Tag Archives: Donaldson

Josh Donaldson has regrets about departure from Jays, makes 1st return since 2018 trade

Josh Donaldson didn’t want to let emotions dictate his response to the trade last September that capped his months-long, relationship-straining saga with the Toronto Blue Jays.

But nearly a year later, the 2015 AL MVP admitted he still has some regrets about how his tenure in Toronto ended.

The Blue Jays traded Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 1, 2018 after the star third baseman played just 36 games for Toronto due to injury.

Donaldson, who spent four years as a Blue Jay, returned to Toronto Tuesday with his new team — the Atlanta Braves — for the first time since being shipped off to Cleveland. 

“I think what probably nags at me the most is just kinda how my career finished here in Toronto, not even able to play at the time, trying to fight as hard as I could to get back,” Donaldson told a large group of reporters before Tuesday’s game.

WATCH | Blue Jays beat Atlanta in Donaldson’s return:

Toronto’s two runs in the first inning were enough in its 3-1 win over Atlanta. 1:31

Toronto won Tuesday’s game 3-1 and Donaldson went 0 for 4. 

‘It wasn’t working out’

“It wasn’t working out. And then how everything transpired was something that — it’s tough. At the end of the day you try to separate it as a business, but as a human being it can be tough. We do get frustrated and we do have other emotions that come about it.

“I’m very understanding of what’s going on. Even though things didn’t work out the way necessarily I wanted it to, I’m glad I was able to bounce back this year and I knew that I was capable of doing that.”

The Blue Jays honoured Donaldson with a video tribute before Tuesday’s first pitch, showcasing a montage of his big hits and defensive plays set to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins — the song he famously used as his walk-up music.

Donaldson, who was on the field doing his pre-game warmup when the video began, tipped his cap to the crowd as he was showered with a loud standing ovation.

Donaldson said before the game that he wasn’t sure how he’d react to the planned tribute.

“It’s kinda hard to talk about what’s going to happen,” he said. “There’s definitely been some emotional times through my career here and to be able to see it on the video board, I’m sure it will be something that will bring some type of emotion out for sure.”

Donaldson had a monster first year with the Blue Jays, earning the 2015 AL MVP award — the first Toronto player to win the honour since George Bell in 1987 — after hitting .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs. He also had 41 doubles and a .568 slugging percentage to help Toronto end a 22-year playoff drought and reach the American League Championship Series before falling to the Kansas City Royals.

Josh Donaldson was traded to the Cleveland Indians last September after four years with the Toronto Blue Jays. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

He shone again in 2016 as Toronto made its second straight appearance in the ALCS, but injuries soon took a toll on him over the next two seasons, and the then-pending free agent’s trade value plummeted as he languished on the injured list through most of 2018.

With the Braves, however, Donaldson has been enjoying a renaissance season. He came into Tuesday’s game batting .262 with a .910 on-base-plus slugging percentage and 32 home runs.

He attributes his bounce-back year to two major things — a strict plant-based diet that he finds helps him deal with inflammation buildup, and his reunion with former Blue Jays head trainer George Poulis and assistant trainer Mike Frostad (now both on the Braves athletic staff), who worked with Donaldson in 2015 and 2016.

‘Sometime you have to learn through mistakes’

“They kept me on the field for a long time, 2015, 2016 I played 155 games every year,” Donaldson said. “Things started to change here in 2017 and ’18 and it might work for some guys and I hope that it does, it didn’t work for me.

“And sometimes you have to learn through mistakes and I’m fortunate to have gotten through that and continue to go out here and now help the Atlanta Braves win.”

The Braves, led by former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, signed Donaldson to a one-year deal in November.

With Atlanta sitting atop the NL East entering its two-game interleague series in Toronto this week, it looks as though Donaldson will be part of another strong World Series contender.

And while he’s happy to be contributing to the Braves’ playoff drive now, he still thinks about that 2015 run with the Blue Jays and what it did to the city of Toronto.

“That was one of the most special years I’ve been a part of,” Donaldson said. “The city was on fire, it was electric. To be able to be a part of that is special and it’s [something] you won’t ever forget.”

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Josh Donaldson says leaving Jays is 'difficult to the extreme'

Josh Donaldson admits it's tough to say goodbye to the Toronto Blue Jays.

“It’s … been difficult to the extreme that I am leaving an organization that I was very much a big part of,” the new Cleveland Indians third baseman said Sunday in an introductory press conference after a trade on Friday.

"I had some quality years there that I'm not going to forget. But I'm also looking forward to trying to help this team win and moving forward as well."

Watch the full press conference:

Watch the full press conference as Josh Donaldson meets with the press in Cleveland. 7:44

The Blue Jays dealt the 2015 AL MVP to the Indians for a player to be named later, continuing a rebuild process that has seen the team cut ties with some of its biggest stars from the 2015-16 playoff squads.

Donaldson has been out of the Blue Jays lineup since late May, dealing with a nagging calf injury. He played in a rehab game with single-A Dunedin on Tuesday, allowing the Blue Jays to place Donaldson on waivers and trade him prior to Friday's deadline for players to become eligible to join a post-season roster.

