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Blue Jays GM: Goal is to sign Donaldson to multi-year deal

Rob Tringali / SportsChrome / Getty

The Toronto Blue Jays and reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson are feuding over $450,000, as both sides prepare for an arbitration hearing this month. General manager Ross Atkins hopes to avoid such a situation again in the future with his prized slugger.

"We want him here as long as humanly possible," Atkins stated at the club's state of the union address Thursday night at Rogers Centre.

Atkins is hoping to negotiate a multi-year extension with Donaldson, who is under team control through the 2018 season. Toronto's file-and-trial policy suggests an extension is unlikely prior to the arbitration hearing, which will take place on or before Feb. 21. Donaldson filed at $11.8 million, while the club submitted a suggested 2016 salary of $11.35 million when the two sides exchanged figures in January.

Donaldson, who earned a modest $4.3 million - considering he smashed 41 homers and drove in a league-leading 123 RBIs last season - has expressed his love for the city of Toronto and the organization multiple times this offseason.

"I really love the city, and I could see myself spending my entire career here," Donaldson said during a radio appearance in November. "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."

Atkins is also tasked with potentially re-signing sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, who are both entering contract years and will be eligible for free agency in the fall.

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