After initial reports had the A's dealing starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the A's have made a blockbuster deal this evening. The A's appear to be in some sort of rebuild as they have just traded their best hitter, third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and a few prospects. Here is Foxsports' Ken Rosenthal:
Deal is 4-for-1. Donaldson from #Athletics to #BlueJays for Lawrie, Graveman, Barreto, Nolin.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2014
I don't get this deal at all. The A's get infielder Brett Lawrie who can't stay healthy and has been a major disappointment, pitching prospect Kendall Graveman, shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto and pitching prospect Sean Nolin. Sure the A's get some players in return for Donadlson, but one has to think they could have gotten a better prospect in return for their All Star third baseman.
Donaldson was the sixth best player in baseball according to FanGraph's fWAR, and has been one of the best hitting third baseman over the last two seasons. He is arbitration eligible this offseason, so maybe that was one of the main drivers for this deal, but even so, there aren't many better players in the game over the last two seasons. Make one scratch their head, for sure.
In return the A's receive third baseman Brett Lawrie, yes, the same Brett Lawrie who has played a grand total of 345 games over the last four seasons. He can't stay healthy and has been a big disappointment at the plate when he is healthy.
Minor League Ball's John Sickels ranked Sean Nolin as his #5 Blue Jays prospect last offseason, and here is what he had to say about Nolin in his post -season review of his Blue Jays rankings:
5) Sean Nolin, LHP, Grade B: Age 24, 3.50 ERA with 74/35 K/BB in 87 innings for Buffalo, 74 hits. Doesn't have Norris' ceiling but could still be a workable fourth starter or relief option.
Sickels ranked Barreto as his #6 ranked Blue Jays prospect in his Top 20 preseason rankings, and here is what he had to say about Barreto in his post-season rankings review:
6) Franklin Barreto, SS, Grade B-: Age 18, hit .311/.384/.481 with six homers, 26 walks, 64 strikeouts, 29 steals in 289 at-bats for Vancouver in the Northwest League. Large step forward for this toolsy player, up into B+ range.
Barreto seems to have some promise, but he is very far away.
Like I said, I don't understand this deal, and it appears the A's are in full rebuild as Lawrie is not a player you build a team around. He will just be cheaper than Donaldson over the next few seasons.
I think Beane has a few more deals in the works and starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija could be the next Athletics player on the move.