4. Josh Donaldson Trade to Cleveland for Julian Merryweather
At the time of the trade, August 31, 2018, Donaldson’s trade value had diminished due to his prolonged injury bouts through much of the 2018 season, and he was ultimately traded to Cleveland for a player to be named later.
Much was made of the circumstances surrounding his departure, with many questioning whether Shapiro and Atkins’s handling of the Donaldson situation was optimal from an organizational perspective. All told, the “Bringer of Rain” played four seasons for Toronto, slashing .281/.383/.548, hitting 116 home runs, winning an MVP, and making the playoffs twice. The PTBNL became Julian Merryweather, acquired by Toronto from Cleveland on October 4, 2018, completing the Donaldson trade. 26 years old at the time, Merryweather had missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he had posted a 3.92 ERA over four seasons in the minors within the Cleveland organization, ranking 17th on Baseball America’s list of Cleveland prospects.
Donaldson- The 2015 AL MVP entered free agency at the end of the 2018 season, signing a one-year “prove-it” deal with Alex Anthopolous and the Atlanta Braves, in which he proceeded to hit 37 home runs and post a .900 OPS over 155 games. Following that season, in January of 2020, he signed a 4-year, $92MM contract with the Twins, the second-largest in Major League history for a player 33 or older. The former MVP continues to post impressive numbers, with an OPS of .827 in 2021, easing into his mid-thirties.
Merryweather- Now 30 years old, Merryweather has thrown a total of 26 innings in the majors in his career. He showed some flashes of a high ceiling coming out of the bullpen for the Jays early in the 2021 season, only to return to the IL for most of the year.