The circumstances of the Cleveland Indians' waiver deadline acquisition of star third baseman Josh Donaldson has drawn the ire of multiple teams, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, according to a report by The Athletic.
The Red Sox and Yankees both "voiced displeasure" to Major League Baseball about the Aug. 31 trade between the Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, according to the report.
The Houston Astros also asked the commissioner's office why MLB allowed Cleveland and Toronto to complete the deal, although the defending World Series champions were satisfied with the clarification they received, according to the report.
The issue, according to the report, is the unclear health status of Donaldson, who has not played in the majors since May 28 because of a calf injury. The former American League MVP began a minor league rehab assignment on Aug. 29 and was placed on revocable trade waivers by the Blue Jays that same day. He was traded to Cleveland just before the Aug. 31 deadline, meaning he is eligible to play for the Indians in the postseason.
By rule, a player must be certified as healthy in order to be placed on trade waivers. The Athletic reported that following a dispute with the Blue Jays over his health, Donaldson agreed he was healthy after the MLB Players Association got involved in the process, allowing Toronto to place him on waivers.
Donaldson still has not appeared in a game for the Indians and was placed back on the 10-day disabled list on Sept. 3, starting another minor league rehab assignment. But Indians manager Terry Francona said on Monday that Donaldson will be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and will be in the lineup against the Rays.
The unusual sequence around the trade, according to The Athletic, irritated multiple other teams, specifically those that may have to contend with Donaldson playing for the Indians in the AL playoffs.
"I guess he got reinjured on the plane," an unnamed executive told The Athletic.
According to the report, Donaldson knew on Aug. 29 that he was not healthy enough to play in the majors and was worried that he would reinjure his calf, potentially harming his value as a free agent next winter.
Donaldson's agent contacted the players' union, which contacted MLB to communicate the third baseman's concerns, according to The Athletic. A league official, according to the report, then contacted potentially interested teams to notify them of Donaldson's health concerns.
Donaldson went unclaimed on waivers and was ultimately traded to the Indians, who met with the veteran third baseman after the deal to evaluate his health.