The Blue Jays have traded Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Franklin Barreto and Sean Nolin to the Oakland Athletics for third baseman Josh Donaldson. A trade had been in the works all night and the final result is a swap that could change the direction of both franchises. Toronto has traded their Canadian third baseman of the future and gotten back one of the most underrated players in the whole league in Josh Donaldson.
The tweet that finally broke the news:
Sources: Donaldson going to #BlueJays. Lawrie, RHP Kendall Graveman among those going to #Athletics.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2014
Class A SS Franklin Barreto also in Donaldson deal, going from #BlueJays to #Athletics.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2014
Deal is 4-for-1. Donaldson from #Athletics to #BlueJays for Lawrie, Graveman, Barreto, Nolin.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2014
Plus the tweet that made it official:
The @BlueJays have acquired JOSH DONALDSON from the Oakland Athletics for BRETT LAWRIE, SEAN NOLIN, KENDALL GRAVEMAN and FRANKLIN BARRETO.— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) November 29, 2014
Donaldson is a 28-year-old from Florida who has put up over 14 WAR over the past two years in about the quietest way possible. In 2014, the right-handed hitting third baseman had a slash line of .255/.342/.456 with 29 home runs and a wRC+ of 129. His defence is outstanding as well, accumulating 15.5 UZR at the hot corner last season which resulted in eighth place in MVP voting even though he put up the second-most bWAR in the American League. The Auburn University product was drafted 48th overall in the 2007 draft by the Chicago Cubs before being traded to Oakland in the Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin deal of 2008. Standing at 6'0" and weighing in at 220 pounds, Donaldson never showed a ton of home run power in the minor leagues but broke out in a big way in his first full season in 2013 hitting 24 home runs and posting an OBP of .384.
The relatively late-comer to the Major Leagues has 2.158 years of service time, making him a super-two player in line for his first bout with arbitration this offseason. He will become a free agent in 2019 if he is not signed to an extension by the Blue Jays.
The well-known piece going the other way is 24-year-old Canadian Brett Lawrie who may not have lived up to his massive expectations during his time in Toronto. After being acquired for Shawn Marcum, Lawrie has been a solid third baseman for the Blue Jays but hasn't exceed 110 games or 2 WAR in the last two seasons due to a number of nagging injuries. Alex Anthopoulos may have become a bit weary of all these trips to the DL and decided to dump his future face of the franchise. Lawrie actually has more service time than Donaldson with a 3.055 total, while being four years younger. The right-handed hitting third baseman will actually be a free agent in 2018, which is a year earlier than Donaldson.
The biggest of the prospects going the other way is Venezuelan shortstop Franklin Barreto. The 18-year-old has climbed up prospect rankings over the past season thanks to an amazing year at A- Vancouver where he hit .311/.384/.481, while being extremely young for the level. Baseball America named him Player of the Year for Class-A short season, leading Blue Jays fans to believe that they possibly had a future star shortstop to eventually replace Jose Reyes. The youngster was also listed as the #5 prospect in the Jays farm system by Baseball America earlier this offseason.
The other two prospects going to Oakland are pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin. Graveman, a 23-year-old righty from Alabama, shot through the Jays system this year eventually winding up in the majors as a September call-up. This short stint likely boosted his value as he showed considerable poise and a nasty sinker just months after pitching in Low-A Lansing with the Lugnuts. Nolin on the other hand is a 24-year-old lefty who made one appearance in each of 2013 and 2014. Projecting as a solid southpaw at the back of the rotation, Nolin always seemed to be in trade talks as it appeared that he had already essentially reached his ceiling. Nolin was listed as the fourth-best prospect in the Jays system earlier this year by John Sickels over at Minor League Ball.
Here's some more interesting tidbits to chew on plus an updated roster tree!
Rival exec on #BlueJays: "Crazy turn of events since they said they were told by ownership not to add $$$ or trade prospects at deadline."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2014
Davidi on PTS today: Manager wanted more "mature adults" in the room, and there weren't enough. Colby, Brett, Gose, Lind all gone. Hmm.— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) November 29, 2014
Welcome @BringerOfRain20 to the @BlueJays! He rakes! ☔️#TORONTO— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) November 29, 2014
Donaldson tells me: "At the end of the day, it's a business, as much as it hurts emotionally. The guys in that clubhouse are my brothers."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014
This is a night we'll remember for a long time. Buckle up folks.