Barring catastrophe, the Blue Jays will trade veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson before tonight’s 11:59 PM postseason eligibility deadline. Toronto appears fully committed to moving the former MVP. In an exciting turn of events, Steve Phillips reports that the Yankees are indeed in the mix for a Donaldson trade.
Donaldson, 32, has had a disastrous 2018 season. A plethora of injuries have limited the slugger to just 36 games. Over that period, he hit .234/.333/.423 with five home runs. He’s currently participating in rehab games after a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a calf injury. That said, he’s just two years removed from a 155 wRC+ season. There’s no doubting that if healthy, Donaldson is an impact bat.
A few questions loom here. First, where would the Yankees play him? The easy answer is first base, He has limited experience at the position, but he would represent an enormous upgrade over the current option. Luke Voit is having a fun little time, but I have my doubts that he can keep that up down the stretch. Greg Bird, meanwhile, has been an blackhole at the plate. Donaldson would give the team a legitimate bat at first, something New York has lacked for nearly three years.
Then comes the question of finances. An impending free agent, Donaldson is owed the prorated portion of his $23 million contract. Various reports have placed that just under $4 million, which exceeds the remaining budget the Yankees have. They’re dead-set on sliding under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. Toronto would have to eat salary, and in exchange would demand better prospects in return. I’m not sure if that’s something Brian Cashman is interested in doing.
Realistically, the Yankees acquiring Donaldson is a long shot. There exist way too many hurdles and competitors. It’s an interesting idea, though, and just maybe they get something done. That would be a pretty great coup.