Sooo.... about how I said not to worry about Josh Donaldson and how he missed the teams first full workout of Spring Training..... As per Shi Davidi -
Look, I know I said not to worry about this on the latest SOT6 podcast (which you should totally subscribe to on iTunes.... seriously, close this window, subscribe, and come back. I'll wait, I promise), and I still mostly stand by this. However, since before I learned how to put my foot in my mouth, it has been reported by Marly Rivera of ESPN that Donaldson has been seen limping severely inside the Jays clubhouse in Dunedin, and he has been seen using crutches (I assume these are two separate sightings). As per her Twitter -
The injury occurred during some sprinting workouts, which is definitely concerning. Donaldson got an MRI on his calf and is now reported to miss two-three weeks of Spring Training. However, if there's one silver-lining, the Jays are banking that he will be healthy enough to start the season.
If we are to look on the bright side - which I encourage you all to do - is that Donaldson is not one to milk injuries, as he has a history of fighting through them. Recall, last year he was battling a calf injury on his left leg that occurred just 4 games into the season, as well as thumb and hip issues. If the past is any indicator of the future, it's smart to bank on him being ready for the start of the season.
But for the sake of arguments, let's assume that Donaldson is unable to go for the first few games - just for shits. Who would start the season at third base? Well, I suppose if the season were to being today, we'd be looking at one of Darwin Barney or Ryan Goins getting the nod at third. Both of which are no where near the player Donaldson is on the offensive end. However, defensive, they're both serviceable players and.... would it be such a terrible thing?
Sure, in a perfect world we'd love for our 2015 MVP to start at the corner, but if we were to rely on one of Barney or Goins, I think the safe bet would have to be Barney. Last year, Barney started 23 games at third, logging in 210.1 innings, with a fielding percentage of .939. Given that the average fielding percentage for the third base spot in the league in 2016 was .959, Barney isn't too far off. Of course, the sample size, in relation, is incredibly small, but when we compare his defensive metrics to Goins, I think we'd much rather take our chances. Consider Goins played only 6 games at third last year, 2 of which he started, logging in a total of 21 innings at the position. His fielding percentage at third was a .857, which compared to Donaldson's .961 and Barney's .939, I think it's easier to make the decision.
Moreover, if we consider the offensive side, Barney's line last year was .269/.322/.373. Compare this to Goins, .186/.228/.306, it's not much of a conversation. Simply put, the Jays have a serviceable backup third baseman in the event Donaldson can't start the season.
However, this is a big "if." As Keegan Matheson puts it -
Only 3 with more PAs than Donaldson since 2013, too. This is to say: betting against his sustained health has proven unwise in recent years,— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) February 19, 2017
Considering how much of a grinder Donaldson is (I hate using weird baseball clichés, too), we have more reason to believe that Donaldson will start the season at third than not. Echoing the sentiments of Matheson, I wouldn't bet against him playing the start of the season.
Thus, like I said in the pod, I'm not sure that this is something to freak out over just yet. Once we get closer to Opening Day, and if Donaldson hasn't at least done individual workouts, then I think we have reason to be alarmed. For now, just hope for the best.