Three years ago, the New York Yankees tried to get Josh Donaldson in a trade. But the Toronto Blue Jays beat them to the punch and pried him from the Oakland A’s.
With the Blue Jays in last place and not looking like they could be a contender this year, Toronto might be in sell mode. Over the last two years, Toronto lost out on David Price and Edwin Encarnacion. They kept Jose Bautista for at least one more year, but it’s not long term.
The Blue Jays mortgaged their future when they acquired Price and Troy Tulowitzki two years ago. They also mortgaged it when they got Donaldson as well. Toronto’s system is pretty depleted from all of the moves they made. So them considering moving Donaldson this summer would make sense.
Where do the Yankees fit into this? Reports have said that the Yankees could be a potential player for Donaldson’s services at the trade deadline.
The Yankees already have a serviceable third baseman in Chase Headley. Headley has played well this year, but Donaldson would clearly be an upgrade in the lineup. Headley is signed on for this year and next year with the Yankees. So if the Yankees were serious about getting Donaldson, Headley might have to move elsewhere.
The Yankees did get trade inquiries on Headley in the offseason, but didn’t have a need to move him. Getting Donaldson could end up forcing the Yankees hand in that. They also have Gleyber Torres in the minors as well, who’s on the fast track to the majors.
Torres though could play other positions in the infield, so he wouldn’t be blocked by a trade like this.
Now, the Yankees don’t have an extreme need for Donaldson considering they’re a playoff contender as is. Donaldson would likely push them from a potential contender into a serious one.
But Donaldson would cost the Yankees, as trying to trade with a division rival won’t come easy. Nor, would it come cheap either.
Donaldson has been on the disabled list with a calf strain, but he’s expected back in June. Despite that, Donaldson’s been an MVP candidate for the last four seasons. Donaldson, in fact, won the A.L. MVP Award back in the 2015 season. Getting Donaldson means that the Yankees would have to make a decision. That decision would be on what prospects they’d need to part with.
Do they move Clint Frazier? Or even Torres? Maybe Justus Sheffield or James Kaprielian? Toronto needs prospects to re-load a farm system. Their system got dissected over the last two years.
A fire sale seems likely in Toronto since they don’t look like they’ll be playing baseball in October again. Meanwhile, the Yankees look the part of a playoff contender in 2017.
Josh Donaldson could make the Yankees into a legitimate contender in October. With him under contract until at least 2018, he’d be more than just a rental. He’d be a solid investment for at least two seasons.
But again, Donaldson would mean the Yankees have to make a decision on their farm system. Brian Cashman has the pieces needed that he didn’t three years ago when he wanted Donaldson from Oakland.
Cashman has two months to make a decision. But a deal for Josh Donaldson could swing things in the Yankees favor by the time postseason baseball rolls around.