Blue Jays: Even without a ring, it’s been a good decade

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista /
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TORONTO, ON – APRIL 2: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his solo home run in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 2: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his solo home run in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Josh Donaldson

If we’re going to talk about the impact that Bautista and Encarnacion made on the lineup, then we’d better have a chat about the accomplishments of Josh Donaldson in a Blue Jays uniform.

Donaldson arrived in 2015 via the Oakland A’s, and that trade will go down as arguably the finest move that Alex Anthopoulos made while working for the Blue Jays. AA sent Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barreto to the A’s for Donaldson, and it couldn’t have worked out a lot better for the Blue Jays.

Donaldson would go on to win his first AL MVP award in 2015, proving to be what the Blue Jays needed to take their lineup from scary to elite, hitting .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI. He followed that up with another All-Star season in 2016, finishing 4th in MVP voting and continuing his dominance of the AL East.

Donaldson continued his elite-level play into 2017, but unfortunately battled injuries throughout most of his last year in Toronto, and was traded in July of 2018 to Cleveland. That trade has been the source of a lot of frustration for Blue Jays fans, especially because Donaldson had a big bounce-back year with the Braves last season, and Julian Merryweather, the pitcher the Jays acquired in return, has thrown just four innings in High-A so far while battling injuries.

Things may not have ended the way that Donaldson or the Blue Jays had hoped, but the partnership was a successful one to be sure. The “Bringer of Rain” was the second MVP in franchise history, a 3x All-Star, and a 2x Silver Slugger Award winner. His impact in Toronto won’t soon be forgotten.

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