Blue Jays: Should they take what they can get for Josh Donaldson?
After a truly disappointing season from Josh Donaldson, the Blue Jays could be faced with a “take what you can get” situation with their former MVP this week.
This past offseason one of the biggest debates about the Blue Jays was whether or not to hang on to Josh Donaldson for one more crack at postseason glory, or trade him before the final year of his current contract. Hindsight gives a person 20/20 vision, but obviously the latter would have been the better choice.
Instead the Blue Jays are now faced with a situation where they don’t know if they can get a return for their former MVP at all, let alone one of any substance. There was a time in the not so distant past that Donaldson could have brought back a huge prospect haul for the Blue Jays in their rebuild, but unfortunately that window of opportunity has passed. He’s played in just 36 games this year and hasn’t appeared in a game since May 28th.
Complicating matters even more is the fact that he’s just due to begin his rehab stint today, and has been on the disabled list throughout the frantic trade season in July, and even into August before the waiver deadline. Donaldson hasn’t played in a big league game in three months, and that makes it really hard for rival GM’s to bank on his performance down the stretch regardless of his career resume.
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They might be willing to take a chance on him at the right price though, and the Blue Jays have to be asking themselves how low they’re willing to go before the end of the month here. The reality is, the front office will be faced with the decision of whether or not to give him the Qualifying Offer, something that could land his contract in the neighbourhood of 18-19 million next season. Not that the price is unreasonable for a recent MVP calibre player, but the Blue Jays have a lot of cheaper options who could play third, and at least one that might even be better right now.
In fact, Donaldson’s value is murky enough right now that some writers are questioning if the Blue Jays would rather let him walk for nothing than risk him accepting the QO.
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr‘s impending promotion at some point early next season, Donaldson’s fit is pretty questionable with the Blue Jays in 2019, even if they don’t mind paying him. The organization is pretty intent on Guerrero at least starting out as a third baseman, as they should be, and moving the “Bringer of Rain” around the diamond isn’t an ideal scenario. For what it’s worth though, I’m a fan of bringing him back on a one year deal at the right price.
Whether they are truly worried about him accepting a one year contract to return or not, it could point to the front office taking the best offer that comes in the next four days, if there are any. If they don’t plan on extending the QO to Donaldson, then he’ll definitely leave Toronto without providing a prospect return of any kind. If they are thinking of making the offer but truly don’t want him to accept, then perhaps it’s best they cut their losses at this stage, even if that’s a huge shame.
It’s better to get something rather than nothing if the Blue Jays are ready to move on from Donaldson, especially if they believe he’d accept a one year deal to try and re-establish his value, and aren’t interested in that scenario. There are good argument for why they should and shouldn’t be interested in bringing him back with regards to Guerrero Jr’s playing time and mentorship, but that’s a discussion for another day.
For now the question is: Should the Blue Jays just take whatever they can get for Donaldson? Unfortunately they answer might be a yes.