There are less than two weeks until the end of August, meaning the clock is ticking for MLB clubs to acquire players who are eligible to appear on post-season rosters. A trip to the playoffs won’t happen for the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Aug. 31 deadline does hold importance for the team because of some veteran assets it holds.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson could be an attractive acquisition, but he’s still recovering from a left calf strain. While he’s made progress of late, there’s no announced timeline for his return.
“He has to show he’s healthy,” said Jon Heyman of Fancred, during Baseball Central Monday afternoon on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.
The MLB insider highlighted the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals as teams that make the most sense to acquire the former MVP. In addition to health, there’s the matter of Donaldson’s salary. He’s owed the remainder of the $23-million deal he signed this past off-season.
Heyman suggested the Blue Jays cover off that salary, in order to receive anything of substance in a return package for Donaldson.
“That’s probably the reality at this point,” Heyman told hosts Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker. “They may have no choice in the matter. They may just have to bite the bullet and pay the remainder of the salary.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if they have to pay it to get anything at all for him at this point.”
Another pending free agent who could be dealt is right-hander Marco Estrada, who is set to take the mound Monday night against the Baltimore Orioles. The 35-year-old is owed the remainder of a $13-million, one-year contract and has endured a rocky season, compiling a 4.87 ERA over 112.2 innings.
Heyman equates Estrada to Cardinals right-hander Tyson Ross (4.18 ERA, 135.2 innings), who was recently selected off waivers from the San Diego Padres. While Estrada likely won’t bring more than a low-level minor-leaguer in any trade, Heyman says the pitcher’s playoff record does set him apart.
“If I’m a team, I’m interested in Marco Estrada,” he said. “I do think he’s a big-game pitcher.”
Estrada owns a 2.64 ERA in 47.2 career post-season innings, several of which came in key starts for the Blue Jays during the 2015 and ’16 playoffs.
Listen to the full interview with Heyman in the audio player below.