OAKLAND, Calif. — Billy Beane looked at the large deficit by which his Athletics lost the AL West to the Angels, then evaluated how Oakland barely held off Seattle on the season’s final day for the second wild card.
The general manager realized he needed to rebuild his roster once more, and Oakland traded All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night for third baseman Brett Lawrie, left-hander Sean Nolin, right-hander Kendall Graveman and minor league shortstop Franklin Barreto.
Beane said on a conference call that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was reluctant to give up four players for Donaldson, but the A’s wouldn’t have proceeded otherwise.
“We wouldn’t have done the deal unless it addressed now and the future and they were able to do that. This deal in our minds addresses a little bit of everything,” Beane said. “It got pretty serious the last 48 hours. They were reluctant to give up all four players and we weren’t going to do it without those four players in the deal.”
The 28-year-old Donaldson, a sure-handed, athletic defender, batted .255 with 29 home runs and 98 RBIs in 158 games last season. In four seasons in the majors, all with Oakland, he has a .268 average with 63 home runs and 228 RBIs in 405 games.
Another fan favorite, gone.
Oakland, which won the AL West in 2012 and ‘13, lost by 10 games to the big-spending Angels. The A’s then lost 9-8 in 12 innings in the one-game AL wild card at AL champion Kansas City.
On Nov. 19, Beane signed designated hitter and former Royals star Billy Butler to a $30 million, three-year contract. Just last Sunday, the A’s acquired first baseman Ike Davis and international bonus slot 86 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for international bonus slot 27.
Lawrie batted .247 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs in 70 games for Toronto last season. He missed most of the final three months because of a broken finger and an oblique strain.
To clear spots on the 40-man roster, the A’s designated right-hander Josh Lindblom and first baseman Kyle Blanks for assignment.