Friday, 28 November 2014
Jays Acquire MVP Candidate
Hey how would you guys like to have another Jose Bautista? Probably a lot, right? Maybe you'd give up Brett Lawrie for one? You'd better.
Well, Josh Donaldson is mucho better, and has more club control than Lawrie, albeit at a much higher price. But holy fuck Donaldson is good. He's a guy who is coming off of 7.7 and 6.4 WAR seasons these last two years. To compare, Jose Bautista's two best seasons ever are 7.7 and 6.5 WAR. Ever! Those two seasons? His 54HR breakout, and then his follow-up.
Basically, Donaldson is fucking good. Career .268/.347/.458 kind of good. And he did that playing half of his games in Oakland, and another good chunk in Anaheim. His home-road splits suggest that he's really good away from Oakland. And hey! We're talking about the AL East here. Skydome, Fenway, Yankee Stadium... this is bandbox central (not that park factors aren't factored in to WAR). And defense! He's really good at defense!
As for the package-- Lawrie is sort of the ultimate upside guy who just hasn't really put it together yet. He's quite a bit younger than Donaldson, and will be cheaper, but he also comes with the injury risks, the inconsistency, and the fact that he's only under club control for three years, which is less than Donaldson. Makes sense to include other pieces.
I suppose that's where Nolin, Graveman and Baretto fit in.
Nolin, for his part, is a lot better than his 92347 ERA in 4 big league innings would suggest. He's done well in the minors and will fight for a rotation spot in Oakland's rotation sooner than later. Graveman is also a guy. He happens to be pretty old for a prospect, but Jesse Chavez was like 31 or something when he was briefly good, so late-bloomage does happen. And it's not like he's trying the same thing over and over either-- he added a cutter and started getting a shitload of groundballs, moving up from A-ball to the majors in a single season. He will also fight for a rotation spot.
Barreto is only 18, but scouts seem to drool all over him. He probably won't be a shortstop in the future, but he's crushed every league he's played in since he was 10.
All things considered, the Jays gave up quite a bit to land a potential MVP. And MVP's should cost a lot. Especially when they have four (!) seasons of control. At age 29 (opening day age, anyway), and at 2.158 of service time, he's controlled at a discount through his prime years. That's good!
I guess the only real issue here is exactly what the Jays are giving up, in terms of their 2015 team. It's not Lawrie, or Barreto, because Lawrie is replaced, and Barreto isn't a MLB asset yet. Graveman and Nolin, though, are young, controllable pitchers, and serve as depth. What if 2012 or 2013 happens again, where all the pitchers either get hurt or suck? That depth raises the floor. We might be back to the days of Chien Ming Wang or Ramon Ortiz if things go south. It's probably not THAT bad; Daniel Norris is there, Marco Estrada and JA Happ are there. That other guy is there. And who knows who else might show up and be this year's Graveman?
As for 2015... AA isn't fucking around, is he? There is little market for 2B at the moment. The relief pitcher market hasn't developed at all yet. This could entice Melky to come back and fill the LF void. Meanwhile, there's some sort of Reyes-Martin-Donaldson-Bautista-Encarnacion situation going on, and it's still November. Most teams don't even start their offseason until the winter meetings. This is sweet. How good would Melky look in there? Especially with the switch-hitterness of it all, stuffed in with all those right-handed bats.
I would hasten a guess that AA is after it this year.