Toronto Blue Jays Trade Roundup


It’s been too long since there’s been a reason for one of these. So…. here we go:

Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman and shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto are a steep price for the MVP-calibre third baseman, and Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has a pretty solid track record of getting these deals right.

Still, when Sandoval commands $95 million over five years and Ramirez gets $88 over four, parting with a supremely talented but oft-injured package of potential in Lawrie, two solid but likely mid-to-back of the rotation arms in Nolin and Graveman, plus a promising kid years away from the bigs in Barreto doesn’t seem that bad.

That from Shi Davidi of

Mike Wilner seems to love the deal, his take also from

“The Blue Jays traded Brett Lawrie.”

That’s going to be the headline, the main talking point in many of the discussions surrounding the four-for-one deal the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics just made, with Lawrie heading west along with almost-ready-for-prime-time pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin and 18-year-old lottery ticket Franklin Barreto.

But the headlines should be, “The Blue Jays Landed Josh Donaldson.

Brendan Kennedy covered the deal for the Toronto Star:

In Donaldson, the Jays acquire a middle-of-the-order bat and strong defender who is arguably the top third baseman in the game. The 28-year-old Florida native — who may be just as intense a player as Lawrie — finished in the top 10 in American League most valuable player voting the last two seasons.
Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle he was shocked by the trade. “This doesn’t make sense to me. We just traded our best player the last two years.

Cathal Kelly, from the Globe and Mail chimed in:

The deal puts the Jays on top in terms of off-season moves in the American League East. They’ve already upgraded at catcher with veteran Russell Martin.

Last week, they watched the Red Sox add major offence with two free-agent arrivals – third baseman Pablo Sandoval and likely outfielder Hanley Ramirez. Donaldson is a better producer than either and at a likely arbitration figure of $5-million (U.S.) or so, much, much cheaper.

Over at the Toronto Sun Mike Zeisberger offered up his praise:

In snapping up third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Oakland A’s, the Blue Jays acquire an all-star player who finished in the top 10 in American League MVP voting in each of the past two seasons. They also control his contract rights for the next four years, a key for Anthopoulos in pursuing the 28-year-old former catcher.

In the past two seasons, Donaldson outhomered Sandoval 53-30 while driving in the same number of runs: 152. Keep in mind, too, that Donaldson played 81 home games per season in hitter-unfriendly Oakland, a cavernous stadium where rocketing fly balls go to die.

John Lott covered the deal for the National Post:

After a season of futile tinkering, Alex Anthopoulos clearly ran out of patience. It was time for a revolution.

The arrival of Josh Donaldson and departure of Brett Lawrie represent the latest bold strokes in his makeover of the Toronto Blue Jays. By opening day of 2015, the Jays could have new players at six offensive positions.

John Hickey covers the A’s for the Oakland Tribune:

Beane sees Lawrie, just 24, as moving into the slot at third base and Graveman and Nolin as likely members of the 2015 pitching staff. Barreto, just 18, is a future project, but the A’s see him as one of the best young shortstops in the game.

“Talks got serious the last 48 hours,” Beane said. “They were reluctant to give up all four, but we wouldn’t make the trade without all four. Ultimately they decided they would give up the four.”

Beane talked about the need to look at the future, but Donaldson said the A’s present looked good to him before the trade, and after the trade, too.

Cliff Corcoran covered the deal for

The Toronto Blue Jays just acquired one of the best players in baseball. They obtained All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson from the A’s for fellow infielder Brett Lawrie and a trio of prospects, including starting pitchers Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, both of whom cracked the majors in 2014, and teenage shortstop Franklin Barreto. The trade is a shocker that effectively signals a rebuild on the part of the A’s, as Donaldson, an elite defensive third baseman with power and patience at the plate, has been their best player over the last two years. As for Toronto, the trade is further evidence that the Blue Jays are determined to seize what they see as a window of opportunity in the AL East.

Ken Rosenthal from has this to offer:

For Donaldson, I’m not sure it was possible for the A’s to get enough.

The usual caveat applies: Trades like this cannot be judged immediately. But when you move a player of Donaldson’s quality, and give up that much club control, the odds of coming out ahead are more difficult.

David Schoenfield’s a great MLB writer for

“For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1993 — the longest playoff drought in the majors — you have to love the top of that order. It certainly projects to be one of the best lineups in the league. The Blue Jays were fourth in the AL in runs scored last year with their third basemen hitting .234/.287/.400. Donaldson would project to be about a 30-run improvement at the plate over what the Jays received in 2014. Donaldson is arbitration-eligible for the first time and is set to receive a big raise to the neighborhood of $4.5 million, but he’s still under team control for four more seasons.”

Susan Slusser covers the A’s for

It seems almost unthinkable, but on Friday the A’s dealt away their best player, All-Star and MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, sending their No. 3 hitter to Toronto for infielder Brett Lawrie, shortstop Franklin Barreto and pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin.
“I’m so shocked,” Donaldson said by phone. “I just got off the phone with Billy Beane, and I guess they got an offer that they couldn’t resist. I’m definitely a little emotional about it. Oakland is my home.

