Toronto Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson makes immediate impact in return

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson /

Three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson serves notice to the rest of the league in the first game of his rehab assignment for the Toronto Blue Jays.

It is no secret Josh Donaldson has supreme confidence in his abilities, understandable when considering everything he has achieved during his Major League career. Despite enduring an extremely frustrating injury-plagued season for the Toronto Blue Jays, he has never lost faith.

As such, it really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise, when Donaldson made an immediate impact in his return to action. Playing in the first game of his rehab assignment for single-A Dunedin, he showed what he is still capable of.

The 2015 AL MVP saw five innings of action at third base, during Tuesday’s game. However, it was at the plate where he really made people sit up and take notice.

During the first inning, Donaldson worked his way through a nine-pitch count, to force a walk. He followed this up with an RBI single in the third, before flying out to centre in his last at bat during the fifth.

Now, I recently went on record as saying the Blue Jays should give up any hope of trading the 32-year-old. Limited to 36 appearances in the Majors this season, his calf injury lingered on significantly longer than originally projected.

However, if Donaldson has a couple of similarly productive outings in the coming days, you have to wonder if anyone will potentially bite. He can be moved anytime between now and 11:59 pm ET on Aug. 31.

I’m still of the opinion it is too much of a risk for any team to take, given the uncertainty over the 2007 first round draft pick’s health. In addition, he would need to be added to that team’s Major League roster, rather than having his rehab assignment extended.

More from Toronto Blue Jays

There are ways for the Blue Jays to make the acquisition of Donaldson more enticing. For example, as noted by Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, this could include assuming some or all of his remaining salary for this year. (Roughly around $4 million.)

What we do know is that the Blue Jays are attempting everything possible to move the three-time All-Star. If he isn’t traded, the team will find themselves in an awkward position.

As things stand, Donaldson is set to become a free agent after this season concludes. As such, the team would theoretically want to make him a qualifying offer, so they receive compensation if he opts to join another team during the offseason.

The issue comes, if the Pensacola, Florida native decides to accept the offer, which will be worth around $18 million. This move would then compromise how much money the Blue Jays will have to spend on rebuilding the roster for next year.

The Blue Jays hedged their bets by re-signing Donaldson this year to a deal worth a team-record $23 million. The thinking was he could boost any postseason challenge, while still putting them in position to be able to trade him if that challenge went awry.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they suffered the worst possible scenario to, in many ways, encapsulate how this season has gone. Now, they can only hope the two-time Silver Slugger does enough in the coming days to prompt a move and salvage something for the team.

Next. Kendrys Morales redeems himself in explosive fashion. dark

How optimistic are you that the Toronto Blue Jays can still trade Donaldson by Aug. 31? Assuming he doesn’t get moved, do you predict the team will make him a qualifying offer for next year, or let him walk? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.