Toronto Blue Jays: What does the future hold for Josh Donaldson?

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Josh Donaldson
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Josh Donaldson /

Josh Donaldson was the subject of trade speculation during the 2017 season and will continue to be in the coming months, but what should the Toronto Blue Jays do with the three-time All-Star?

To some, Josh Donaldson took a step back for the Toronto Blue Jays this past season. However, as is often the case in the world of professional sports, it’s about perception.

For example, on the one hand, Donaldson had his fewest home runs and RBIs in three years with the Blue Jays. However, taking into account the games he missed, if you prorate these numbers over the course of an entire season, he would have set a career high for homers, while logging his second-most RBIs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the 31-year-old would have done this if he played all 162 games. In addition, he still had his lowest batting average with Toronto (not that .270 is too shabby), although this was likely compromised by his calf injury.

All in all, it was a strange season for Donaldson, who missed the playoffs for the first time since become a regular start in the Majors. He also missed out on the All-Star Game, after being voted in the three previous years.

On top of this, there was ongoing speculation regarding the 2007 first round draft pick’s future in Toronto. Members of the media continually argued the virtues of keeping or trading him.

So what should the Toronto Blue Jays do with Donaldson? After being relatively durable throughout his professional career, was this past season an anomaly or the start of a decline in his health?

At just 31, you’d like to think the third baseman still has several good years left in him. In that respect, his contract situation will play a major role in his future.

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Donaldson is under club control for one more year, before becoming a free agent. Do the Toronto Blue Jays attempt to trade him between now and the end of the 2018 season, to get some value in return?

An argument can be made for keeping the 2015 AL MVP around for the start of next season. If he can return to his form of previous years, it would theoretically improve his trade value.

However, part of any decision will likely be impacted by the player himself. For what it’s worth, as reported last month by Sportsnet, Donaldson has said he would prefer to remain in Toronto.

Along similar lines, general manager Ross Atkins has indicated the team is open to signing the two-time Silver Slugger to a contract extension. Although this shouldn’t be mistaken for meaning they would definitely prefer to keep him around.

Overall, trying to decide if Donaldson will remain with the Toronto Blue Jays past 2018 is a fool’s errand, as the team themselves have no idea what they will do with him. About the only thing we can predict with any degree of certainty at this stage, is there will be some regret, no matter what direction they take with him.

Next: What does the future hold for Jose Bautista?

What would be your approach in the Blue Jays’ position, regarding Donaldson? Would you prefer to sign him to a contract extension during the offseason, trade him, or keep him around for now and see how the 2018 season starts out? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.