Report: Josh Donaldson and Billy Beane Were Clashing


In an article that was just published by Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Oz, he quoted John Shea of the SF Chronicle, and Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller saying that Billy Beane and Josh Donaldson were clashing by season’s end. According to Shea, Donaldson had asked for a few days off to get right physically, right around the time of the Cespedes trade.

In Shea’s piece, everything wraps up very nicely. “According to sources, Beane suggested if Donaldson were that banged up, he’d need to go on the disabled list, prompting the two to have words. We had a talk, but that was before the All-Star break,” Donaldson said via text when asked about the issue on Saturday.”

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The Bleacher Report version is much juicier. Before we get in to it, I will say that I am not sure how credible the BR piece is, simply because in “Miller’s Starting 9” this material was listed at #4. This is #1 type stuff. The other part that leads me to question it, is all of the “sources” that are referenced with having this knowledge. It could just be a thirteen year old telling us Cespedes was traded again.

I feel that the information is quite revealing if true, and wanted to pass it along. Here is the text from Scott Miller at BR, unabridged.

“One industry source says he “knew” the Athletics would trade Josh Donaldson this winter, no matter how little baseball sense it made, because the All-Star and Beane were “at war” by season’s end.

Multiple sources cite a verbal altercation between the two after Donaldson told manager Bob Melvin he needed a couple of days off after Oakland had played several days in a row. The story goes, Beane told Donaldson if he needed a couple of days off, the club should put him on the disabled list, and that made Donaldson unhappy.

While both Donaldson and Beane downplayed the incident in a couple of texts to the San Francisco Chronicle’s terrific baseball writer, John Shea, the industry source described a different scenario to Bleacher Report.

“Donaldson told the manager he needed a blow, and [Bob] Melvin said, ‘You got it,’ ” the source said. “Then that night’s lineup came out and Billy asked, ‘Where’s Donaldson?’ ”

When told what happened, the source says, an angry Beane demanded that Melvin put Donaldson back into the lineup.

“They got into it in the coach’s office,” the source says, describing a scene in which Beane lit into Donaldson, with the third baseman reiterating his need for a day off and petulantly calling Beane “Billy Boy.”

“Nobody talks to Billy that way,” the source said. “It did not surprise me in the least that he got rid of Donaldson.” ”

Ok, I’m back. If this is all completely true, this doesn’t paint Billy Beane in the best light, and his demeanor will likely scare many fans. If not for the reasons I listed beforehand, another reason I’m not sold on the “inside information” is that the Blue Jays reportedly asked about Donaldson after the season ended, and Beane said no. A little time later (maybe his Twitter comments were the final nail?) and Donaldson is shipping out.

Again, make of this what you will. There is probably some truth behind these pieces, but the real truth may lay somewhere in between.