Following a relatively successful rehab appearance in Dunedin on Tuesday, it was disappointing to see Josh Donaldson out of the lineup the following day.
According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic and MLB Network, the Blue Jays were to place their all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson on revocable trade waivers in the hopes of working out a deal with a contender. Unfortunately that looks like those hopes are all but washed away.
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun that “multiple teams” have “definite interest” in acquiring the 2015 AL MVP, while Jon Heyman of Fancred notes that scouts were in attendance for Donaldson’s first rehab game in Florida. Tuesday night, Donaldson went 1-for-2 with a walk and played five innings for the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays. However, when it was time for everyone to get a second look at him on Wednesday and maybe make some real progress towards a deal, it’s been announced that the “Bringer of Rain” is sitting out tonight due to leg and calf soreness.
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This news is truly disappointing because it likely means the Blue Jays will have to pull him back from waivers now that he’s not certifiably healthy, and that will all but end their chances of trading him before the deadline on Friday at midnight. While the Jays wouldn’t have been able to get the return they once would have had for Donaldson, they’re now in a situation where something might be better than nothing, which is a real possibility at this stage.
The surging St. Louis Cardinals have long been speculated as a logical destination for Donaldson, though Derrick Goold of the St. Louis-Dispatch cautions that the Cards were not among the teams that sent a scout to check out his first rehab game. The Cardinals were reportedly pushing to trade for Donaldson during the offseason, when the Jays were not overly interesting in parting with him.
The Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, both in playoff spots at the time of this writing, also seem like possible landing spots for the 32-year-old Florida native. Again, this is likely all for naught now that Donaldson is unable to suit up for a second consecutive day, which has to be concerning for any interested GM, and serves as a roadblock to making the trade possible at all.
If the Blue Jays are in fact unable to move Donaldson before Friday, then the question becomes whether the front office will extend him a Qualifying Offer this winter or not. The variables involved with that scenario are pretty complex, which is why Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro likely wanted to get something done this. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy.