“It’s hard to imagine any scenario where we’re a better team without him,” Shapiro said during a guest appearance on The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Thursday morning. “He’s a pretty special player and now that he’s gotten healthy over the last couple of weeks, it’s a reminder of just how great he is offensively and defensively.
“We want J.D. here.”
Donaldson, who’s making $17 million this year, will be eligible for arbitration next season. He’s set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign.
Shapiro said the team is looking to stay competitive in that span and has no plans for a rebuild.
“As far as the future, for right now, it’s next year,” he said about keeping Donaldson. “We’ll explore, at the right times, privately, whether there’s an opportunity beyond that.”
Donaldson’s season has been marred by calf issues that have kept him off the field for extended periods and likely contributed to his overall struggles. However, the 31-year-old former American League MVP has been swinging a hot bat of late, hitting .333/.463/.833 with six home runs and 12 RBI over his past 12 games.
Shapiro also touched on a few other topics:
A POTENTIAL TROY TULOWITZKI POSITION SWITCH
“Tulo, obviously, we’ve got under contract for an extended period of time. I think right now, taking it step by step, the only focus is on getting (his ankle) healthy and as physically prepared as possible to compete and be a championship-calibre player next year.
“If at some point we feel that it’s the best interest of him and this team for him to play somewhere else [then we’ll consider], but that, as of yet, has not even been something we’ve thought about. We just need to get him healthy and go from there.”
MINOR-LEAGUE PITCHING DEPTH
“We’re better than we were a year ago. We’re in a better spot.
“There’s Tim Mayza, who popped on the screen in spring training. He got off to a rough start but has been just dominant over the past six weeks. We’ve got some interesting guys that can contribute in the bullpen as well. We’re starting to build the depth, it’s starting to move up the system a little bit … It’s encouraging to have four or five starters in double-A who we feel are starting to settle in and do well … It’s a process. You can’t cheat the process. It takes time.”
INCOMING RENOVATIONS TO ROGERS CENTRE
“The renovation is something that we both continue to talk to our fans about, as well as continue to research. We do have general design themes and concepts that are largely developed from the insights we’ve got from our fans as well as looking at stadium, arena and ballpark trends throughout sports around the world.
“We’ve started to socialize those plans with ownership and the hope will be that sometime over the off-season, we can start to move towards a commitment and time frame. It’s going to be something that’s staged over multiple years because we have to do the bulk of the work during just a four-month window when we’re not playing.”