This isn’t necessarily a great signing, but it’s not a bad one, either. The Jays are a team in transition, without a stud shortstop in the system, so a short-term solution is the best one right now.
If the Blue Jays grab a shortstop prospect in a possible Roy Halladay trade, McDonald would serve as a valuable mentor. He’s one of the best defensive infielders in the game. If Toronto signs or trades for a starting shortstop, McDonald provides a solid backup.
The Jays also have a free-agent shortstop in Marco Scutaro, but he is a Type A free agent — something Toronto did not anticipate happening when they traded for him a few winters ago. Scutaro will require a multi-year deal and has a suitor in the Red Sox, among others. The Jays might be content with taking the two compensatory Draft picks rather than re-signing him.
Does more McDonald on a regular basis hurt the offense? It might. He’s a career .238 hitter. That being said, the Blue Jays are looking at another fourth place finish in the American League East in 2010. The playoffs are more of a long-term goal at this point, so the Jays need a short-term solution until they find their shortstop of the future.