The Athletics’ trade of third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays last night came as a surprise, but A’s GM Billy Beane explains he felt he had to move forward, via MLB.com’s Jane Lee on Twitter. “[W]e had to take a look at where we are and where we’re headed,” says Beane. “[W]e were 11 games behind the Angels last season, and it took the last day to hold off the Mariners, and given the losses that we have … we didn’t think it was possible to add to the current group to make up an 11-game difference.” Beane goes on to say that he was trying to position the team to be in the process of improving, rather than deteriorating. Here are more notes on last night’s deal.
- The trade was a win for the Jays, ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider-only). The deal netted Toronto “one of the best players in baseball for a package of prospects that doesn’t quite add up.” In particular, Law feels it’s a future-oriented deal for the A’s, but the two pitchers involved (Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman) are only back-end starter types, and even though the A’s have a good record getting value out of such players, it will be hard Nolin, Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Franklin Barreto to produce enough value to compensate for four years of control of a great player. Also, Law suggests the Athletics’ motivations here aren’t yet clear in light of their recent signing of Billy Butler, which was a “win-now move.”
- The Blue Jays’ side of the trade suggests Toronto believes that it can win with offense in an era dominated by pitching, Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs writes. So far this offseason, the Jays have added Donaldson and Russell Martin to an offense that already featured Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
- The Athletics’ motivations for this deal aren’t yet completely clear, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. Lawrie’s upside and youth could be the key to the deal from their perspective, but he has to stay healthy. One possibility could be that the A’s could move Lawrie to second base and pursue Chase Headley, who could turn out to be a bargain free agent. Cameron suggests that this trade might make more sense once we see what other moves the A’s make this offseason.
- Speaking of which, the Athletics have “at least one more significant trade brewing,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. That move could involve Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick or John Jaso — a report last week indicated that the A’s were shopping those players, and that their acquisition of Ike Davis could be seen as an insurance policy in case they traded one.
- The Athletics’ decision to trade Donaldson was a characteristic one, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes. The A’s acquired Donaldson in 2008 when they sent Rich Harden to the Cubs, and Donaldson only emerged years later as one of the game’s top third basemen. Now they’re acquiring four players in shipping Donaldson to Toronto, perhaps hoping one of Barreto, Nolin or Graveman blossoms years from now, just like Donaldson did. Passan writes that the deal makes sense from Toronto’s perspective, but the Jays still need help at left field, DH, second base and closer.