8 Blue Jays trade heists people don’t talk about enough

Which trades in Toronto Blue Jays history have they come out clearly on top even though some haven’t realized it?
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN   Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19)
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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Blue Jays acquire Josh Donaldson from the Oakland Athletics for Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin

When it comes to instant impactful trades that the Jays have made this century, one of the key ones that quickly come to mind is the blockbuster involving the recently retired Josh Donaldson during the 2014-15 offseason. With the Jays desperately wanting to get back into the postseason picture after almost a two-decade absence, they made the bold move in acquiring the budding superstar from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a plethora of prospects that included Canada’s very own Brett Lawrie.

Lawrie was also a budding star in the making at the time, but just not at the calibre of Donaldson yet. So it was indeed a risk for the Jays, not to mention they threw in another three promising young players on top of it. Fortunately, the daring move paid off big time as both Franklin Barreto and Sean Nolin failed to reach their full potential, while Lawrie never developed into the superstar that was expected of him and was actually out of MLB baseball after the 2016 season. Kendall Graveman was the only one that materialized into a future bullpen stud; however, it occurred way after he left the Athletics’ organization, leaving Oakland nothing to show for as a result of the trade.

In the case for the Jays, they ended up with not only a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner, but the 2015 AL MVP as well to boot. Donaldson may have only stayed for less than four seasons, but his overall contributions will forever be remembered in more ways than one. Over 462 career games with Toronto, he batted .281 with a stellar .931 OPS, 148 OPS+, 116 home runs and 316 RBI. His most marquee moment in a Jays’ uniform was his “Donaldson Dash” to score the winning run in Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS to sweep their nemesis the Texas Rangers in three games. More importantly, despite the Jays having both the dynamic duo of Bautista and Encarnación together already for many seasons prior, the team never seemed to be able to get over the hump to reach the playoffs until Donaldson’s eventual arrival in 2015. Therefore, what hasn’t been talked about enough is not the huge steal that Donaldson was, but his ultimate impact that took the team to the next level and beyond.