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

Trail COP seeking volunteers

There is no direct interaction; all suspicious or criminal activity is reported to the RCMP

West Trail to get majority of upcoming road repairs

Year One of pavement restoration program underway in Trail

Trail: Before and After

The 80-year old Union Hotel is now completely torn down

Trail police report more thefts

Trail and Greater district RCMP officers can be reached at 250.364.2566

West Kootenay ‘A’ Orioles enter Districts as top seed

West Kootenay A Orioles poised to compete in the Spokane American Legion District tournament

VIDEO: Plant-based burgers may not be as healthy as they seem

Both the Impossible and Beyond Burger have more saturated fat than beef burgers

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Lower gas prices slow annual inflation rate to Bank of Canada’s 2% bull’s-eye

Prices showed strength in other areas — led by a 17.3 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

B.C. moves to preserve 54 of its biggest, oldest trees

Fir, cedar, spruce, pine, yew set aside from logging

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Most Read