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

Forestry Hockey League Highlights: Week 17

Bear Communications and Fraser River GM notch key wins

British Columbia Rodeo Association releases tentative 2019 schedule

The BCRA season opens with the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo April 26-28, comes to Quesnel July 19-21

Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre wins $500 for Deeds Well Done

There were 28 nominations to the campaign in Quesnel

Quesnel Thunder Peewees win silver at home

The host hockey team beat squads from Northwest District, Kamloops, Smithers and Prince George

Quesnel’s 27th annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run attracting mushers from as far as Montana

Participantss will be sworn in as official Canada Post mail carriers Jan. 25 in Quesnel

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Most Read