The Cleveland Indians have issued a response to the recent report that some other teams, specifically the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, have asked the commissioner’s office to look into the trade that brought former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to the soon-to-be AL Central champs.
“We didn’t do anything different than any other team could’ve done,” said team President Chris Antonetti, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. “And, in fact, there were a lot of other teams that were negotiating with Josh at the time of the trade. Now, we can only see the one reality of what played out, because only one team can end up getting the guy.”
The whole situation was a bit confusing, as Donaldon had been on the disabled list with the Blue Jays since May. With the August 31 waiver trade deadline approaching (the final day a player can be traded and still be eligible for the postseason with his new team), the Jays seemed to be rushing Donaldson into a minor league rehab stint in order for him to be placed on revocable trade waivers.
Donaldson played the first game of his rehab stint, but was reportedly going to sit out the next day due to “soreness.” That may have forced the Jays to pull him back off waivers. But the game was eventually postponed due to rain, so Donaldson technically never missed a game. He played the next day in the first game of a double header.
That was apparently good enough for the Indians, who made a deal with Toronto to acquire Donaldon for a player-to-be-named-later. They activated him immediately (remember, rosters expand in September), but he stayed on the bench for his first few games with his new team. Then they put him on the 10-day DL, and sent him to Columbus to play in more minor league rehab games.
It’s an exploitation of a loophole, really. But technically, the Indians followed all the proper procedures and were made fully aware of Donaldson’s lingering calf injury. The Indians are set to activate Donaldson again on Tuesday afternoon for their game against the Tampa Bay Rays, where he will likely start at third base, pushing MVP candidate Jose Ramirez over to second and infielder Jason Kipness to the outfield.