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The case against trading Josh Donaldson

MLB: ALCS-Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Cole made the case for trading Josh Donaldson, I’m taking the anti side.

The window?

This year the Blue Jays made the playoff, and got to the ALCS, with a rather average offense, because our pitching and defense was very good. Our starting rotation should be as very good again next year. The only change is replacing the weakest member of the rotation with Francisco Liriano. I’m hoping the front office adds some depth to the rotation, but I’m not expecting it to become terrible over the winter.

On defense, we led the AL in defensive efficiency, and we should only get better, with, perhaps, a better defensive right fielder. If you like ‘pitching and defense’, we should have the team for you.

Losing Jose and Edwin would be a bad thing for our offense, but they can be replaced. I have a hard time believing that an offense built around Donaldson, Tulo and Travis couldn’t be at least average, again, with the addition of a couple of decent bats. I’d love us to be a little less right-handed heavy, but the front office has all winter to work on that.

I don’t see that the window for making the playoffs is sure to close, as least this year.


The Jays led the AL in attendance this year and TV ratings were way up. I don’t think that Rogers would like that to end. Trading Donaldson (along with losing Jose and Edwin) would be telling fans to go away. I’m pretty sure that Rogers wouldn’t like to go back to the days of struggling to average 20,000 fans a game.

Considering that Josh is going to be underpaid (in baseball terms) for the next two seasons, I can’t imagine Rogers letting Ross and Mark trade away the guy that will be the face of the team, if Jose is gone.

Trading at the peak

To me, the best argument for trading Josh is that his trade value will never be higher. As a long time player of OOTP Baseball, I’m a huge fan of trading guys ‘a year too soon’ instead of ‘a year too late’.

But I do think there is a value in keeping some ties to the past. I’m not a huge believer in ‘leadership’ or ‘chemistry’, but I’m a baseball fan, I do have some belief in superstition. Josh has been with the team for 2 years, and we’ve made the playoffs for 2 years. I hate screwing something up that is working.

I think that Donaldson’s defense is likely to decline, over the next two or three years, and I’m imagining that there is a shift across the diamond in his future. But I don’t think that his offense will decline as fast. I can see his bat working, even if he has to move to first base or DH spot for the next several years.


If the Jays trade Josh to rebuild, they really have to trade Happ, Estrada, Tulo and Martin too. Trading just Donaldson isn’t really rebuilding. You move Josh, you really should move them all.

The Jays have some good young players that they could rebuild around. Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman should be a good top of the rotation for many years to come. Roberto Osuna looks to be our closer for at least as long (not that I don’t think he could be a good member of the rotation too). Conner Greene and Sean Reid-Foley look like they could fight their way into the rotation in a couple of years. Anthony Alford and Rowdy Tellez are getting close too, add in Vlad Jr and our future looks pretty good.

And just for me, as a Blue Jays fan

If we we are going to lose Bautista and Encarnacion, I really would like to have Josh to cheer for.

Make your own case to trade or not trade Donaldson in the thread below.