Josh Donaldson has been traded by the Oakland A's to the Toronto Blue Jays, per multiple reports.
According to Jeff Passan, the full deal is third baseman Donaldson for infielder Brett Lawrie, pitcher Kendall Graveman, pitcher Sean Nolin, and shortstop Franklin Barreto.
This is a pretty huge deal, and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Donaldson was arguably the A's best player the past two seasons, giving quality offense for a third baseman while being, according to most defensive metrics, exceptional with the glove. He was the player that reports previously indicated was the one "untouchable" guy on the A's.
Donaldson, who had a combined 15.4 bWAR the past two seasons, has four years of team control left. He turns 29 on December 8.
Brett Lawrie, who turns 25 in January, has three years of team control remaining. He was very good in a short stint in 2011 and then in 2012, his first full major league season, but has struggled the past two seasons both with the bat and with injuries. There's upside with Lawrie, but Donaldson has, by any measure, vastly outperformed him over the past two years.
Graveman, who turns 24 in December, was an 8th round pick of the Jays in 2013 who rocketed through the system last year, starting the year in low-A, making starts in high-A, AA, and AAA, and then pitching out of the pen in the majors. He did not, however, make Baseball America's top 10 prospect list for the Jays, although in the Jays chat Graveman was praised for being major league ready and having a cutter that will allow him to throw strikes and get ground balls.
Nolin, who turns 25 in December, also failed to crack the BA top 10 list, but spent most of the season pitching in the rotation for the Jays' AAA affiliate.
Barreto, who turns 19 in February, was a high-dollar signing out of Venezuela in 2012. He's a shortstop who gets praise for his bat, but who spent the 2014 season in short-season A, and is probably several seasons away.
I'm really baffled by this move. Donaldson is a late bloomer who seems like the type of guy you'd sell high on, but the return that Beane got doesn't seem to be nearly commensurate to Donaldson's value. Last summer, Donaldson was ranked #17 in FanGraphs' trade value column, between Yu Darvish and Madison Bumgarner. If the Rangers got this package for Darvish, I think LSB would burn down. Ditto McCovey Chronicles and Bumgarner.
UPDATE -- Just saw this tweet from Donaldson in my timeline, from a couple of weeks ago:
@markslifer09 they have plenty of money my friend. They just tell everyone they don't.— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) November 18, 2014
The markslifer guy is a clown for suggesting Donaldson should take less money than he might otherwise get in arbitration so that the A's can spend more money on other players, given that Donaldson has been making league minimum up until now.
But the response is pretty salty, and not the sort of thing you'd think ownership likes to see. Which doesn't mean that's why he was dealt...but that's a pretty eye-opening comment.
UPDATE -- To make room for the new players on their 40 man roster, the A's have designated Josh Lindblom and Kyle Blanks for assignment. Lindblom, of course, is a former Ranger who Texas acquired from Philadelphia in the Michael Young trade, then sent to Oakland in the deal that brought Michael Choice and Chris Bostick to Texas.
Blanks is a righthanded hitting COF/1B who the A's acquired from San Diego in May. He's someone I wouldn't mind the Rangers snagging on waivers, and looking at as part of a DH combination with Mitch Moreland.
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- Hanley Ramirez to Boston for estimated 5 years, $90 million, per Ken Rosenthal
- Adam LaRoche to the ChiSox: 2 years, $25 million