The Cleveland Indians acquired star third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays before the Aug. 31 deadline, but league executives weren't pleased with how the transaction played out.
Donaldson had been sidelined for three months with a calf injury, but he returned for a couple of rehab assignments games just days before the trade to Cleveland. But Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that some MLB executives and teams the trade didn't go down, namely the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Per Rosenthal, one executive suggested that Cleveland "skirted a rule requiring a player who suffers a recurrence of an injury on a rehabilitation assignment to remain inactive for five days before starting another one."
Rosenthal did clarify that the Indians didn't break a rule, since he was activated before Cleveland put him back on the disabled list after the trade. Indians president Chris Antonetti defended the Donaldson trade, saying that other teams would have done the same thing.
"We didn't do anything different than any other team would have done," Antonetti said, via Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. "In fact, there were a lot of other teams that were negotiating with Josh at the time for the trade."
When all was said and done, the Blue Jays traded Donaldson to the Indians for a player to be named later, believed to be minor league pitcher Julian Merryweather. The questions and controversy are now over with, and Donaldson is joining a Cleveland team bent on ending its 70-year World Series drought.
The Blue Jays were fortunate to get something in return for Donaldson. The front office took a risk in holding onto him this season, rather than deal Donaldson at the deadline. They didn't get much of a return for the former AL MVP, so the whole saga is widely considered a disaster by Blue Jays fans and pundits.
It was certainly a long and frustrating process of getting a Donaldson deal done, for both the Blue Jays and Indians. But 'Bringer of Rain' finally has a new home, and he has the chance to reset his value as Donaldson prepares to enter free agency.