OK, that's part of the equation, but not the sole reason that I think the Blue Jays are heading for a long period of mediocre baseball.
Cleveland is set to visit Toronto for a four-game series starting next Thursday. This was the Blue Jays last opportunity to get something - however minute that was - in exchange for Donaldson. Toronto will receive minor league outfielder Demi Orimoloye, who was born in Nigeria but grew up playing baseball in the Ottawa-area, in return.
In Donaldson's first year with Toronto, he hit a torrid.297 with 41 home runs and 122 runs batted in.
Donaldson's first step onto the trade block began earlier this week with a rehab assignment at single-A Dunedin. Between 2015 and 2017 he averaged 37 home runs per year.
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the horizon, the reality is that both he and Donaldson were unlikely to coexist on the same roster next year.
The Indians sent a player to be named to the Blue Jays for cash considerations and Donaldson, who has been limited to 36 games this season because of injuries. He could still be traded in September to help a team make the playoffs, however.
If Donaldson were to decline such an offer and opted to test the free-agent market, the Blue Jays would at least get a draft pick when he signs with another club.
Even if the veteran third baseman played out the rest of the season of Toronto, it was highly unlikely he'd return anyway. We've known for awhile that he and his "people" chose to do some work on their own this offseason, and clearly that didn't go any better for the former 2015 AL MVP. In four seasons with the Blue Jays, the third baseman slashed.281/.383/.548 with 116 home runs and 316 RBI in 462 games.
Now that Donaldson has been traded, he'll get the chance to rebuild value down the stretch and potentially into October.
Or, the Blue Jays could have offered him a qualifying offer for the 2019 season, which will probably be in the vicinity of US$18-million.