The Toronto Blue Jays are running out of time to move 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson.
Donaldson, who is set to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday, must be placed on revocable waivers and traded by Friday in order to be eligible to appear in the playoffs for a new team.
ESPN’s Buster Olney believes that, given his injury-plagued last two seasons, Donaldson holds almost no value on the trade market. Still, he argues it may still be for the best for the Blue Jays to part with the third baseman for whatever they can receive.
Olney was asked by TSN Radio 1050 Toronto on Tuesday what the best-case scenario for the Blue Jays was with Donaldson and he painted a bleak picture.
“That they save a little bit of money,” Olney said bluntly. “And the other part is, is that potentially they can move past the conversation about whether or not they’re going to retain him for 2019. Because at this point, it clearly doesn’t make sense for the Blue Jays given where they’re at [and] given how much he’s been hurt the last couple of years.
“Of their last 293 games over the last two seasons, he’s played in less than half – 139. He hasn’t played since the end of May [and] he’s got [about] $4 million remaining on his contract for the rest of this year. There’s no chance any team is going to claim him. He’ll pass through waivers and at that point – and I talked with executives of other teams who basically are telling me, ‘Look, you can’t even think about investing anything serious in the guy.’ A, he hasn’t played, and B, it’s very possible given his recent history that he would get hurt and you wouldn’t recoup any value.
“I do think that because of his experience as a hitter, because he’s demonstrated that he’s a big-stage guy, in a big moment he can give you something – I do think that there will be teams that will be interested in him. But, the Blue Jays, presumably, would have to pay down almost all the money and not really get anything good in return.
“One of the benefits for the Blue Jays is if you move Donaldson now, then you don’t have his status hanging over you as go into the off-season and all the knuckleheads like me are asking whether or not they’re going to tender a qualifying offer.”
Olney added that he doubts Donaldson, 32, would get an offer worth more than the roughly $18 million qualifying offer on the free-agent market.
Donaldson has appeared in just 36 games this season and posted a .234 average with five home runs and 16 RBI. In 113 games last season, he had a .270 average with 33 home runs and 78 RBI.
He’s been sidelined for the past three months due to a calf injury, but has also dealt with shoulder and arm issues this season.
The Blue Jays (60-71) sit 18.5 games back of the final wild-card spot in the American League and are poised to miss the postseason for the second straight year.