Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays throwback: Two years since the Josh Donaldson trade

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Jul 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Josh Donaldson from the Oakland Athletics two years ago today

Two years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays pulled off one of their best trades in franchise history.

It’s a “where were you when” moment for many Blue Jays fans. Josh Donaldson was a late-bloomer on a west coast team, so to the more casual fan, perhaps his name didn’t mean as much at the time. That’s quickly changed.

Let’s take a quick look back at how the trade unfolded between 9:45 p.m. ET and 9:55 p.m. ET:

Donaldson was considered a relatively untouchable asset around the league. Not only was he having a Bautista-esque blossom in his late-20s, he was doing it with brilliant defence and while still in his pre-arbitration years.

His arbitration beginning that year surely helped to nudge a deal, but a player of Donaldson’s talent isn’t moved for a few million dollar here or there.

The stories of Alex Anthopoulos’ persistence leading up to this deal are a thing of Toronto baseball lore. That’s why, following the deal, executives from other markets were shocked to learn that Donaldson was even available. So many others had heard “no” and taken the Athletics at their word.

What seemed like a win for the Blue Jays at the time has become clearly that. Donaldson is an elite-level player with at least two more seasons in Toronto left, and looking at the Blue Jays’ trade package, there isn’t much cause for regret.

Brett Lawrie lasted one strikeout-filled season in Oakland before being dealt to the Chicago White Sox. Sean Nolin was plucked off waivers by the Brewers after one season and recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Kendall Graveman looks to be a full-time rotation piece with modest value for the Athletics after making 52 starts the past two seasons.

Next: A 2017 bullpen with top prospect Greene in it?

The one kicker that has the potential to “balance” the deal is Franklin Barreto, currently ranked as the A’s No. 1 prospect. The young shortstop could very well produce 10 or more seasons at a very high MLB value, but in the end, the Blue Jays have gotten the star power they needed out of Donaldson and are two-for-two in playoff appearances since his arrival.

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