The Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays completed a blockbuster trade Friday evening involving All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Donaldson is headed to Toronto in exchange for a package of four players: third baseman Brett Lawrie, left-handed pitcher Sean Nolin, right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman and shortstop Franklin Barreto.
Donaldson was Oakland's best player for the last two years. After a breakout 2013 in which he finished fourth in the American League MVP voting, he batted .255/.342/.456 (126 OPS+) with 29 home runs in 2014 and finished eighth for MVP. His 7.4 bWAR ranked second in the AL after only Mike Trout, and he earned a start in his first All-Star Game and a Fielding Bible award in recognition of his excellent defense. Donaldson will turn 29 in December but is only entering his first year of arbitration, and he is under team control through the 2018 season.
Lawrie, a Canadian native, has struggled with injuries throughout his major league career. He played in only 177 games the last two years combined, and has never exceeded 125 in a single season. However, he was a highly touted prospect on his way up the minor league ladder and he's shown flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball. In 70 games last year, he batted .247/.301/.421 (101 OPS+) with 12 home runs and accrued 1.7 bWAR. While Donaldson has been better to this point, Lawrie turns 25 in January and may not have reached his full potential yet. Lawrie also played 32 games at second base last year, giving the Athletics increased flexibility in the field and possibly plugging their gaping hole at the position.
Of the other three players the A's received, Nolin and Graveman have appeared in the majors. Nolin made one start in 2013 that ended in disaster (seven runs and only four outs), and he came out of the bullpen once in 2014, allowing just a home run to Chris Denorfia in an inning of work. His minor league career includes a 3.06 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 92 games, mostly starts. He turns 25 in December.
Barreto is a shortstop from Venezuela whose highest level so far is Low-A ball, where he posted an .865 OPS last year; he turns 19 in February. Graveman, who turns 24 in December, excelled at four levels of the minors last year and posted a 1.88 ERA in six starts at Triple-A. He made five relief appearances in the majors in September and posted a 3.86 ERA in 4⅔ innings.
Josh Reddick says it's clear to him and other #Athletics players that team is now in rebuilding mode.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014
This was re-tweeted by A's right fielder Josh Reddick, in reference to tweets posted by Donaldson earlier in November.