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Blue Jays to put Josh Donaldson on waivers, reportedly “want him gone”

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Blue Jays are planning to place Josh Donaldson on revocable trade waivers Thursday because “they want [him] gone.”

It’s nothing personal, of course. Rosenthal says they simply do not want to have to decide whether or not to give the former AL MVP a qualifying offer this fall when he hits free agency. Because, heck, he might take it given how lost a 2018 season he has had. Donaldson has not appeared in a major-league game since May 28 due to a left-calf injury, cratering his trade value to the Jays and putting in question what kind of a deal he could get as a free agent. Ideally, if you’re the Blue Jays, you want to give him a qualifying offer in order to get the draft pick and thank him for his service as he signs elsewhere rather than pay him $18 million or whatever it will be for him to play on a rebuilding team in 2019.

Donaldson is now playing rehab games and, barring any setbacks, will soon be ready for big league play again. Given the Jays’ desire to unload him it would not be at all shocking to see someone make a claim on him via waivers or, in the event he clears waivers, to see many teams try to acquire him via a trade. It would be expensive if they did so — Donaldson is owed about $4 million for the remainder of the season — but if he’s healthy he could prove to be a useful bat down the stretch.

Donaldson, who turns 33 in December, has only hit .234/.333/.423 in limited action this year, but over the previous three years with the Jays he hit .285/.387/.559 while averaging 37 homers and 100 RBI, along with winning that MVP Award.

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.