Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson has been acquired by the Indians, the clubs confirmed Friday. While Donaldson cleared revocable trade waivers earlier in the week, it was not immediately clear where he was headed as the Cardinals, Phillies, Braves, and Yankees were also thought to be in the mix for his services. The Blue Jays will take on a player to be named later in exchange for the veteran infielder, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that the team is expected to pony up another $2.7 million of Donaldson’s salary as well.
It’s been touch-and-go with the three-time All-Star this year, especially in light of his lengthy recovery from a calf injury sustained in late May. When healthy, Donaldson slashed a robust .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and 5.1 fWAR for the club in 2017 and was even nominated for NL MVP, but he’s effectively remained on the shelf for the bulk of 2018 after starting the year with a .234/.333/.423 batting line through his first 159 plate appearances.
Now that Donaldson has officially started in on a rehab stint, however, a return to the field during the last month of the season doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. Assuming he proves both healthy and effective at the plate, as he has been in years past, the 32-year-old slugger figures to make a significant impact in a lineup that already boasts Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and Edwin Encarnacion at its core. His acquisition should also give the Indians greater flexibility out on the field, where current third baseman Ramirez might be able to shift back to second base and second baseman Jason Kipnis could be reassigned to the outfield.