Posted tagged ‘free agent’

Josh Donaldson: He brought the rain and it was magical AF

September 3, 2018

Josh Donaldson’s tenure with the Blue Jays was a blessing. The events surrounding his departure really, really, REALLY suck. However, this is not as tragic as some have made it out to be.

Josh Donaldson was not going to finish 2018 in a Jays uniform. I made peace with this notion well before the season started. Unless the team was a legit contender for the second wild card spot, this was it for the Bringer of Rain.

I prayed he would be traded during the off-season. Prayed the Jays would get a king’s ransom in exchange. I get why they waited for the middle of the regular season – contending teams would be increasingly desperate to land Donaldson’s services and therefore, empty their shelevs of young, developing talent.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Josh gingerly walked off the field in May, never to return wearing a Jays uniform; his value drastically fell.

Who’s to blame? Nobody.

Donaldson didn’t intend to miss a significant chunk of the season. Mark Shapiro, Russ Atkins and the rest of front office didn’t anticipate something like this to happen, nor would they want it to happen.

Of course, social media is more than happy to point fingers.

On social media, Shapiro and Atkins have screwed up everything!!!! Some have claimed they have set the team back by decades. Others have filed a non-confidence motion. Heck, if Shapiro and Atkins saved 1000 orphans from a towering inferno, they’d still be villanized.

So let’s take a breath.

The Blue Jays are rebuilding. It has been evident for a while. Whether you like it or not, they are a team in transition. Keeping Josh Donaldson would be counter-productive. A player of his caliber and age – if healthy, obviously – would naturally yield younger, developing talent. It’s not a perfect formula, but it only makes sense to collect several “prospects” in exchange for Donaldson and hope some – if not all – live up to their full potential.

The only mistake Shapiro and Atkins made was not trading Donaldson before the season. An error that defines the concept of hindsight.

Here’s something else to consider: Do you really believe Donaldson wanted to be a Blue Jay after 2018?

Think about it. He’s in his early 30s and about to become a free agent. He wants to win now. He expects to win now. Why would he stay in Toronto and endure a rebuild that doesn’t have a definitive timeline? Donaldson has earned the right to play for whoever he wants; so the Jays might as well get something for him, even if it’s unfortunately not a king’s ransom.

While Donaldson and Atkins have both paid the appropriate amount of lip service post-trade, we may never know what actually happened behind the proverbial closed doors. Maybe there were diagreements. Maybe feelings were hurt.

There will be some who desperately need to know what occurred for their own agendas. But for me….I just don’t give a damn.

When I think about Josh Donaldson, I won’t think about his departure. I’ll think of the man who told the world that this was the “get it done league.”

I’ll think of the man who dove into the first few rows at Tropicana Field to catch a foul ball.

I’ll think of the man who crushed a walk-off home run at the final home game of the 2015 season, sending the crowd into a frenzy; including yours truly from my right field seat in the 200s.

I’ll think of the man who knocked in the tying run in game five of the 2015 ALDS, setting the stage for Jose Bautista’s iconic bat flip.

I’ll think of the man – who I witnessed from my perch in section 525 – dive gracefully across home plate, clinching game three and an ALDS series sweep in 2016.

Damn right his name should be added to the level of excellence. He was the American League’s most valuable player in 2015. The only other Blue Jay who won AL MVP is already on the LOE.

Josh Donaldson was the glue, the missing piece, the magic tonic. He brought the rain and it was MAGICAL! His unfortunate departure will never overshadow his impact.

I really hope things work out for him in Cleveland and of course, with the Blue Jays’ long-term plan. Seeing a popular player get traded is never pleasant.

Just remember: It’s going to be okay.

ER

An open apology letter to Marco Estrada

November 10, 2015

Dear Marco,

About a year ago, Milwaukee traded you to the Blue Jays, in exchange for Adam Lind. To be perfectly honest, I was less than thrilled.

It was nothing personal. It’s just that I was a big fan of Adam Lind.

Lind was one of the longest serving Blue Jays at the time. He spent the better part of nine seasons wearing a Jays uniform! Sure, he wasn’t always an offensive stud, but the dude could hit. We’re also the same age, which really means nothing; but to me, it means something.

And seriously, Adam had grown a badass goatee. He was also once rocking a badass Transformers toque. How can you not love the guy?!

When the trade went down, I wrote the following: “Marco Estrada’s numbers aren’t awful, but they’re not fabulous either. Either way, he’s not worth giving up Lind’s power. Sure, Lind couldn’t hit lefties, but I feel he offers more than what Estrada could contribute to the team. Of course, I could be wrong and Estrada becomes a beneficial reliever out of the bullpen. Time will tell.”

Time did tell and I was wrong.

In a season full of pleasant surprises, you were definitely one of them. You were given an opportunity and took full advantage of it, becoming a strong middle rotation starter. Permit me to remind you how you nearly no-hit the Orioles and Rays!

And let’s not forget when you started game three of the ALDS. Thanks to your efforts, there was a game four. Let’s also not forget your amazing efforts in game five of the ALCS!

So please accept this note as my apology to you. I’m sorry for doubting you. I’m sorry for not giving you a fair chance last year. I’m sorry for thinking Adam Lind was better suited for the Jays than you.

Not sure what your plans are for 2016, but if you choose to come back, it would be greatly appreciated.

Sending you warm regards,

ER

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