MLB Trade Deadline rumors are flying, but the Toronto Blue Jays would be making a mistake if they traded Josh Donaldson
It seems impossible for people to agree on just how the Toronto Blue Jays will approach the July 31st Trade Deadline. The front office continues to tell the world that they are interested in adding pieces in an effort to facilitate winning this year and beyond. Yet, we continue to be assaulted by trade rumors involving some significant pieces to their roster. We’d heard that Marcus Stroman was of interest to other clubs, which wouldn’t make sense for Toronto.
As annoyingly nonsensical as that one is, there is another that has been floated:
Our @Buster_ESPN tells @NaylorLandsberg that Shapiro/Atkins are prepared to make a "hard right-hand turn into retooling or rebuilding"
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) July 4, 2017
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 5, 2017
Now, thankfully, Andrew Stoeten (Blue Jays Nation) already ripped this tweet a new one, so we don’t need to get into the ridiculousness of Morosi’s claim. Instead, we’ll focus on the actual idea of trading the Bringer of Rain.
Already, Paul Taylor of Tip of the Tower wrote that the ‘time is right to trade Donaldson‘. With all due respect to Taylor, he doesn’t really offer up a solid justification for why the time is right other than ‘get what you can’. So, really, all we have so far is Morosi and others trying to capitalize on the increased clicks that come from the Trade Deadline. And, the argument could be made that that is what is going on here in this piece as well. The bottom line is that if things like this are going to be thrown around, we have to be able to apply good old fashioned logic to it. So, let’s do that, shall we?
Firstly, let’s state that the Blue Jays’ front office would not be doing their jobs properly if they didn’t at least listen to offers for every single player in their organization. But, listening doesn’t mean much. Gauging the market is just smart business. So, should the Cardinals approach Ross Atkins on Donaldson – something that there is no evidence of them doing – Atkins would certainly be smart to say ‘what are you offering’ before he hung up the phone.
And, that’s exactly the way the phone call should go: with the Blue Jays hanging up. Trading Josh Donaldson would be a mistake.
The same reasons why fans would drool over the package that would come to Toronto is the same reason to hold on to Donaldson. He is one of the best players in the league, plain and simple. Even if we throw out his numbers with the Oakland A’s, which you shouldn’t, you have a guy that could net you some pretty decent talent.
|7 Yr||7 Yr||7 Yr||760||3279||477||784||167||149||470||375||608||.276||.364||.501||.865|
The Bringer of Rain has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in each of the last 4 seasons. I know, I know, his production is exactly why he would bring in a boatload of talent for Toronto (we all know that he’s struggling a bit right now and that that is not really the player he is). It is also why they should keep him. Think about it. This team is in a sort of Trade Deadline limbo. They have a roster full of talent that is locked in for the next couple years. Troy Tulowitzki is the perfect example. His contract is not going anywhere. Think about Russell Martin.
They also have a young core in Roberto Osuna (who is NOT going anywhere), Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. You can throw Kevin Pillar in that group also. There are commitments on this roster that force the Blue Jays to commit to trying to win not just this year, but in 2018 and maybe even 2019. That means that Toronto will need Donaldson’s presence to help them compete.
Should the Blue Jays lose their minds and trade Donaldson, who in the world would fill his shoes?! They aren’t going to replace him one for one. So, they would be taking a step back at third base, and in their lineup. Do we expect that Jake Elmore or Jason Leblebijian could fill the void? Likely not. Trading Donaldson would make this team weaker, which is the exact opposite of what management has said a million times is their goal.
As frustrating as this season has been, it doesn’t make any sense to get caught up in the traditional approach to the Trade Deadline. Typically, a team that is not competing looks to move major assets for a collection of talent. In a normal world that would make sense for the Blue Jays. The problem is that the club has created a world that isn’t exactly normal. The way this roster is constructed (including its positional depth), trading off one or two pieces doesn’t really do anything.
In order to follow the traditional approach to the Deadline, the Blue Jays would need to sell off way more pieces than just Josh Donaldson. It would mean moving Jose Bautista, Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano and others. It would mean an entire tear down. That would be the only situation that would make trading Donaldson make sense.
The problem is that the Blue Jays are not in that place. They aren’t looking to take a massive step back this July. At the time of writing, they sit 8.5 games back of the division and 4.5 of a Wild Card spot. That type of deficit is not impossible to overcome, by any means. But, many have written this season off. And, even if that is the case, injuries, etc have created that situation. That shouldn’t write off next season, though.
Retooling for next year could happen in the offseason, if the Blue Jays really decide that they are out of things this year. But, you can’t reasonably say that this roster, aging as it is, is out of it for the next couple of years. The front office certainly wouldn’t think so. They’ll be looking to make one more run in 2018, at the very least. In order to do that, they’ll need Josh Donaldson. Trading him now would be a mistake.
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