The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for fellow third baseman Brett Lawrie, right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin, and Class A shortstop Franklin Barreto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported.
This deal is a big one for both of these teams. Donaldson, 28, was the face of the A's this past season, as he emerged as one of the best third baseman over the past two seasons. Lawrie, 24, has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries, but still is young and could definitely reach his once high ceiling.
Donaldson is obviously the most prominent piece being moved in this blockbuster. He was named to his first All-Star appearance this past season, posting a .255/.342/.456 slash line with 29 homers and 98 runs batted in over 695 plate appearances with Oakland.
The Chicago Cubs picked Donaldson with their first round pick (48th overall) in the 2007 MLB Draft. He has a .805 OPS and a 125 OPS+. He has a .347 OBP and has averaged 25 homers over every 162 games.
Donaldson was a 6.4 fWAR player this past year, which ranked second in the major leagues among third baseman. He had a 129 wRC+ overall, while posting a 146 wRC+ on the road. He has a career .788 OPS in 39 plate appearances at Rogers Centre over his career. The hitters park should help his performance.
In return, the Athletics will receive Brett Lawrie and three others. The 24-year-old Lawrie was selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Brewers, and first broke into the big leagues in 2011 after being traded to the Blue Jays. He has had trouble staying on the field due to injury, but has been productive when healthy.
This past season, Lawrie just played 70 games and recorded 282 plate appearances. He slashed .247/.301/.421 with 12 homers and 38 runs batted in. Lawrie posted a 101 wRC+ and a 1.7 fWAR. He will slide into the third baseman slot out in Oakland.
It wasn't just Lawrie. The Athletics received three other prospects. They received 2013 8th round pick Kendall Graveman, who actually appeared in the majors this past season. He posted a 1.83 ERA and a 3.71 strikeout-per-walk ratio in 167 1/3 innings pitched over his tenure in the minors.
Fellow major leaguer Sean Nolin also heads to the Athletics, who pitched 97 minor league innings this past season, posting a 3.43 ERA and a 2.26 strikeout-per-walk ratio. Finally, the Athletics receive Franklin Barreto, who slashed .311/.384/.481 with six homers and 61 runs batted in over 328 plate appearances at Short Season Single-A Vancouver.
Donaldson was thought to not be moving this offseason, and was even asked about by Toronto following the completion of the World Series. Now he heads to a lineup that already includes Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and Russell Martin. The Blue Jays will be serious AL contenders in 2015.
The Athletics, as they should, received a strong return for the face of their team in Donaldson. They receive three top prospects in Graveman, Nolin, and Barreto, while also receiving Lawrie, who, if he can pull it together, might have the same ceiling as Donaldson reached.
This is an interesting blockbuster, and we might not know the winner for a long time. Regardless, the Blue Jays have shown that they want to win now, while Billy Beane continues to build for the future in Oakland, as he usually does. This was a really engaging trade for both teams.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $65.8 million deal, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports. The deal includes an opt-out clause after four years.
The 24-year-old Tomas received interest from numerous clubs, including the Padres, Mariners, Phillies, Braves, Royals, Giants, and to a lesser extent, Yankees, Twins, and Blue Jays. The Padres, Braves, Giants, along with the Diamondbacks had reportedly shown the most interest in Tomas.
Tomas was rumored to perhaps receive a deal well worth over Rusney Castillo's seven-year, $72.5 million deal. He was thought to perhaps receive nine figures. Teams, however, were wary of Tomas' defense and conditioning, not sure if he is ready for the big leagues.
The Cuban outfielder's best asset is his power, which ranks at a 70 on the 80 grade scale. The rest of his tools are really undeveloped and unknown how well he will perform in the big leagues. He has shown a good arm and good range in the outfield. This contrasts to what many teams have reportedly felt.
Regardless of his defense, Tomas adds plenty of right handed power to a Diamondbacks team that already includes right-handed power hitter Mark Trumbo. He adds to a lineup with Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Trumbo, and at least for the time being, Miguel Montero.
The Diamondbacks aren't the deepest team in the outfield. Ender Inciarte, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, Cody Ross, and Trumbo reside there for Arizona. Tomas, while this is just speculation, might be able to fit in left field. He doesn't appear to be a center fielder and Trumbo looks to have locked down one of the two corner outfield spots. Tomas will almost definitely fill the other.
That is far from a guarantee, however. Trumbo, along with any Diamondbacks outfielders, could be moved to allow for more space for the signing of Tomas.
Tomas hit .286/.343/.444 with just six homers, 16 doubles, three triples, and 36 runs batted in over 241 at bats in the 2013-2014 Serie Nacional (Cuba's professional league). He hit 20 homers in 272 at bats just two years before. Tomas also played for the Cuban team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign Pablo Sandoval, his agent Gustavo Vazquez confirmed to multiple reporters. The deal will be officially announced tomorrow. The deal is over five years and is worth $95 million, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. It also includes a club option for a fifth season.
The Giants, Sandoval's former club, have released a statement wishing him good luck with the Red Sox.
"His connection with Giants fans - young and old - is truly special and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston," it said.
The Red Sox were one of the three finalists for Sandoval, along with the Padres and the Giants. The Padres reportedly offered Sandoval a deal in the $100 million range, but Sandoval showed a willingness to win and go to Boston. The Giants reportedly offered him a $95 million deal with a willingness to go to $100 million. Sandoval, however, allegedly wanted to go to Boston.
