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Alex Speier

Red Sox likely were long shot to land Josh Donaldson

Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson is hitting .301 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs this season.USA Today Sports

A Boston Herald report Monday indicated that the Red Sox inquired with the A’s about third baseman Josh Donaldson before signing Pablo Sandoval, but were told that he wasn’t available.

Team officials expressed some surprise when the MVP candidate was dealt to the Jays.

It seems like at least a bit of a long shot that the Sox would have trumped Toronto’s package, which included an established big league starter with athleticism and upside (Brett Lawrie), two starters who were deemed nearly big league ready (Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin), and a high-ceiling middle-infield prospect in the lower minors (Franklin Barreto).

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The A’s needed a controllable, established, major league-ready starter on the left side of the infield to consider moving Donaldson. Will Middlebrooks, coming off two tough years, wouldn’t have been viewed as that player, and according to industry sources at the time, the A’s weren’t sold on Deven Marrero’s bat.

To match or surpass the Jays, the Sox would have had to build a package around Xander Bogaerts, whom the A’s regarded highly even coming off his challenging 2014 season. From there, they’d have to add on with some of the team’s top Triple A arms (Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes) and then perhaps include one of the team’s top younger talents (Javier Guerra, Rafael Devers).

In short, even if the Sox had been given an offer to compete with the Jays to acquire Donaldson, the team’s appetite to pay the necessary price – even for an elite talent – might have been limited.

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