To say the least, something is happening in Oakland.
Josh Donaldson was the latest in a slew of stars to leave the Athletics, after Billy Beane dealt him for third baseman Brett Lawrie, right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin and minor league shortstop Franklin Barreto (according to Ken Rosenthal). This comes in the same month that Oakland has signed 1B/DH Billy Butler and dealt for 1B Ike Davis.
Donaldson posted a .255/.342/.456 (126 OPS+) line at third base last season, hitting 29 home runs with 98 RBI. This trade came as a shock to many Oakland Athletics fans, as Donaldson has arguably been their best offensive player over the past two seasons. Even so, Lawrie will come in and start immediately at third base, after batting .247/.301/.421 (101 OPS+). Oakland also has gotten a decent reliever in Kendall Graveman who posted a 3.86 E.R.A. in five games last season. However, the biggest piece of this trade for Oakland is Franklin Barreto, the minor league shortstop.
Last season at A- Vancouver, he posted a .311 average with 61 RBI in 73 games. He was Toronto’s number five overall prospect (according to Baseball America) and is now Oakland’s number one infield prospect. If and when he comes up, he can fill the shortstop role of Jed Lowrie, who has occupied Oakland’s shortstop space, which has been filled by mediocre-at-best players for a long time now. This will provide a huge improvement in the A’s lineup when he is major-league ready.
The Blue Jays just significantly upgraded their third base slot, as Donaldson adds a powerful bat in the Toronto lineup, which will now include Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Russell Martin. The incredibly hitter friendly AL East also plays towards Donaldson. Donaldson is still 28, and is under team control for at least four more years. He is projected to make 4.5 million dollars next season.