Over the history of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise there had only been a handful of times where they had acquired a player that they knew was an All-Star and was also just entering into the prime of his career. Acquiring Josh Donaldson was one of those times.
When the 2014 season came to a close, the Blue Jays finished four games above .500. They had a decent pitching staff in veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, along with youngsters Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman. Their line-up was filled with power hitters like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, so GM Alex Anthopoulos was looking to take the next jump. Anthopoulos signed Canadian free agent catcher Russell Martin on November 18, 2014 and 10 days later made one of the greatest trades in franchise history.
On November 28, 2014, the Blue Jays acquired Josh Donaldson who was coming off his first All-Star season where he finished eighth in MVP voting when he hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI for the Oakland A’s.
Donaldson would play just three and a half years in Toronto and after just his first season became the second Blue Jays player to win the AL MVP, when he hit a career high 41 home runs and 123 RBI to go with a .297 average. Donaldson showed leadership throughout the season and earned the respect of his teammates very quickly.
Donaldson also took home the Silver Slugger award for being the league’s best hitting third basemen in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016. Donaldson was a two-time All Star, led Toronto to two postseasons, and has one of the most underrated plays in Blue Jays history (in my opinion) when he scored the series winning run in 2016 against the Texas Rangers.
Injuries would really derail his last season and a half with the Blue Jays and with free agency looming, no sign of the postseason, and a prospect named Vladimir Guerrero Jr not far off, Toronto traded Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians on August 31, 2018 for a player to be named later, which was determined to be Julian Merryweather.