Well, this really shouldn’t be a surprise to all the people I can imagine are out there feeling surprised or shocked right now.
So a few weeks ago Billy Beane said that Josh Donaldson was not available? This is Oakland. Since when has thinking a player is safe from being traded meant anything in the past twenty years? Oh yeah it doesn’t.
Josh Donaldson for four players is a pretty “overwhelming” offer as Beane put it. He maintains that the Blue Jays threw so much young talent at him that he couldn’t resist making the deal but that the plan had been, up until that point, that Donaldson was staying put.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014
Personally I’m ok with it. I see where they are going with it. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle quoted right fielder (who I’d have rather they had traded) Josh Reddick as saying,
I don’t know how true that is. I does appear to be a rebuilding of sorts but I’ve seen bigger overhauls in the past. It also seems that they could remain fairly competitive.
Maybe they won’t make the playoffs in the ultra-competitive American League West but they’ll still finish with a winning record with guys like Jeff Samardzija, Sonny Gray, Brandon Moss, etc. on the team.
Plus, they’ll now have another group of strong young players to work with. Let’s look at the four new Oakland Athletics:
1. Brett Lawrie, who is just 24 years old, plays good defensive and is a career .265 hitter, will be taking over at third for Donaldson. He might not produce the same way as Donaldson but he is still young.
2. The A’s had already been eyeing pitcher Sean Nolin. I read that some time ago and know a little bit about the left-handed starter. Nolin who is also just 24, has just one Major League start and one relief appearance under his belt, but is still said to be big league ready.
3. 23-year-old right-handed reliever Kendall Graveman made five appearances for the Blue Jays last season. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing five hits, two runs and posting a 3.86 ERA. It’s not perfection but he is definitely someone who has potential and is also considered big league ready.
4. The fourth player that helped seal the deal is 18-year-old shortstop Frank Barreto. He’s already played in two teams in the rookie leagues at in 2013 and spent last season in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League.
His numbers at such a young age are impressive. He’s batted .296/.366/.482 in his short career. He’s hit a total of 10 home runs, 11 triples and driven in 87 runs in just 132 professional games. So far, I like him. It just might be a couple years until we see him in an Athletics uniform.
Yes, the A’s lose an All-Star and two-time MVP candidate in Donaldson. Yes he led the team in home runs (29) in 2014 and drove in 98 runs but he only batted .268 at the end of the day.
Donaldson’s presence will certainly be missed but if you think about – at least when I have – I was surprised he was even in the running for a Gold Glove after some of the errors he was making in 2014. He made 23 in 2014 compared to 16 in 2013.
I’m not saying I’m glad to see him go. I’m not. I’m not saying he isn’t a great player, He is. What I’m saying is I can see what Beane is trying to do.
He’s doing the same thing he always does. Last season’s trades were an anomoly, Beane always trades more expensive players for a group of talented but younger (and cheaper!) options.
This time, having seen and known that they were wrong about that trade, I believe the naysayers will be wrong about this one as well. The benefits may not out weigh the loss of Donaldson in 2015 but they will in the future.
Beane is doing his thing. He is doing what he can with what he has to ensure the future of the Athetics. If trading Josh Donaldson to Toronto for four guys who will be cheaper and likely collectively better once they get some experience, is what needs to be done then I am on board.
In Billy I know I, certainly, trust. He’s taken the Athletics to the playoffs eight times this century which is A LOT more than most teams can dream of. So think about it a little bit before you get upset. In Billy we all should trust.