The two sides reached a consensus on a two-year, $29 million deal, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Donaldson tweeted about the news:
Mood right now. pic.twitter.com/QCJBAcc0GW— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) February 9, 2016
On Feb. 4, Greg Warren of the Score noted Donaldson was under Toronto's control through the 2018 season, but the team and the defending American League MVP "are feuding over $450,000," which would have led to an arbitration hearing if the two sides hadn't reached an agreement.
Donaldson is a fan favorite in Toronto, and he suggested he would love to stay there the rest of his career during a radio appearance in November (via Warren): "I really love the city, and I could see myself spending my entire career here. I would love to end my career in Toronto. I love playing there; I would love to be able to do something, but I'm not the one calling the shots."
Warren called Donaldson's $4.3 million earnings in 2015 "modest" because of his 41 home runs and league-leading 123 RBI.
Outside of the power numbers, Donaldson hit .297 and tallied a career-high OPS of .939 and a career-best 8.8 WAR, per Baseball Reference. The head-turning WAR stat, which was second only to Mike Trout in the American League, was a result of impressive fielding at the hot corner as well as prowess at the plate.
According to FanGraphs, Donaldson posted 11 total defensive runs saved above average at third base last season. He won the MVP Award and helped the Blue Jays reach the American League Championship Series, in which they lost to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
There is plenty of pressure on general manager Ross Atkins' shoulders heading into next season. Though Donaldson has been taken care of, superstars Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are set to be free agents following the 2016 campaign.
That threesome represents the offensive core of the team and was a major reason why the Blue Jays led the majors in runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 2015. Bautista drilled 40 home runs, and Encarnacion added 39 as part of arguably the most feared trio of sluggers in the majors.