It’s pretty hard to find the coverage of the deal on their website but Scott MacArthur had this to say:

In Donaldson, the Jays get one of the game’s best third basemen, a 28-year-old who’s hit 53 home runs in his first two big league seasons. He’s done so in the regrettable pit that is the Oakland Coliseum, a cavernous monstrosity which gets bigger at night thanks to the marine layer which floats in off of San Francisco Bay and tends to keep fly balls from clearing the outfield fence.
He’s posted Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) numbers of 147 in 2013 and 129 last year, good for second best among American League third basemen in both seasons.
Donaldson is a solid defender at the hot corner. He may not be to Lawrie’s caliber, but he’s in a different offensive class and that more than offsets whatever Toronto is losing with the glove.

My two cents?

It’s hard not to get excited about the trade. It’s hard not love the fact that we are excited about Toronto Blue Jays moves and it’s only November.

However, does anyone else get the old deja vu all over again sense?

I mean, as excited as I want to be, there’s a part of my brain that keeps saying, “oh yeah, you got sucked in to the hype a few years back and look what happened.”

I am not raining on the parade ( I am in Seattle and there is enough rain here right now thank you very much).

However, I am reminded that being the best team in baseball on paper in the off season doesn’t mean all that much as long as you still have to play the games.

So, I am going with excited, but cautiously optimistic.

From Seattle, TSM

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Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
November 29, 2014 3:26 pm

Yes, the Jays gave up 3 prospects but,that is what they are prospects all of whom combined may never play 50 MLB games.
So, it comes down to getting a solid 3 baseman with numbers for a player whom in his whole MLB career has only been available to play in 60% of total games.
That said,with no names attached…seems like a solid deal.

WestDale Rocks
WestDale Rocks
November 29, 2014 7:09 pm

I turned on the radio today hoping to hear some professional analysis on this deal. What I got…no joke…was Wilner and Ennis on The Fan making potty jokes and describing the Oakland Colisseum as an outhouse. This went on for five minutes and I yelled at my car radio before slamming the power button off. Weekend sports radio is full of clowns and VERY VERY weak.

November 30, 2014 1:30 pm

But it is an outhouse

November 30, 2014 4:29 pm

I’m torn on the trade to be honest. I think it was a case of Donaldson being available now and the Blue Jays being able to strike now and get him versus being unable to get him down the road in combination with the patience running thin on Lawrie. The Jays probably see a number of infielders climbing up through the system and maybe the deal cleared out some space to allow some prospects to find their way up eventually. There was probably little appetite in giving Lawrie a long term deal down the road anyways. Just wondering now what trading cards they have left to fill needs in the OF, 2B, possibly DH and the bullpen. Tall order.

WestDale Rocks
WestDale Rocks
December 1, 2014 12:31 pm

d, whether or not the Colisseum is an outhouse is irrelevant. When I tune in to get trade analysis, I expect it to be professional. Not these two idiots yukking it up over what they think of a stadium and Wilner making ‘bowels of the stadium’ jokes.

December 3, 2014 4:10 pm

I really agree with TSM deje vu feeling about the trade/signings are. Especially from the reaction. We had every Rogers media personalities (RMP) saying how great trade is and how the team is “so much better now” right to people having concerns with the roster/moves and being told by Wilner that “Theat they know nothing about baseball and are just being negative”. People had concern about the Mets/Marlins deals and were shouted down, there legit concerns about these deals (money and prospects for position we already have) and that’s being silenced and mocked by Wilner and the Wilnernites.

By the way Friday night I think the Fan failed big time when this story broke. I saw the story on the ticker at 10pm and went to SN590 at 10:30 Sammut and Rusic was on. There was so me positive like bringing Blair on(who I think is great. But then having Wilner on for an hour to tell anybody who has an oppositve view of “The trade is the gretest” as being dumb and negative.

While AA was having his media conference. Fan was interviewing some friend/fan of Oakland and just give the crib notes of what AA said (they couldn’t have gone to it live or at least tapped delayed) Wilner was on for the end of there show (last half hour) up to midnight and was surprised that they were going to sign out at midnight. Such a big trade and and you leave so suddenly. I get they might have done a full shift, but there no intern or overnight/weekend youngester, who lives near the studio to come and and do a couple of more hours?

That’s a big problem with the current Fan590, I think back a few decades back with guys like Merek, Strombo, Macko Jr. Somebody would pick up the ball and come in, there’s no young talent on the fan who seems to be willing to take that extra step. After the Fan signed off the air at midnight I went to TSN radio, there’ guys talked about the trade and actually had repeat audio of AA talking to the media about it, they also had a Raptors post game analysis and signed out at 2AM. Big win for TSN radio on Friday night.

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