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.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.
Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.
The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.
Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.