If you're reading this then you most certainly know about the trade that became official a short time ago between the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics. Heading to the A's are Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, and Sean Nolin, while the Blue Jays receive All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson in return. The trade is yet another sign that Alex Anthopoulos and company are very serious about going all in for the next few seasons and have had enough of building up solid farm systems to come up short time and time again. By trading away essentially three top 12 prospects as well as the former Canadian third baseman of the future, Anthopoulos has risked his job and a large part of the franchise's fate on this trade and the Russell Martin signing earlier this month.
For all of the people that were slowly losing faith in the ability of the front office to make moves like this, it is certainly a massive reminder that Alex Anthopoulos is always capable of pulling off a crazy deal at any time. As he said after the signing of Martin, the majority of the moves made during the rest of the offseason would be trades as he's always much preferred building teams through swaps with other teams instead of expensive free agent signings.
It sounds like the initial opinion among Blue Jays fans is that Anthopoulos is back to his old "ninja" ways and he pulled a fast one on the most well-known general manager in baseball. Once you step back and assess the deal you realize that it is more of a win-win than a straight steal as many are making it out to be. Donaldson is a Super Two player and will very quickly become much more expensive than Lawrie in arbitration thanks to his massive production the past few seasons. Rogers has clearly given the team enough financial backing to handle this pay raise due for Donaldson, while the A's always have to be mindful of where they spend their limited funds (even more limited after signing Billy Butler).
Billy Beane also takes on the upside of three extremely talented prospects in Barreto, Graveman, and Nolin. Barreto could develop into a solid offensive shortstop or he could move elsewhere and still hit enough to provide solid value. Graveman and Nolin are already nearly bumping their heads on their respective ceilings and could provide extremely attractive value to Oakland in the near-future.
The trade will likely come out looking very good for Toronto in the next season or two as Donaldson is projected to outpace Lawrie quite handily. The eventual performances of the three prospects will end up determining how history will remember the deal, but even if all three become major league regulars the Blue Jays still traded for Donaldson with the intention of going for the World Series now. With many of their stars in their prime, the team clearly wasn't prepared to wait for players like Barreto to develop not knowing who would still be around when he was ready.
I often find myself straddling the middle on big trades like this because I hate seeing players in the Blue Jays system get shipped to other teams. Although I'm not about to yell from the rooftops that Alex Anthopoulos just stole Josh Donaldson from Billy Beane, I'm extremely pleased that the Blue Jays general manager made a strong move to put the team in a position to win in 2015 and beyond. It cost a lot of talent, as big moves usually do, but the end result is a major league team that looks stronger than it did when we woke up this morning. If that doesn't get you counting down the days until Spring Training then I don't know what will.