The Yankees, Red Sox, and Houston Astros have all “voiced displeasure” to the commissioner’s office over the Josh Donaldson trade from Toronto to Cleveland. While it makes sense a team that might be playing October baseball would want to take a shot at adding Donaldson to their roster, the way that the deal worked out, and what happened after it was approved, has some teams crying foul, according to ESPN. While the Astros appear to be satisfied with the answer they got, for the moment, the Yankees and Red Sox are still not happy.
Donaldson has spent almost the entire season on the disabled list, playing his last MLB game on May 28. MLB rules state that in order for a trade to be made, a player has to be cleared as healthy to play. That is the reason that pre-trade physicals are conducted, to keep everything above board. Sometimes, something is missed and an injured player is traded. In that case, the trade is reversed and everyone goes back to square one to either make it right or scrap it. In the case of Donaldson, not everything appears to have gone according to the normal procedure.
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) September 10, 2018
The first sign something was off is that ESPN reported that Donaldson and the Blue Jays’ ownership had quite a bit of back-and-forth over whether or not he was healthy enough to play. On August 29, he was assigned to a rehab stint in the minors, and also placed on revocable trade waivers. He did not play in a game that day as it was used for travel. The next day, it is alleged he was negotiating with the Jays over his health status, and on August 31, he did not play pending a trade, which is the customary practice.
Without one rehab game, and some arguing, Donaldson declared himself healthy and was traded. On September 3, Donaldson was placed on the disabled list by Cleveland, citing a calf injury. He played a single minor league rehab game with Cleveland on that day before going back on the DL. A report at The Atlantic stated that Donaldson knew he wasn’t healthy enough to play on August 29. If that is true, the deal could be voided.
The irony of the Astros and Yankees being upset at someone else making a controversial roster move is thick and delicious. https://t.co/7V2IOqnrIr
— Let's Go Tribe (@LetsGoTribe) September 10, 2018
The reason other teams care so much about this is that by being traded before the revocable waiver trade deadline lapsed, Donaldson is eligible to be added to the postseason roster for the Indians. That means one of the teams that has complained could have to face him, and they all passed him over on the waiver wire believing scouting reports that he was not healthy enough to play. While Donaldson may not play another game this season, if he does, and contributes to the Indians advancing in the playoffs, what is now a minor kerfuffle could be a major point of contention later.