indians last week.
According to a report by Jon Heyman of Fancred, "Contrary to some suggestions out there that they never talked numbers or made an offer, word is the Jays extended an offer for more than the three-year, $75 million deal the Phillies gave to free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, another major star older than 30. The belief is they were flexible to go at least a bit higher.''
In an email statement to ESPN.com and other media outlets, agent Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group denied that the Blue Jays and Donaldson ever engaged in contract talks.
"The fact is that the team never extended an offer to Josh, no years or dollars were ever specifically discussed, and it's unfair to Josh for someone to repeatedly misrepresent his business affairs citing their 'beliefs,''' Lozano said.
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins didn't immediately return text messages seeking comment on the team's interactions with Donaldson.
Donaldson, 32, logged a .234/.333/.423 slash line in Toronto this season while being limited to only 36 games because of shoulder and calf injuries. The Blue Jays traded him to Cleveland last week for a player to be named -- reportedly minor league pitcher Julian Merryweather.
Donaldson, currently on an injury rehab assignment, hit a grand slam in his first game with Cleveland's Triple-A Columbus affiliate Monday. He is eligible to return from the DL on Sept. 11.
In February, Donaldson took issue with a Fancred report that he was believed to be seeking a "monster payday'' in free agency, according to friends. He responded on Twitter, saying the team had never made him an offer.
@JonHeyman I respect what you do for a living, but you don't know my friends. Nor do my friends know what I want, because there is still information to be gathered. I havn't asked for anything. What I have said is I would like to stay. Cont. https://t.co/mCKqqj9OR1— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 8, 2018
@JonHeyman I would listen to an offer, but I havnt had one to listen to so it's been pretty easy. Thanks for your concern about my future and next time I hope you put a name by it, because you are using my name in a manner I don't appreciate.— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 8, 2018
Donaldson's best season came in 2015, when he hit 41 homers, logged a .939 OPS and led the AL with 122 runs, 123 RBIs and 352 total bases. He won the MVP award and made the All-Star team while capturing the first of two straight Silver Slugger awards for the Blue Jays.