UPDATE: Donaldson has been traded to the Indians. Stand down.
Josh Donaldson is very likely to be traded on Friday, and the Braves are one of the teams most interested in him, per Steve Phillips of MLB Network Radio. Phillips listed the Braves, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals among the teams most likely to land the former All-Star.
Donaldson was pulled from tonight’s rehab start and it was not for health reasons, according to a Blue Jays beat writer.
Donaldson, who hasn’t played in a major league game since May 28, has dealt with a calf injury all year. He’s rehabbing with Toronto’s minor league affiliates, although he had to miss a game the other night due to soreness in the same calf that has bothered him all year. Now 32 years old and a free agent in two months, he is owed roughly $4 million through the end of the 2018 season. It’s unclear how much (if any) of Donaldson’s salary Toronto is willing to eat in any trades.
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos knows Donaldson well, so the connection isn’t hard to make. Anthopoulos traded for Donaldson when he was the GM in Toronto, and Donaldson went on to become an MVP once out of Oakland.
The Braves do not have a glaring hole at third base given Johan Camargo’s strong play all year, but depth is never (ever, ever, ever) a bad thing to have. The phrase “we have too many good players to find places for” has never been said in September and October.
Injuries happen. Slumps happen. Guys need a day off. Things work themselves out, and if the Braves want to buy a lottery ticket on Donaldson and see if he can regain his 2017 form (.944 OPS, 149 wRC+, 5.9 WAR) for the pennant race and beyond, they absolutely should.
Stay tuned. Teams have until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight to add players eligible for the postseason roster.