Former AL MVP Donaldson retires after 13 years


Josh Donaldson, who won the American League MVP during a 13-year career, announced his retirement Monday.

Donaldson, 38, made the announcement on the podcast of former player Sean Casey.

Donaldson finishes his career with 279 home runs, 1,310 hits and a long-earned reputation as a someone who competed with an edge, unafraid of offending opponents. He had his best season in 2015 with Toronto, when he hit 41 homers and drove in a league-high 123 runs, while scoring an MLB-high 122 runs. Donaldson received 23 of 30 first-place votes for the MVP, finishing ahead of Mike Trout for the award.

Donaldson finished in the Top 10 for his league’s MVP four times.

Donaldson broke into pro ball as a catcher after the Cubs took him with the 48th pick in the 2007 draft out of Auburn. The following summer, Donaldson was among the players that the Athletics received in a deal for starting pitcher Rich Harden, and for a few seasons, Donaldson languished in the farm system.

In 2010, at age 24, he hit .238 in Triple-A. He reached the big leagues for the first time late that season. But Donaldson switched to third base as his primary position in 2012, playing 71 games there in the big leagues, and with his combination of a plate discipline and power, Donaldson began to emerge.

In 158 games for the A’s in 2013, he had an OPS of .883. The perception of a lot of teams at the time was that the A’s wouldn’t consider trading him, but after the 2014 season, Oakland swapped Donaldson — who was becoming more expensive by the year — to the Blue Jays for four players, including pitcher Kendall Graveman. It was among the first trades that began to cement the reputation of then-Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos as a savvy deal-maker, because the next year, Donaldson won the MVP.

Donaldson played with five teams over his last six seasons, as clubs looked to augment their lineups’ plate discipline while also hoping to benefit from Donaldson’s intense approach. His outspokenness sometimes propelled him into headlines, however.

As a member of the Twins, he noted the decreasing spin rate of Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, suggesting that Cole benefited from the use of sticky substances in throwing the ball, and when Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, manager Aaron Boone met with both players to smooth things over.

While with the Yankees, Donaldson was suspended one game by MLB for “inappropriate comments” after he called White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson “Jackie” in reference to baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson. Anderson took offense to the comment, calling it “disrespectful,” and Donaldson later apologized.

Donaldson batted .142 in 33 games for the Yankees last season. After the Yankees let him go at the end of August, he signed with Milwaukee Brewers and batted .169 with three homers in 17 games.

Over the course of his career, Donaldson played in nine different postseasons, hitting five homers in 50 games.



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