It’s expected that Indians right-hander Julian Merryweather will be the player they eventually send to the Blue Jays to complete this week’s Josh Donaldson trade, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. There’s plenty of time for a resolution here, as the sides have until Jan. 30, 2019, to determine the PTBNL. If it proves to be Merryweather, Toronto will be getting a soon-to-be 27-year-old who does not rank among the Indians’ top 30 prospects at MLB.com right now – likely because he underwent Tommy John surgery in March and hasn’t pitched this season. Merryweather did rank as the Tribe’s 16th-best farmhand at MLB.com after last season.
- Like Merryweather, Donaldson has endured an injury-ravaged 2018. Calf problems have kept the third baseman out since the end of May, and Indians president Chris Antonetti said Sunday that it remains unclear when he’ll debut with his new team (via Davidi). It’s possible the Indians will place Donaldson back on the 10-day disabled list and have him join one of their minor league affiliates for a rehab assignment, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). Meanwhile, they’ll prepare third baseman Jose Ramirez to play second base and second baseman Jason Kipnis to head to the outfield. Ramirez – who’s having an MVP-caliber season – does not want to constantly toggle between second and third, per Rosenthal, so Cleveland will have to be certain Donaldson’s healthy before inserting him into its lineup.
- The Blue Jays didn’t commit to trading Donaldson until “late in the day” on Aug. 31, the waiver deadline, general manager Ross Atkins tells Arash Madani of Sportsnet (video link). Asked why the Jays didn’t simply keep Donaldson and issue the pending free agent an ~$18MM qualifying offer after the season, Atkins suggested the player they’ll receive for him is more useful than the pick they’d have gotten had Donaldson rejected the QO. Atkins believes the player’s “an exciting upper-level talent” who will have a near-future impact in the majors.
- Donaldson grew into a leader as a Blue Jay and wanted to sign a long-term pact with the team, but the feeling wasn’t necessarily mutual, John Lott of The Athletic explains (subscription required). While Donaldson and the Jays discussed an extension last offseason, the team’s offer was “significantly” lower than Donaldson’s asking price – particularly with respect to contract length – Lott reports. Still, despite whatever issues he may have had with the franchise, Donaldson didn’t want to be traded, according to Lott.