Josh Donaldson Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays

Sep 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) hits a walk off home run during the tenth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coliseum. Oakland won 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Friday evening saw Billy Beane make one of the most confusing trades I have seen in quite a while.  According to Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland A’s have sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, and Franklin Barreto.

Nolin, Graveman, and Barreto are likely not going to be fantasy relevant in 2015, so I am going to limit this article to mostly Donaldson and a little on Brett Lawrie.

Lawrie is one of the many players that I have no interest in owning on my team.  He has tantalizing potential, but he is always injured.  Brett Lawrie is either on the disabled list or he is less than 72 hours away from going back on the DL.  Even when Lawrie plays once in a blue moon, he has not contributed the numbers I expected from him.  However, I do have to consider that he is still young.

Brett Lawrie would need to prove that he can stay healthy before I am interested in owning him on my fantasy baseball team.  I understand his talent as well as his incredible hustle and effort to the point of injury, but there are only two DL spots in most leagues and I am not wasting one on the new third baseman of the Oakland A’s.

On the other hand, Josh Donaldson is one of my favorite players in the game right now.  He is just an all-around fantastic asset in his prime and under control until 2018.  There is almost no justification in moving him.  He is a premier third baseman with the bat and the glove.

Donaldson has been a true stud for two seasons, which is evidenced in fantasy terms by an average of 91 runs, 26.5 home runs, and 95.5 RBI’s in 2013 and 2014.  On the field, Josh Donaldson compares favorably with most third basemen.  Only Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado are considered superior defenders to the new hot corner specialist of the Toronto Blue Jays.

As for Josh Donaldson’s fantasy value, I would have to think the trade may improve his stock.  The Rogers Centre is a friendlier venue for hitters than the Coliseum.  Plus, Donaldson will now have approximately 25 to 30 road games at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Camden Yards.  His new schedule is very conducive to the long ball.

While this trade should result in a slight bump in Josh Donaldson’s fantasy value, he is still behind Anthony Rendon and maybe Adrian Beltre among fantasy third basemen.  Then again, the Oakland A’s were a great offense for most of 2014, so this move may not help his run and RBI production as much as everyone anticipates.

Above all, I am just confused about this trade from Oakland’s perspective.  They traded away their best player even though they were likely going to be a contender in 2015.  He has been an MVP candidate the past two seasons.  Sure, they received Brett Lawrie and three other players, but I feel like they are sacrificing the present to potentially build for the future when they possibly had a championship caliber team just as of yesterday.

I have read and loved Moneyball, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I have fallen in line with the many people who agree that Billy Beane appears to be an excellent GM.  As for this trade, I feel that the sum of the parts that the A’s received for Josh Donaldson will not replace his fantastic production.

Then again, Billy Beane is infinitely better at a running a ballclub than myself, so he may realize that Brett Lawrie is about to turn the corner or that one of those other players is the key to Oakland’s future.  It would also be crazy to automatically know who benefits from this trade at this point in time, especially since Josh Donaldson did not play at his current all-star level until age 28.

This trade also shows that the Toronto Blue Jays are ready to compete immediately.  You have to remember that the Jays already signed Russell Martin this off-season, so they could be a big time contender in the American League.

On a slightly related note, if you are in a 10 man league with a pick at the end of the first round, then you can potentially draft all Blue Jays with your first three picks.