After the trade, I emailed Alex Hall of Athletics Nation, SB Nation's flagship site, to give us a scouting report about our new third baseman. This what he had to say:
Josh Donaldson is now your best player, whether you know it or not. I can say that with certainty because Mike Trout is the only player in the AL who has been better than him the last two years, and you don't have Trout. Donaldson is an absolute stud on both sides of the ball, and he's likable from a fan perspective as well due to his fun-loving personality and intense playing style.
On offense, Donaldson is a complete hitter. He has patience and discipline, he has power, he makes a lot of contact, he doesn't strike out too much, he hits to all fields, and he has shown a knack for walk-off homers (three last year alone). In 2013, he sprayed liners all over the place and sometimes muscled them out. In 2014, he appeared to add a bit more loft in order to hit more fly balls and up his home run potential, and it mostly worked. Note that his overall batting line is skewed by a perplexing June slump, and for five out of six months he was much better than his .798 OPS suggests. The slump was even weirder because he's usually quite consistent.
On defense, it's ridiculous that Donaldson didn't win the Gold Glove in 2014. He has unbelievable range and reflexes and he guards the left-field line with his life; not much gets past him down that line, which saves a lot of doubles. He has a cannon for an arm and can throw out a runner from foul territory. However, that arm can get a bit wild and lead him to botch a routine play, which is how he racked up 23 errors and lost the Gold Glove. He's not great coming in to field bunts, but that's a minor complaint in an otherwise elite defensive profile. For as good as he is with the bat, he might be even better with the glove. One downside to look out for is his shift to the artificial turf, as he is the kind of player who throws his body all over the ground going after balls. I imagine that gave Brett Lawrie problems, and it might affect Donaldson's health down the road as well.
Donaldson is the real deal. He's a two-way superstar who your fans will love and your opponents will love to hate. He's actually similar to how I view Lawrie in a lot of ways, but currently way better on the field and toned down off the field. At age 29 next season, he's a good bet for at least one more year of peak production, and even when the decline begins he's starting from such a high place that he should remain somewhere between above-average and great through the four years you control him.