Report: Red Sox, Yankees among several teams unhappy with Donaldson trade
The Cleveland Indians acquired Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays just prior to Major League Baseball's deadline to add postseason-eligible players on Aug. 31, then placed the third baseman on the disabled list. Some contending teams reportedly aren't happy about the situation, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Donaldson was healthy enough to begin a rehab assignment with the Blue Jays and be placed on revocable waivers at the end of August. However, American League contenders were reportedly upset with the commissioner's office because he wasn't able to immediately join the Indians.
"I guess he got re-injured on the plane," one rival executive sarcastically said to Rosenthal.
While the Red Sox and Yankees are specifically named as clubs who contacted the commissioner's office to voice their displeasure about the deal, the Houston Astros reportedly also contacted Rob Manfred and were given what they believed to be a satisfactory response. Houston brokered a controversial deal of their own with Toronto earlier this season, acquiring Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays, who was serving a suspension at the time for violating the league domestic violence policy.
With the AL Central title essentially secured, the Indians acquired Donaldson to improve their chances in the postseason. They had to add the 32-year-old to their active roster right away for him to be playoff eligible, but instead the team placed the 2015 AL MVP back on the disabled list.
When they activated Donaldson, the Indians also exposed a loophole in MLB rules. If a player re-aggravates an existing injury while on a rehab assignment, he must remain inactive for five days. However, because the Indians activated Donaldson to the major-league roster to make him eligible for the playoffs, the club could send him on another rehab assignment right away.
Adding intrigue, after Donaldson was placed on revocable waivers, he should have been pulled back after being unable to play in his second rehab game due to leg soreness. However, the game was rained out, and Donaldson consequently cleared waivers, making the Blue Jays able to trade him to all 29 other teams. If Donaldson was healthy, teams would have placed a claim on the three-time All-Star, knowing they could have been stuck with his approximately $4 million in remaining 2018 salary.
Instead, the Indians traded a player to be named later - rumored to be pitching prospect Julian Merryweather - for Donaldson, with Toronto covering $2.7 million of his salary.
Donaldson is expected to be activated on Tuesday after the minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list. Following the 2018 season, the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner will become a free agent, and will not be tied to a draft-pick after being traded at midseason.