In the final hours before the August trade deadline, the Blue Jays shipped their former MVP to the Cleveland Indians, bringing an end to a noteworthy career in Toronto.
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go down when Josh Donaldson left the Blue Jays, but not every tale has a storybook ending.
The “Bringer of Rain” was supposed to have one of his best seasons yet in 2018, which would either lead the Blue Jays to another shot at postseason glory, or turn him into a valuable trade chip before he becomes a free agent this winter. It’s amazing how a year can change things.
The Blue Jays did what they had to do on Sunday, sending out their star third baseman to Cleveland in exchange for pennies on the dollar of what they could have had a year ago. The trade was first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo, however it took awhile before we found out the destination. However, in the final day of trade eligibility (for the player to still be eligible to play in the postseason), Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro had no leverage when it came to their best offensive player of the last several years.
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Not trading him meant the Blue Jays would have to let him walk for nothing this offseason, or put a Qualifying Offer on the table at the risk that it could be accepted. Not that Donaldson couldn’t still be worth that amount or more, but with the Blue Jays on the cusp of a rebuild, the match doesn’t really make much sense anymore.
For Donaldson this represents a best case scenario for the rest of the season as well. Now that he’s been traded his new team can’t give him a QO, which will help his agent in leveraging a better deal this offseason.
It also gives him the chance to play postseason ball with his old buddy Edwing, and hopefully show GMs around the game that he’s both healthy, and still able to contribute at an elite level.
Chances are there is going to be more to this story that we hear about in the days and weeks ahead, and it’s entirely possible there was some mismanagement on one or both sides of Donaldson’s injuries. Playing just 36 games and having faced multiple setbacks and questionable injury timelines, it hasn’t been the year that anyone was hoping for.
And while this move was expected for a long time, it’s still a bittersweet ending to a great period in Blue Jays history. Donaldson teamed with the likes of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and many others to bring excitement back to baseball in Toronto, and in Canada, and it’s a shame that all good things have to come to an end.
That said, the next generation of competitive Blue Jays shouldn’t be far behind, so while it’s sad to see someone like Donaldson go, especially like this, there should be better times ahead for the lone Canadian franchise.