Newly acquired Indians third baseman Josh Donaldson has been placed on the disabled list and sent on a rehab assignment. Ensuring Donaldson is healthy is a must for Cleveland’s postseason chances.
While many wanted Josh Donaldson to be in the Indians lineup as soon as possible, it is best to let him get healthy. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the DL stint.
#Indians planning to place Donaldson on DL, source tells The Athletic. Would go on rehab assignment, be out minimum of 10 days and miss series in Toronto at end of this week.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 3, 2018
Donaldson’s rehab stint begins today as he will play with the Columbus Clippers. Tom Withers had this report Monday morning.
Josh Donaldson going on DL. Will bat second andn play third for Triple-A Columbus today.#Indians
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) September 3, 2018
Rather than rush Donaldson back unnecessarily they are making sure he is healthy. There are a few reasons why they have this luxury.
The American League Central was essentially decided before the season began. The Indians were runaway favorites to win the division and are well on their way. As of the morning of September 3rd the Indians are 14 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins. They are not embattled in a fight for the division title. It is also unlikely that they surpass the American League West division winner in wins. What this means is that their playoff seed is essentially locked and they will face the AL West winner in round one.
Depth on the roster
There is not an immediate need for Donaldson to play. They can afford to essentially play anybody they want. That means playing time for Yandy Diaz and Erik Gonzalez among others. Additionally Cleveland can start playing Jason Kipnis in the outfield.. The Indians are able to operate as before without Donaldson and not miss a beat. the only difference is that Donaldson will join the team after his rehab assignment.
Donaldson is basically a lottery ticket for the postseason
The Indians are taking a chance on a player who has not lived up to expectations this season. The Indians acquired Donaldson to perform in the playoffs due to his previous success.
Donaldson has a good track record in the playoffs. A career slash line of .292/.361/.475 with an OPS of .836, Donaldson poses quite the threat to opposing pitchers.
While Donaldson has endured a disappointing season they are hoping on cashing in on his previous postseason success. The Indians allowing Donaldson to rehab properly ensures that their lottery ticket has a better chance of working out in their favor.