With the deadline for waiver trades fast approaching, the Toronto Blue Jays pulled the ripcord and traded third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians, Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan reports.
Donaldson, 32, has a career .275/.366/.507 triple slash, and is a top tier third baseman when he’s healthy. He won the MVP in 2015 when he hit .297/.371/.568 and slugged 41 home runs. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting three other times. He’s also been an All-Star three times and won two Silver Slugger awards.
But Donaldson’s last few seasons have been plagued by injury. He missed 39 games in 2017 with a right calf strain, and while he returned in late May, he didn’t really heat up until August. He’s been limited to just 36 games in 2018, going down in late May with left calf tightness. He started a rehab assignment at the end of June, but suffered a setback and has been out ever since. However he just started another rehab assignment, and despite sitting out one of his first games with calf and leg soreness, he appears to be making progress.
Josh Donaldson hit a home run in his first at-bat in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment at Class A Dunedin. Grounded out in second AB.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 30, 2018
Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million contract with the Blue Jays in January, which means he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season. Even if he isn’t the same Josh Donaldson when he returns from the disabled list, he’s worth taking a chance on for the next month or so. He could definitely help out the Indians, and they definitely need it.
Why Josh Donaldson makes sense for the Indians
Despite his recent injury history, the Indians are gambling on Donaldson because they’ll need an offensive boost for the playoffs. Their pitching is in tatters, and despite the offensive production of Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Michael Brantley, the team could use offensive production from second base, right field, and designated hitter. Adding Donaldson means adding a reliable bat to that mix. And with a 14-game lead in the American League Central, they don’t need Donaldson immediately. A timeline devoid of pressure could be what Donaldson needs to return to health and productivity.
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