Jays agree to two-year deal with shortstop McDonald

TORONTO -- Shortstop John McDonald and the
Toronto Blue Jays
agreed Tuesday to a $3.8 million, two-year contract extension
through the 2009 season.

"The opportunity I've been given here is something I really
appreciate," McDonald said. "You want to stay and be around these
players and give back to the people who have given you the

McDonald entered Tuesday with a .252 batting average, a
career-high 16 doubles and 28 RBIs in 110 games. His .985 fielding
percentage led AL shortstops who played 100 or more innings and he
was in on 59 double plays.

"We've got a pretty good pitching staff so they're happy in the
sense that when a ball is hit up the middle they know someone is
going to catch it, we're going to turn the double play," Blue Jays
general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "There's a comfort level
that's important, too."

McDonald, who has a $750,000 base salary this season, earned
$25,000 in performance bonuses and entered Tuesday needing five
more starts to get another $25,000. He would have been eligible for
free agency after the World Series.

McDonald was drafted by Cleveland in 1996 and debuted with the
Indians in 1999. After being traded to the Blue Jays in December
2004, the 32-year-old was traded to Detroit in July 2005, only to
be traded back to Toronto that November.

He has a career batting average of .240 with eight homers and
100 RBIs in 567 games over parts of nine seasons.

"I'm just fortunate to have been playing as long as I have to
have things work out here where we have a team that has a lot of
offensive players and a very good pitching staff and a fit for a
defensive-minded shortstop," McDonald said.

Ricciardi said he is trying to re-sign free agent outfielder
Matt Stairs before season's end. Stairs is batting .312 with 19
homers and 59 RBIs in 109 games this season.