Blue Jays reportedly hope to trade Josh Donaldson before season’s end

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 3: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 3: Josh Donaldson /

Recent reports suggest that the Blue Jays are hopeful that they can make a deal for Josh Donaldson before the season’s over, raising the question – what can they expect in return?

If you were to do a poll asking 100 Blue Jays fans how they would describe Josh Donaldson’s 2018 season, I’m confident the majority of them would use words like “disappointing”, “underwhelming” or “lacklustre”. Personally, I would use the word “tragic”.

In Donaldson, the Blue Jays once had a bonafide MLB superstar who could’ve been the league’s prized deadline trade chip had he been able to remain healthy, consistent, and productive. Unfortunately for both him and the team, none of those things have come true. Here were are, the middle of July, hoping that even a lottery ticket prospect will be brought back in a potential deadline deal.

Despite the pessimistic view that is shared by most Jays fans, an industry expert seems to believe that the team feels differently. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Blue Jays are “hoping” they can trade Donaldson, even if it is past the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.

Cafardo notes that it’s possible that Donaldson could clear waivers, at which point he would eligible to be involved in an August trade. While it’s not common for former superstars to be dealt in August, the Detroit Tigers dealt former Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander on August 31st of last year.

As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports on Twitter, there’s still no timeline for the injured third baseman to start appearing in rehab games. Donaldson hasn’t played a major league game since May 28th.

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In all honesty, there’s not much to analyze here. It’s not surprising that the Jays want to deal Donaldson. A free agent at season’s end, he could either walk, accept the qualifying offer, reject it, or sign a brand new deal all together. Each of those possibilities, equally likely in their probability, will all play a huge role in deciding how finances will be allocated over the next few seasons.

For the 2018 season, Donaldson has appeared in just 36 games, slashing .234/.333/.423 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 159 plate appearances. He’s also added 11 doubles and two stolen bases to his season’s totals. Overall, he’s been worth a measly 0.6 WAR, per BaseballReference.

At this point, it’s unknown just how much value Donaldson will have for a contending team. On one hand, he’s a proven major league hitter with a track record of production at the plate. On the other hand, he’s had ridiculous injury problems this year and doesn’t appear likely to stay healthy for the rest of the season.

Next: What if Randal Grichuk had been designated for assignment?

Regardless, the Josh Donaldson saga will prove to be one of the more interesting storylines as this team approaches a delicately intricate trade deadline predicament. Even though a ton of fans of this organization desperately want some sort of return for the 2015 MVP, it might be more difficult than it sounds.