Hung on to a star a little too long
(4) Josh Donaldson for Julian Merryweather (CLE) – August 30th, 2018
Before Blue Jays fans storm my dwelling with pitch forks, I don’t think lowly of Julian Merryweather. In fact, his small sample size in 2020 exhibited electric stuff, featuring a devastating 20mph difference between his 100mph four seamer and his change up.
Now with that said, the Jays traded for Merryweather at a time when he didn’t have much of a track record as he missed all of 2018, and had a 5.52 ERA over 25 starts in the preceding season between AA and AAA ball. To add insult to injury, he was (and is) nearing the wrong side of 30 which indicates the upside may not be there like it would for a 24 year old prospect. Even since the trade, Merryweather made just one appearance in 2019. The stuff is great, but results are what truly matters and theres a lot of uncertainty surrounding Merryweather.
The Jays should have unloaded Josh Donaldson during the 2017 trade deadline when he was having a monster season despite missing most of April and May with a calf injury. Donaldson finished that season with 33 home runs, a .944 OPS and MVP votes. By the trade deadline it was evident that the Jays were not competing for anything and there was no reason to aimlessly hold onto a bonafide stud and risk what would eventually happen, namely a value-plummeting injury.
In 2018, Donaldson would suffer another calf injury in the spring and he would only be able to play 36 games for the Jays. As a result of still being injured when traded, the demand for Donaldson was much lower than it would have been in the preceding season. Donaldson would make just 16 appearances for the Indians in 2018.