The Cleveland Indians acquired Josh Donaldson late in the 2018 season and unfortunately he was not able to have much of a positive impact.
Donaldson came to the Indians at the last minute before the August waiver trade deadline. He was deemed healthy enough to be traded, yet he played in some rehab games to start. This irked some other American League contenders, but who cares.
The 2015 MVP appeared in 16 regular season games for the Indians, slashing .280/.400/.520 with three home runs. But these aren’t the numbers Indians fans will remember.
The memorable part of his stay came in the postseason, when he had one hit in 12 at-bats and struck out four times.
Donaldson was not alone in his postseason struggles. However, it may have been better just to put Yandy Diaz at third the whole time.
Fans also saw how limited the potential impact of one player can be in the postseason. Some fans expect big name players to come in and win a series through individual heroics. But even if Donaldson hit .500 in the ALDS, it likely wouldn’t have made a difference with the way the rest of the offense was playing.
The addition of Donaldson created more change on the field rather than bringing stability. He bumped Jose Ramirez to second base and Jason Kipnis to the outfield. The move added more talent to the lineup but it may have been too little too late for the club.
Trades like the one to bring Donaldson to Cleveland will continue to happen as long as the Indians are contenders. We saw it in 2017 when Jay Bruce came to town, and he even had some success in his short stint with the Indians. Unfortunately, Donaldson’s time in Cleveland may only go down in history as a trivia question when looking back at his career.
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Ideally, the Indians will have a strong enough roster in 2019 to where last-minute patches don’t have to be made at key spots in the lineup.