Josh Donaldson is reuniting with Edwin Encarnacion, and the Indians are suddenly a terrifying team.
OFFICIAL: We will receive a player to be named later from the @Indians in exchange for 3B Josh Donaldson.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 1, 2018
It was reported right at the waiver deadline that the 2015 MVP was being traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a PTBNL.
For the BlueJays, a lot depends on who they get in exchange for Donaldson to determine if this move was good or not. Donaldson is set to hit free agency at the conclusion of this season, and he’s repeatedly expressed interest in staying with Toronto.
Really though, at the end of the day, there are few if any players that can possibly compensate for someone whose finished top 4 in MVP voting 3 times in the last 6 years. The BlueJays expected to be contenders this year, but that plan fell to shit, and they waited too long to sell Donaldson and didn’t get nearly enough for him. Even if Toronto got Cleveland’s number 1 prospect, Triston McKenzie, the Indians would be walking away with a steal.
This trade just kind of sums up Toronto’s season: A major disappointment. Donaldson has only played a month of baseball, Tulowitzki hasn’t played at all, Stroman and Sanchez have missed time, Osuna was suspended, the list of grievances goes on. On the bright side, at least you have Vladdy jr.
$63 million dollars bought the Blue Jays a whole season without Troy Tulowitzki, 36 games of an enigmatically injured Josh Donaldson, and a .199 hitting Russell Martin playing third base.
— Ari Shapiro (@ari_shapiro) August 30, 2018
On the other end, Cleveland is getting the best rental infielder possible for just one prospect and a few million dollars. Little needs to be said about Josh Donaldson in terms of the impact his bat has. From 2013 to 2017, he’s hit the 6th most homeruns (164) of any player, batted towards the 10th best OPS (.901), and accumulated the 2nd highest fWAR (34.1). In his 3 years prior to 2018 with Toronto, he batted .285 with 111 HR and a .946 OPS.
His numbers are down this year, but they’re still not bad, and it’s largely been in part to injuries. Regardless, with Jose Ramirez to move over to second base, Donaldson will be a major upgrade from Jason Kipnis, and his upside is as good as anyone’s in baseball, especially in the playoffs.
Cleveland’s front 5 of their playoff lineup will now look something to the effect of:
- Lindor (.886 OPS, 29 HR, 22 SB)
- Brantley (.824 OPS, 14 HR, 8 SB)
- Ramirez (.996 OPS, 37 HR, 29 SB)
- Encarnacion (.805 OPS, 29 HR)
Oh, and that’s not to mention a rotation that features:
- Corey Kluber (17-7, 2.80 ERA)
- Mike Clevinger (10-7, 3.17 ERA)
- Trevor Bauer (12-6, 2.22 ERA)
- Carlos Carrasco (16-7, 3.38 ERA)
And, I guess that’s not to mention Andrew Miller, Brad Hand, and Oliver Perez all coming out of the bullpen. In short: The Indians are now arguably the scariest team in the American League, and should not be taken lightly anymore.