Indians get three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson in trade with Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays on Friday traded third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians, who are hoping the 2015 American League MVP can bolster their lineup and help them get back to the World Series.

The Blue Jays will receive a player to be named later.

"This is one of the most dynamic players in the game on both sides of the ball when he's healthy," Indians president Chris Antonetti said late Friday night. "We think there's an opportunity for him to get to a point this month where he'll be playing in games regularly and has a chance to impact us in the postseason."

Donaldson, 32, has battled shoulder and calf injuries this season and has not played for Toronto since May 28. In 36 games, he batted .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

On Thursday, Donaldson homered in his first at-bat in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment with Class A Dunedin. He finished the night 1-for-3 after going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI on Tuesday.

The Indians are satisfied he is worth taking on for the season's final month and into October.

"We had to do our due diligence to make sure we were getting back a player that we felt had a chance to help us," Antonetti said. "We know we're taking on some risk with that. But we feel we've built that in appropriately with the structure of the deal and spent quite a bit of time talking with the Blue Jays on how we appropriately balance that risk."

Cleveland, which leads the AL Central by 14 games, begins a four-game series in Toronto on Thursday.

A three-time All-Star, Donaldson shut down contract talks with the Blue Jays in February, saying the sides did not see "eye to eye" on a long-term deal. He is set to become a free agent in the offseason.

"I'm going to miss him," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said shortly before the trade was announced. "We had our battles. He is a high-strung player, but he did a lot for us."

Donaldson is the third former MVP to be traded within the past nine months and the second to be traded Friday, following Andrew McCutchen's move to the New York Yankees.

A player must be on a club by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason.

Antonetti said Donaldson will be in Cleveland on Saturday and that a plan will be mapped out for him to join the club on a full-time basis. It's possible Donaldson could be placed on the disabled list so he can play in minor league games while rehabbing a calf injury.

Once Donaldson is ready, Indians manager Terry Francona will play him at third base, which means the club will move All-Star Jose Ramirez to second and replace Jason Kipnis.

Antonetti said the club had preliminary discussions with Ramirez and Kipnis but will meet with them again before Saturday's game. The team president is confident Ramirez and Kipnis will be willing to do whatever is best for the Indians.

"What we've seen repeatedly with our roster is we have guys that are first and foremost focused on winning, trying to get to the postseason and win a World Series," Antonetti said. "We've seen repeated examples of guys willing to make either personally difficult decisions or, in some cases, sacrifices to help the team win. I think that is part of the culture that Tito [Francona] has continued to build here, and our players actively embrace."

In Cleveland, the right-handed-hitting Donaldson will be reunited with Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion, his former teammate in Toronto.

"He's [a] great player, man," Encarnacion said after the Indians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 and before the trade was official. "If it happens, everybody is gonna be excited here. He's a great guy."

Donaldson has a .327 career batting average against the AL Central, his highest batting average versus any division. The same goes for his 1.066 OPS.

He batted .270 with 33 home runs and 78 RBIs despite playing in just 113 games during an injury-shortened 2017 season. He had 116 homers in his four seasons with Toronto and helped the Blue Jays make back-to-back appearances in the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016, when they lost to the Indians.

Antonetti said the Indians scouted Donaldson in Florida this week, and the team didn't know if he would be available in a deal until 1 p.m. Friday.

Donaldson spent the first four years of his career with the Oakland Athletics and is a career .275 hitter.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.