Mention the name Josh Donaldson to a Blue Jays fan and you'll likely get a smile. He means that much to the fans -- and team -- despite spending less than four years in Toronto.
The timespan between November 2014 and August 2018 also represented the high point for Donaldson himself, in respect of his playing career. Certainly, his accolades during this period were extremely impressive.
The 37-year-old's list of accomplishments included three All-Star selections, two Silver Slugger awards and a AL Hank Aaron award. Best of all, he was named AL MVP for the 2015 season.
Donaldson's play undoubtedly helped the Blue Jays as a whole, with them twice reaching the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. To date, this represents the closest the franchise has come to repeating the glory days of 1992 and 1993.
Is a reunion a realistic possibility?
With all this in mind, would the Blue Jays and their fans be interested in a reunion with the Pensacola, Florida native? With the Aug. 1 trade deadline just over a month away, he will potentially soon be available.
The reason for this, is Donaldson's issues both on and off the field this year in New York. For a start, he has missed nearly two months of the season due to a hamstring strain.
More recently, the 2007 first round draft pick was benched for three consecutive games, as the Yankees decided on his future role with the ballclub. He has since cleared the air with manager Aaron Boone, but uncertainty remains.
As per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Boone has said the two are now on the same page and claimed Donaldson will be playing a lot moving forward. And yet, the Blue Jays could still easily test this resolve by making an inquiry.
The question is, should the Blue Jays proceed with said inquiry and attempt to bring back the 2015 AL RBI leader? Pure and simple, the answer should be an emphatic no.
Without wanting to be disrespectful to a player who brought a lot of joy in Toronto, Donaldson is just a shadow of his former self at the plate. This is best exemplified by easily being on course to set single-season careers worsts in batting average (.125) and OBP (.197).
The right-handed bat's overall struggles include a .125/.204/.438 slash line since his return from injury. And in fairness, the signs of an offensive decline were there prior to this season.
Consider that the 2022 campaign produced a slash line of .222/.374/.682 for Donaldson. His issues were highlighted by only making contact with 75.5 percent of all pitches he swung at in the strike zone which, as per FanGraphs, was the lowest in all of baseball.
No happy ending
Still, there may yet be some Blue Jays fans applying a sentimental perspective to the situation. The third baseman has admitted he might not play next season, so what better way to end his career than in the place where he enjoyed most success?
However, poor performances asides, it is still extremely tough to justify bringing Donaldson in for depth when considering his hefty contract. The Blue Jays -- pending any negotiations with the Yankees- would be on the hook for the remainder of his $21 million salary for this year.
On the subject of financial implications, lets not forget the Auburn alumni's current battle with the Canadian Revenue Agency over retirement funds. Why return to a country whose government is causing you legal woes?
In summary, the time Donaldson and the Blue Jays previously spent together was like a dream. However, it would be a far-fetched dream which would see the organization go down the same road, with the outcome more likely to be a nightmare.
NB - All statistics in this article are up to and including June 25.