In a surprising and somewhat cryptic development, Josh Donaldson’s locker has reportedly been cleared out in the Blue Jays clubhouse.
With trade speculation practically at an all-time high, Scott Mitchell of TSN has reported that Josh Donaldson‘s locker was cleared out sometime Saturday or late Friday. Mitchell says all that remains is “an empty stall with a nameplate”.
You’d be forgiven for jumping at this report, but there’s far less to it than may meet the eye. As Mitchell noted in a separate conversation with a follower, Donaldson cannot yet be traded until he clears waivers. Clearing waivers cannot take place until the 2015 MVP has officially begun a rehab assignment, which he has not.
Steve Phillips (also of TSN) has reported that the “Bringer of Rain” will begin a rehab assignment on Monday in Dunedin with the High-A Blue Jays. This is coming just days after several sources reported that there was “no update” on Donaldson’s condition.
Seeing as a trade cannot happen due to the logistical circumstances, it’s fair to say that Donaldson is not being traded right now. As many have pointed out, it is technically possible for the Blue Jays to trade him before August is over. If they’re able to get him into a rehab assignment within the next few days, rival teams may see that as enough to gamble on his inconsistent health.
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At this point though, it’s likely that Donaldson’s locker simply needed to be cleared out in order to make room for an incoming member of the expanded September rosters.
For the season, the native of Pensacola, Florida has slashed .234/.333/.423 with five home runs and 16 RBI in just 137 at-bats spread across 36 games. In his injury-riddled contract year, he appeared to be a prime candidate to switch uniforms sometime mid-summer.
Still, the Blue Jays are reportedly optimistic they’ll be able to get a deal done and acquire at least some prospect capital in exchange for their star third baseman, though Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet cautions that a trade doesn’t seem probable as things currently stand.
The important thing is, Josh Donaldson remains a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Though speculation, no matter how unsubstantiated, is sure to grow and flourish, he is a still a member of this organization.