As Josh Donaldson approaches the twilight of his MLB career, he is open to concluding his playing days with the team where he experienced his greatest individual success: the Toronto Blue Jays.
Currently a free agent, Donaldson’s potential return aligns with the Blue Jays’ need for a third baseman following Matt Chapman’s rejection of the qualifying offer. In an interview with theScore’s Josh Wegman, Donaldson expressed his interest in rejoining Toronto if approached by general manager Ross Atkins this winter.
“Yeah, definitely looking forward to seeing if they reach out,” Donaldson stated. “That would definitely be something that I would be interested in doing. That’s just where I’ve always felt like it was home for me.
“My fiancée, she’s from Toronto. Our kids are half-Canadian. Her family is all up there, which would be great for them to be able to be around all year long. For me, that would be the tip of the iceberg, which would be great, and we’ll see what happens.
During his three full seasons with the Blue Jays, Donaldson emerged as one of the most dominant hitters in baseball. His outstanding performance earned him the American League MVP title in 2015, boasting a .297/.371/.568 slash line. The following season proved almost equally impressive with a .284/.404/.549 performance. However, a trade to Cleveland occurred during the injury-riddled 2018 campaign.
In recent seasons, Donaldson’s production has experienced a significant decline. The past year saw him hit .152 with a .667 OPS in 50 games, divided between the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers.
As the 2024 MLB campaign approaches, Donaldson will be 38, raising questions about his fit on a Blue Jays team currently in its competitive prime. While he could potentially contribute as a power bat off the bench, an expanded role seems unlikely given his age and recent performance trends.
Whether or not Donaldson returns to the Blue Jays, he cherishes fond memories of his time in Toronto but laments the missed opportunity to win a championship with the exceptional talent those teams possessed.
Reflecting on the ’15 and ’16 teams, Donaldson shared, “Now that time has passed since the ’15 and ’16 teams I think some of the best compliments that I get from former opponents was ‘dude, we had nowhere to go in that lineup. It was hell either trying to call a game against you guys or pitch against you guys. There was just no avenue where we could wiggle around.” He emphasized the uniqueness and strength of the team during those years.
Despite acknowledging the team’s special nature, Donaldson expressed a lingering sense of frustration, stating, “Not saying that we took anything for granted because we didn’t, we went and laid it on the line. But man, if we could’ve caught this break, or made this happen, it definitely sticks in your craw a little bit. We definitely felt we had the team to win it; we just weren’t able to accomplish that.”
Looking ahead to the possibility of joining a team for the 2024 season, Donaldson revealed that it would mark his final opportunity to pursue the elusive World Series title. “I think after this upcoming season, that would be my last season no matter what. I would like to play one more year and go out on a good note, and then that’d be it.