It was another busy offseason for the Toronto Blue Jays, who appear ready to compete move-for-move with the Red Sox and Yankees. Last season, the Jays came up short of the postseason once again. Their all-in offseason of 2013 has not paid dividends yet. Their 2014 offseason was relatively quiet, but 2015 saw the Jays once again making a flurry of deals to try and buy their way to the top of the division.
The Jays signed Russell Martin to a franchise record 5-year, $82 million deal and traded for Oakland A’s All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson. Intricacies of Canadian tax laws and currency conversions aside, the Jays overpaid massively for Martin, and I do not believe he is the answer to their postseason drought. Consider that Martin has batted over .250 for an entire season once in the past six seasons and is a 32 year old catcher with a history of injuries. This just screams bad contract.
Donaldson, on the other hand, may be a steal for the Jays. The Jays finally gave up on Brett Lawrie and shipped him off to the A’s. In Donaldson, they have a good defensive third baseman who has hit 54 home runs the past two years, playing half of his games in spacious O.co Coliseum. Donaldson should be good for 30 home runs a year in the smaller Rogers Centre. He is also under team control through 2019. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend why the A’s were willing to part with him.
The Donaldson trade was a step in the right direction for the Jays. He will be much more productive than Lawrie and the team has him under control for four more seasons. Signing Martin for five years at that price is a bit of a reach. I do not foresee the Jays ending their playoff drought this season. They upgraded their offense, but that has not been the problem. Starting pitching remains a major concern, and management did very little to address it.