There are more than a few MLB clubs that are a little frustrated with the events leading up to and following Josh Donaldson’s trade from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Cleveland Indians.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, American League teams in the playoff hunt such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees voiced their displeasure to the commissioner’s office, while a number of other teams wanted clarification on why the deal was allowed to go through.
You can’t really blame them either, as rules were bent to make this deal happen and allow Donaldson to still have the opportunity to play in the postseason despite the fact he hasn’t appeared in a big-league game since May 28 due to a calf injury.
But the Jays and Indians needed to get the deal done by the Aug. 31 deadline, Donaldson’s health be damned. If they didn’t make this deal, they would have risked losing him for nothing during the offseason. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the No. 1 prospect in baseball, ready to make his big league debut next season, Toronto wasn’t planning on keeping Donaldson around, and the 2015 AL MVP likely would have scoffed at a one-year qualifying offer if it was tabled.
Cleveland, meanwhile, needed to pull the trigger by the deadline to ensure they’d be able to utilize the third baseman’s services once he was truly healthy again and playoffs kicked off in October.
So began a pretty suspect 48 hours.
The Blue Jays and MLB deemed Donaldson healthy enough to play on Aug. 29 — the same day he began his rehab assignment — which is necessary for a player to be placed on revocable trade waivers. This came after Donaldson and the Blue Jays disputed whether he really was fit to play at a major league level, with both sides eventually agreeing that he was.
After the trade went down the Indians had to toss Donaldson to their active roster right away. Those are just the rules. It’s the next part that other teams have had a problem with.
A short three days after the trade and following an assessment by Cleveland’s medical staff, the 32-year-old went back on the disabled list and began another rehab assignment. Which begs the question, was he truly “healthy” enough to be traded before the deadline?
As Rosenthal states in his article, “no rival executive would have squawked if the deal had occurred after Sept. 1.” However, if Donaldson produces for the Indians in the postseason and helps them make a run to the World Series, the complaints from other teams become all the more understandable.
Plain and simple, the events surrounding this trade have been a little shady.
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