Blue Jays GM feels Donaldson trade was ‘best decision’ for team’s future

2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson was traded to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, right reacts with first base coach Tim Leiper, left, after hitting a RBI single to defeat the Kansas City Royals during 11th inning AL baseball action in Toronto on Friday, July 31, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The Toronto Blue Jays decided moving Josh Donaldson now was a better idea than holding onto a star third baseman with an uncertain future.

That was the message from Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins in a conference call with reporters on Saturday, one day after rebuilding Toronto traded the injury-plagued 2015 AL MVP to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later.

“Josh is an incredible player and will continue to be a great player … As we weighed our alternatives, it just came down to us feeling this was the best (move) for us in the moment,” Atkins said.

Out of the lineup since late May with a calf injury, Donaldson returned for a rehab game on Tuesday night with single-A Dunedin. That allowed the Blue Jays to place Donaldson on waivers and potentially trade him prior to Friday’s deadline for players to be moved and still be eligible for a post-season roster.

If they didn’t trade Donaldson on Friday, the Jays could have made a qualifying offer of around US$18 million and received a compensatory draft pick if he signed elsewhere.

READ MORE: Blue Jays trade suspended Osuna to Houston in closer swap

While Atkins did not mention it, one factor in the decision could have been the emergence of fellow third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the top prospect in baseball. He’s expected to join the Jays in late April next year, allowing Toronto to maintain Guerrero’s contract rights for an additional season.

“I think every decision we make, we weigh the potential risk and upside and decided ultimately this was the best thing for the organization as we considered our alternatives with Josh,” Atkins said. “We feel very good about the return. Ultimately, we felt it was the best decision for our future.”

Atkins would not name the player to be named later, but said it has been agreed upon by both teams. Right-hander Julian Merryweather has been mentioned as a possible candidate in several reports. He needed Tommy John surgery after an elbow injury in the spring.

“What I can tell you is that we’re excited about the return,” Atkins said. “It’s a near-term prospect we feel can impact our major-league team in a significant way.”

Atkins said there was no animosity between the Jays and Donaldson for the player’s decision to follow his own training program in the off-season or how his rehab was handled. He also said there was no pressure from the Jays organization for Donaldson to return to the field, something that had to happen for the third baseman to be placed on waivers.

“We were not pressuring him to play,” Atkins said. “Josh was driving his timeline entirely leading us to when he wanted to play. We followed his lead on that.”

Donaldson hinted at frustration in an interview with the Toronto Sun this week, saying “There’s a lot I can say about that (Blue Jays management), but I choose not to say anything about it right now.”

Atkins, who came to Toronto from the Indians organization along with Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, said the deal with Cleveland offered the best return. He said they were in solid talks with four teams.

“It was a very difficult decision for us,” Atkins said.

The Indians play a four-game series in Toronto starting Thursday.

Donaldson will reunite with former Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion in Cleveland.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Expect delays on Highway 1 west of Golden due to vehicle fire

Expect delays while driving Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. Drive BC… Continue reading

Your weekly Mountain Minute

Golden’s weekly 60-secon news recap for February 14

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

King and Spring return to Golden this weekend

The Snow King and Lady Spring return to the Valley this weekend,… Continue reading

Find out what the Golden community is up to

I hope that this column finds you someplace cozy and warm and… Continue reading

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read