Machado package means little to Blue Jays due to Donaldson’s status

MLB insider Jon Morosi joins Sportsnet's Starting Lineup to discuss the unfortunate circumstance for the Blue Jays, seeing the Orioles cash in on a Manny Machado trade, and not being able to do the same with Josh Donaldson.

TORONTO – The haul that the visiting Baltimore Orioles just obtained for Manny Machado hints at what the Toronto Blue Jays might have received for a healthy Josh Donaldson.

Outfielder Yusniel Diaz headlined the five-player package Baltimore obtained for Machado, an elite and well-compensated infielder on the brink of free agency, like Donaldson. Even if Diaz wasn’t the Dodgers’ top prospect or close to it, MLB.com recently ranked the 21-year-old 84th among all minor-leaguers.

That kind of return might be more solid than franchise-altering, but it still seems unrealistic for the Blue Jays given that there’s no timeline for Donaldson (left calf) to return to game action. While the team says he’s progressing through a running program with good intensity, it’s increasingly difficult to envision a return to the active roster before the end of the month.

That’s where trade talks could get complicated for the Blue Jays. At this stage, it appears unlikely that Donaldson will be on the field much before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, likely pushing trade talks to August.

If Donaldson’s $23 million salary clears waivers, the Blue Jays will still be able to trade him without restriction. If Donaldson’s claimed, however, the Blue Jays could either negotiate with the claiming team or simply pull him back and keep him.

Teams would have to think twice about claiming a player with uncertain health and a considerable salary, but even if he eventually clears, the Blue Jays’ return would depend on how soon he returns and how well he performs.

Meanwhile, other injured Blue Jays continued progressing back from the disabled list. Here are the details:

Troy Tulowitzki (heels) has been performing all baseball activities and progressing with his running. Like Donaldson, though, he’s not close enough to begin a rehab assignment. “Nobody’s more frustrated than he is,” manager John Gibbons said. Tulowitzki last played on July 28, 2017.

Marco Estrada (glute strain) had a bullpen session scheduled Friday in preparation for his upcoming start against the Minnesota Twins. Ryan Borucki, now on option at triple-A, will also re-join the rotation, which leaves Jaime Garcia in the bullpen for now. Garcia has no defined role just yet, but could be used in short bursts against lefties or more extended outings as needed, according to Gibbons.

Aaron Sanchez (right index finger) is working out at the club’s Dunedin, Fla. rehab complex. He continues to play catch with a view of returning to mound once his finger permits. Still, his return isn’t close. “He’s missed a lot of time now, he’s going to have to build back up a little,” Gibbons said.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (concussion) continues progressing through concussion protocol with no issues. He’ll be re-evaluated daily as he ramps up cardio and baseball activities.

Kevin Pillar (right sternoclavicular joint) is progressing well and has begun range of motion and strengthening activities, according to the team. The centre-fielder will stay with team through this current homestand and be re-evaluated ahead of the upcoming road trip.

Danny Barnes (left knee) felt great after throwing live batting practice, according to the team. He’ll throw another live BP session Saturday before being re-evaluated for game action next week.

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