4. Josh Donaldson – 2015
After the 2014 season, the Blue Jays sent Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Franklin Barretto, and Sean Nolin to the Athletics in exchange for third baseman Josh Donaldson. The Jays were sending their starting third baseman along with some other pieces to try and upgrade. Boy, did they upgrade.
Lawrie was a decent third baseman, nothing special. Graveman was a journeyman pitcher who never really amounted to anything until this season when he ironically was pitching for two of the division rivals of the Athletics. Barretto and Nolin have both had cups of coffee in the majors and haven’t done much. The Jays stole Donaldson from the Athletics.
In his first season in Toronto, Donaldson put on a show. The “Bringer of Rain” slashed .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 123 RBI. He led the American League with that RBI total and also led the league with 122 runs scored. He also led the league with 352 total bases and 10 sacrifice flies. He was an all-star, won the Silver Slugger, and became the franchise’s second-ever American League MVP winner.
Donaldson was the best player on a very exciting Blue Jays team that ended up making it to the ALCS. He hit second in front of Jose Bautista for the team that led the league in runs per game by a wide margin.
Donaldson’s 8.7 fWAR that season is the highest for a hitter in Blue Jays history. That first season in Toronto really couldn’t have gone much better for the Jays and Donaldson.