"If I was writing a book, it's not how I would have wanted it to go, but hopefully it has a happy ending," said Donaldson, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Reunited with Encarnacion

Donaldson did not provide a timeline for his return, but seemed to indicate he won't be out too much longer.

"I feel very good about where I'm at right now," said Donaldson, who took batting practice and worked out with the Indians before Sunday's game. "I'd rather not talk about it. I'd rather you just be able to see it and make a judgement for yourself."

In Cleveland, Donaldson reunites with former Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion. The two were seen talking in the dugout after Donaldson arrived Saturday night.

"We had a lot of fond memories together as teammates … I'm sure if you asked him as well, we're excited about creating some new ones," Donaldson said.

While the ending in Toronto was anything but perfect, Donaldson said he's happy to be in Cleveland.

"I was excited because of the players you have in this clubhouse and how they've been able to have success throughout the years," he said. "I'm also excited [because] if you probably go look back at my numbers in this ballpark, they're pretty nice. I'm glad I'm going into a situation where I've had success before."

Addition causes some uncertainty

The 32-year-old Donaldson batted .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs this season for the Blue Jays. He hasn't played since May 28 because of the calf injury. He also was out from April 11-May 2 with a shoulder problem.

Donaldson's addition will cause position changes. Jose Ramirez will move from third to second and Jason Kipnis, the starting second baseman, will begin taking fly balls in centre field.

Antonetti acknowledged the situation will lead to uncertainty, especially since it isn't clear when Donaldson will be ready.

"They're obviously tied together," he said. "All three guys with Kip, Josh and Jose. All of their plans are interdependent. Once we have an idea what Josh's plan will be, that will inform our conversations with Jason and Jose."

The Indians begin a four-game series in Toronto on Thursday.

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Blue Jays GM feels Donaldson trade was 'best decision' for team's future

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 $ 18 US million and received a compensatory draft pick if he signed elsewhere.

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 hints at solid return

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.

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Blue Jays trade Josh Donaldson to Cleveland: reports

Josh Donaldson, a former American League MVP who hasn't played in the majors since May 28 due to a left calf strain, reportedly was dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that the Blue Jays placed the 32-year-old third baseman on waivers, and Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported Friday evening that a deal was completed with the Indians.

It was not immediately known what Toronto received in the trade.

If Donaldson is on Cleveland's 40-man roster as of Aug. 31, he would be eligible for post-season play with his new team.

Donaldson made two rehab appearances for high Class-A Dunedin this week, going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI on Tuesday, then 1-for-3 with a solo homer on Thursday.

The 2015 American League MVP has played in just 36 major league games for Toronto this season, hitting .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. He is making $ 23 million US this year before becoming a free agent in the off-season.

Watch Donaldson receive the AL MVP award:

George Bell presents the award to the Toronto Blue Jays 3rd baseman. 1:39

Donaldson is in the midst of his second disabled-list stint of the season. Talk that he might be dealt ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline died down when he remained sidelined.

A three-time all-star, Donaldson owns a career .275 average with 179 home runs and 544 RBIs in eight major league seasons. He broke into the majors with the Oakland A's in 2010 as a catcher/first baseman. He was dealt to Toronto in a November 2014 deal that sent infielders Brett Lawrie and Franklin Barreto and pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin to Oakland.

Donaldson had hit 30-plus home runs three years in a row entering this season, including 41 during his MVP campaign.

Granderson​ to Brewers

The Jays also traded Curtis Granderson, 37, to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

In exchange Toronto received 21-year-old Demi Orimoloye, a minor-league outfielder from Orleans, Ont.

Granderson joined the Jays on a one-year deal in January for $ 5 million US.

This year Granderson has hit .243 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs through 103 games. 

While Orimoloye has hit .247 in single-A, including 12 home runs and 55 RBIs in 125 games.

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Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays agree to record deal

Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed Friday to a $ 23 million US contract, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player.

The 32-year-old, a three-time all-star, topped the one-year, $ 21,625,000 deal covering 2018 agreed to last May by outfielder Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals.

Donaldson, the 2015 American League MVP, got a $ 6 million raise after rebounding from an injury slowed 2016 to hit .270 last season in 113 games with 33 homers and 78 runs batted in. The sure-handed infielder missed time from April 14 through May 25 with a calf injury, which also hampered him during spring training.

Donaldson was coming off a two-year, $ 28.65 million deal. He is eligible for free agency after this season.

Toronto also agreed to one-year deals with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera ($ 1.9 million) and left-hander Aaron Loup ($ 1,812,500).

Carrera earned $ 1,162,500 last season, when the 30-year-old Venezuelan played every outfield spot and batted .282 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in a career-high 131 games for the Blue Jays — 91 of those in left field.

Toronto’s other arbitration-eligible players are right-handers Dominic Leone, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, outfielder Kevin Pillar and second baseman Devon Travis.

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