Josh Donaldson expects to become free agent, not 'eye to eye' with Blue Jays on contact talks

Josh Donaldson expects to become a free agent next offseason after shutting down contract talks with the Toronto Blue Jays, saying that the sides do not see "eye to eye" on a long-term deal.

Donaldson told reporters Monday that he and the Blue Jays "are not quite there" in terms of the framework of a deal and said he wants to focus on the upcoming season.

"We've had conversations about it, and I just think that we are not quite there," the former American League MVP said. "Not quite there meaning there's not a deal done and we're just not there. We're not in the same type of area, the same ballpark, to make a discussion to moving forward.

"To me, it's just not that big of an issue to focus on right now, or throughout this season, because I don't feel like the time is right at the moment, and I just want to really focus on what I can do to be better and what I can do in our locker room to be better."

Donaldson said he recently told Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins that he wanted to table contract negotiations. The three-time All-Star third baseman did not rule out the possibility of remaining with Toronto on a long-term deal, but said those discussions would have to wait until later in the year.

"I believe they want me," Donaldson said. "If they didn't want me, we wouldn't be having any type of discussions leading up to this point. They've been very good with the communication process. We just aren't eye to eye at this moment."

Donaldson, 32, said he has not received an official contract offer from the Blue Jays and also doesn't think that baseball's current economic climate -- this winter's market only recently has started to yield lucrative deals -- will significantly affect his free agency after the 2018 season.

Donaldson is set to join a loaded free-agent class next winter that also could include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Charlie Blackmon and Dallas Keuchel.

"What has led up to right now, I don't personally believe is going to be what the market is next year, per se," he said. "You're going to have a very good free-agent class. We'll see what happens, but as of right now, our camp and I -- we have our views, and it hasn't shifted."

Donaldson batted .270 with 33 home runs and 78 RBIs despite playing in just 113 games during an injury-shortened 2017 season. He has 111 homers in his three seasons with Toronto and helped the Blue Jays make back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016.