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.