By: Noah Wright
Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press
Entering The 2018 Season, many fans expected The Blue Jays to trade star third baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is on the last year of his contract, and was surrounded by rumors for most of the off season. However, his value has took a decline since the beginning of the season. So with this decline in value, what would a team be willing to give-up for Donaldson?
First, let's take a look on why his value has went down. The biggest culprit is injures. Donaldson has only played in 36 games this season. The 2015 MVP hit the DL in mid April with shoulder issues. Since then, Donaldson has been placed on The DL again, and hasn’t seen playing time since late may. Most recently, he suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder inflammation, which will likely push his date of return further down the line. Another thing that’s hurting his value is that he had not done well in the few games he’s played in. On the season, Donaldson has a .234/.333/.423 line with just 5 homers, 16 RBI’s, and 106 wRC+ in 159 plate appearances, which nearly all are career lows, aside from his 14 game sample in 2010, his debut season.
Though Donaldson’s value is fairly low right now, he’s still been a good line-up producer when he is fully healthy, and gets consistent playing time. Though he was unhealthy for parts of last season, only playing 113 total games, Donaldson still produced a quality .270/.385/.559 line with 33 homers, 78 runs batted in, and 149 wRC+. Donaldson’s value is also helped by the fact that he’s still a quality defender. Sure he may have only -.1 defensive WAR, but he has only seen 225 innings in the field. He still had a .5 dWAR in 2017, and a .4 dWAR in 2016, while also rating positively in DRS and UZR in both seasons.
So what exactly is Donaldson worth? Donaldson’s likeliest suitors include The Braves, Phillies, and The Cardinals. Each team, especially The Braves, have a good farm system. If Donaldson can see some consistent playing time after coming off The DL, along with some decent performance, his value will likely increase. At this point of the season, I do not think that Donaldson brings back a top 100 prospect, for he is a rental, and previously stated injuries and slumps. However, The Blue Jays may be able to squeeze out a mid-level guy out of Donaldson. A desperate team though could be willing to spend more for the former MVP third basemen.