Josh Donaldson’s trade, and disappointing 2018 season
One of the biggest debates last winter was whether or not the Blue Jays should trade Josh Donaldson before the season began, and start the rebuild early. Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro cited the fan support as a reason they wanted to give the veteran roster one more chance, and obviously things didn’t work out how anyone hoped or planned.
As bad as the season was for the Blue Jays, things were even worse for Donaldson while he was still in Toronto. He managed to appear in just 36 games prior to a trade to the Cleveland Indians, and he didn’t produce much at all while he was in the lineup. He slashed just .234/.333/.436 with five home runs and 16 RBI, never looking healthy and mostly being relegated to DH duties.
To make matters worse, he couldn’t get healthy enough in time to be eligible for the July 31st trade deadline, and it’s hard to say if he should have been allowed to be dealt at the end of August at all either. He ended up spending more time on the disabled list after arriving in Cleveland, but at least the Blue Jays were able to get one asset in return, 27 year old starter Julian Merryweather, who had Tommy John surgery last year, but still has some upside.
Unfortunately the whole thing was bungled a bit by the Blue Jays, as they gambled on Donaldson still retaining trade value in the summer and being worth a lot more than he ended up getting in trade return. With all due respect to Merryweather, there was a time when Donaldson looked like he could garner a return of several prospects, and likely a headliner with a much greater ceiling than Merryweather.
We’ll see how the “Bringer of Rain” fairs in Atlanta after signing a one year, 23 million dollar deal, but there is definitely a section of Blue Jays fans that are still a little sore about his departure.