Former Blue Jay Josh Donaldson announces his retirement

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
A former MVP has retired.
Out of any trade in Blue Jays history, moving Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, and Franklin Barreto to the Oakland A’s for Josh Donaldson could be the best in franchise history. Why? Well, that was because of his 2015 season.
In his first season with the Jays, Donaldson slashed .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers in 711 plate appearances for a 154 wRC+ and 8.7 fWAR. As you can imagine, he won the American League MVP and helped the Jays make the playoffs for the first time since their World Series win in 1993.
Donaldson produced more excellence the following season, slashing .284/.404/.549 with 37 homers in 700 plate appearances for a 157 wRC+ and 6.9 fWAR. While he didn’t win back-to-back American League MVP’s, he did cap off a sweep of the Texas Rangers by running second to home on an error, known as the “Donaldson dash”.
The Blue Jays fell out of postseason contention the following season, but Donaldson kept performing at a high level. That season, he slashed .270/.385/.559 with 33 homers in 496 plate appearances for a 151 wRC+ and 5 fWAR. This was his last healthy season as a Jay.
Donaldson’s 2018 season was an unfortunate one, as he slashed .234/.333/.423 with five homers in 159 plate appearances for a 104 wRC+ and 0.7 fWAR. Due to injury, the Blue Jays couldn’t capitalize on his trade value as a rental, flipping him for Julian Merryweather before the 2018 trade deadline.
After his Blue Jays tenure, Donaldson was still an effective producer until the end of the 2021 season. With teams like Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota, Chapman slashed .252/.369/.499 with 72 homers in 1364 plate appearances until the end of the 2021 season. Afterwards, he was traded to the New York Yankees before the start of the 2022 season, slashing .222/.308/.374 with 15 home runs, marking the beginning of the decline for the 2015 MVP.
After a rough start with the Yankees in 2023, Donaldson was designated for assignment and picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers, where he hit a bit better but still under the Mendoza line. During this past off-season, theScore asked Donaldson if he’d consider a return to Toronto, and the third baseman had this to say:
“Yeah, definitely looking forward to seeing if they reach out. That would definitely be something that I would be interested in doing. That’s just where I’ve always felt like it was home for me. My fiancée, she’s from Toronto. Our kids are half-Canadian. Her family is all up there, which would be great for them to be able to be around all year long. For me, that would be the tip of the iceberg, which would be great and we’ll see what happens.”
Obviously, that didn’t transpire, but Donaldson’s impact on Toronto baseball cannot be understated. The Jays were lacking one more player to play alongside José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación in their prime, so they went out and got a future MVP.
What an excellent trade on so many levels, and nothing but the best for Josh Donaldson moving forward in his life.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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