As you probably know by now, A's and Blue Jays just pulled the trigger on one of the bigger trades of the offseason, sending all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson up north. Here are my thoughts.
Earlier this week I mentioned that there are guys like Stanton and Heyward who are younger than lots of people realize because they've been around for so long, (which I'm renaming the Giancarlo Stanton theory) Donaldson is the opposite, 2013 was his first full season, when he was 27 years old, a pretty late start. With that in mind, it's entirely possible that Donaldson's peaked already. His OPS+ fell from 145 to 126, between 2013 and 2014 and with his age, he only has three or four really good years left maximum.
On the other hand, Brett Lawrie completely qualifies for the Stanton theory. He's only 24, despite being in the league since 2011. While he's been disappointing for the Jays the last few years, he's always been a plus fielder at third base, and still has time to become a better hitter.
Kendall Graveman went to Oakland, in the deal, and he can make in impact as soon as next year. He has a career 2.30 ERA in the minors, including 1.88 in 38 innings in AAA last year.
Overall, this was a pretty even trade for both teams, but with Donaldson's age and regression offensively, I'll declare the A's the winners of this trade; just when he was starting to get a little criticism, Billy Beane pulls off a shrewd and underrated move like this one.
And that was where I was going to end the column... until the Twins did the most nostalgic move on the offseason.*
*Not that they had any competition
I can't find a single reason not to like this move for the Twins. You say Hunter's too old? I'll politely inform you that they didn't have any chance of contending anyway. Another common criticism is that they paid him too much money, my response to that is, it doesn't matter how much they paid him, it's only for one year, it's not like the Twins were planning on signing a big money free agent and they can't afford him anymore because of the 10 million they're giving Hunter.
He hit .298/.319/.446 last year in Detroit, but his contributions will be more off the field. I can't think of a better mentor for Aaron Hicks, and overall it'll just be fun to have him in a Twins uniform again.
That's all for today, we'll discuss the Markakis and Cruz deals this weekend.