Oakland A’s: The final carnage of the Josh Donaldson deal
By David Hill
Now that Franklin Barreto has been shipped off to Los Angeles, the Oakland A’s can take a final account of the Josh Donaldson trade.
In theory, the Oakland A’s decision to trade Josh Donaldson was the type of deal that could help the franchise for years to come. While Donaldson was under team control, his salary was beginning to increase, which is always a time when the A’s look to part ways. That was indeed the case with their third baseman, as he was sent to the Blue Jays for a package of prospects.
On Friday, the final piece of that package was sent away. Franklin Barreto found his time with the organization at an end, as he was sent to the Angels for Tommy La Stella. With that deal, we can now take final stock of what was a thoroughly disappointing return for the A’s.
Donaldson, in his tenure in Toronto, was exactly what the Blue Jays had hoped for. He was the American League MVP in his first season, a two time All-Star over his four seasons in Canada. Overall, he produced a .281/.383/.548 batting line, hitting 116 homers and 105 doubles. His production at the plate, and respectable defense, was worth 19.2 bWAR over that time.
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The A’s received nothing close to that value. Brett Lawrie was solid in Oakland in his only season with the A’s, producing a .260/.299/.407 batting line with 29 doubles and 16 homers. He was, however, a disaster defensively, costing the A’s two runs at third and seven more at second. Nonetheless, that one year was worth 1.7 bWAR, and the A’s were able to flip him for J.B. Wendelken.
Kendall Graveman was easily the best player the A’s received back. Despite his injury woes, he was a solid part of the rotation, posting a 23-29 record with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.382 WHiP over his 441.2 innings, striking out 282 batters with 130 walks. The best player in the deal was also worth 5.5 bWAR.
Sean Nolin made virtually zero impact in Oakland, appearing in a total of six games. In that time, he posted a 5.28 ERA and a 1.621 WHiP, striking out 15 batters with 12 walks in 29 innings. Shoulder woes have hindered his career, but the A’s had placed him on waivers on February 16, 2016. In his brief stint in Oakland, he was worth -0.3 bWAR.
And then we come to Barreto. As much as Nolin struggled, Barreto was actually worse in terms of value. While he showed promise at AAA, he could never get that production to translate in the majors. In 219 plate appearances over four years, he produced a .180/.210/.360 batting line, hitting seven doubles and nine homers while striking out 92 times. That production was worth a -0.8 bWAR.
It did not take long for the Donaldson trade to be viewed as a bust. However, for as long as Barreto was in the organization, it was possible to hold out hope that, one day, he would put everything together and make this deal less of a disaster. That ship has now sailed, allowing the final tally to be determined.
The Oakland A’s thought they were setting themselves up for the future when they traded Josh Donaldson. Instead, that deal was a disaster.