Sandoval represents the second big transaction the Red Sox made today. They also reportedly signed Hanley Ramirez, adding two pieces to help their team get back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2013. Sandoval will slide in nicely at third base, but Ramirez will either play at shortstop or left field, with the latter being more likely. Yoenis Cespedes, it seems, will be forced out.
Pablo Sandoval was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent in 2003. He never reached any top prospect lists, but he was really good in the minor leagues, posting a .972 OPS in 485 plate appearances in 2008. He was called up for a quick cup of coffee that season, but really broke onto the scene in 2009.
Sandoval has been great at getting on base over his seven year tenure with the Giants. He has a career .465 on-base percentage to go along with a .811 OPS. His 123 OPS+ suggests that his OPS (park adjusted) has been 23 percent better than the average major leaguer. He is a two-time All-Star and the 2012 World Series MVP. Sandoval has a career .935 OPS in the postseason (167 plate appearances).
This past season, Sandoval hit .279/.324/.415 with 16 homers and 73 runs batted in over 638 plate appearances. He was an amble defender, even considering his weight (245 lbs.), posting a 3.5 UZR/150 in 2014, suggesting that he was just better than the average fielder.
Sandoval might not be able to play third base for the entirety of his rumored five-year deal. However, when David Ortiz retires, Sandoval will be able to make a smooth transition into the designated hitter's spot for Boston, which appears to be the longterm goal for him.
The Seattle Mariners have agreed to terms with third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven-year, $100 million extension, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports.
Seager's new contract with the Mariners includes an option for an eight year for $20 million, depending on performance escalators, Passan reports. The deal is pending a physical. Seager has established himself among the best third baseman in baseball. Seager's 5.5 fWAR in 2014 ranked fourth in the majors out of third baseman, only trailing Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, and Adrian Beltre.
Seager was drafted by the Mariners in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He worked quickly through the minor leagues, first appearing in the big leagues in 2011. He was named to his first career All-Star Game this past season, while also winning a Gold Glove.
Over 654 plate appearances this past season, the 27-year-old Seager hit .268/.324/.454 with 25 homers and 96 runs batted in. He posted a 126 wRC+ and a 127 OPS+, suggesting that he was a better offensive performer (park adjusted) than 26 or 27 percent of all big leagues, depending on what metric you use.
Seager has been a cornerstone with the Mariners, and since being drafted out of UNC, he has been with the club. The homegrown talent in Seattle helped them make a legitimate playoff run in 2014. However, they fell just short of making it. Locking up Seager now will make sure the third base slot is full and full for years to come. Seager, good both offensively and defensively, gets his well-deserved payday.
Seager becomes the fourth player from his arbitration class, after Buster Posey, Freddie Freeman, and Mike Trout, to secure a $100 million payday, Passan tweets. Seager's annual average value sits at about $14.3 million (without the option). He may have commanded more than that through the arbitration process, especially following his All-Star year, but the longterm guarantee likely lured him to sign the deal.
The Boston Red Sox and free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez have agreed to a four-year, $88 million contract, according to reports. The deal will include an option for a fifth year, valued at $22 million, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Last night, Rosenthal reported that Ramirez and the Red Sox would be meeting in Boston today to finalize a deal. He reported in a separate tweet that Ramirez's deal would be in the range of five-years and $90 million.
Ramirez represents an interesting addition to this Red Sox team. He had reportedly been in talks with Boston for a couple of weeks with talks recently heating up yesterday. He had gotten minor interest from the Blue Jays, Astros, and even Marlins, but it appears that those teams were just kicking the tires. The Red Sox were the first team to show legitimate interest in Ramirez.
It is unclear where exactly Ramirez will fit into the Red Sox lineup. If the Red Sox sign Pablo Sandoval, and it has been reported that they have (although his agent says he has yet to make a decision), Ramirez could be put in left field, allowing Sandoval to slide in at third base and Xander Bogaerts to keep his position at short. Then Boston could deal Yoenis Cespedes for pitching.
One of the less popular beliefs is to keep Ramirez at short and move Bogaerts in a trade. If they used Bogaerts as a centerpiece, this would allow Boston to have a legitimate shot at acquiring Cole Hamels from Philadelphia. However, he could block a trade to Boston as well.
The 30-year-old Ramirez was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2000. He was dealt, along with Anibal Sanchez and others, to the Marlins in the trade that sent Josh Beckett to Boston. Ramirez went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts with Boston in 2005.
Ramirez went on to play six and half years with the Marlins, going to three All-Star Games (2008, 2009, 2010) and winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2006. Ramirez won the batting title in 2009, posting an excellent .342/.410/.543 line with 24 homers and 106 runs batted in.
Just days before the 2012 Trade Deadline, Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers. He's spent parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .299/.368/.506 with 43 homers and 172 runs batted in over 1120 plate appearances. His defense has been far from great as well. It appeared that the Dodgers did not want Ramirez to return this season as they try to cut down on payroll. Now he is Boston bound.
This past season, Ramirez hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 runs batted in over 512 plate appearances. He posted a 135 wRC+, and for an $18 million annual average value on his rumored deal, this seems to be a very good signing for the Red Sox. Ramirez does have a high strikeout rate, but if he can continue to get on base, it won't appear to be a problem.
The Red Sox are looking to get back to the playoffs after winning the World Series in 2013 and missing the playoffs altogether in 2014. The signing of Ramirez (and maybe Sandoval) might help them get there.