Fans of nearly every team are fuming that their team did not land Josh Donaldson on Friday night. Third base is an area that could use an immediate upgrade in Houston, but would a trade with Oakland for the All-Star third baseman have been feasible for the Astros?
The tenants at Minute Maid Park have prospects–lots and lots of prospects–and that is the reason many Astros fans feel that Donaldson should be on his way to 501 Crawford Street. While this is true, and the main portion of the return that Oakland received was prospects that are either ready to contribute, or an 18-year old with a high ceiling, the A’s also received Brett Lawrie, who can slide right in to being their starting third baseman.
Lawrie is younger than Donaldson, and Matt Dominguez for that matter, and has the ability to provide both offensively and defensively. His injury history is a little worrisome if you’re the A’s, but if you’re making a trade for prospects, there is always going to be some risk involved. Why not just add more to the pile?
A deal with the Astros would have likely included Dominguez. The trio of prospects the A’s received (Sean Nolin, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman) weren’t the Blue Jays’ top prospects, but Nolin and Graveman are projected to be major league ready. The A’s could have looked at Carlos Correa, and Michael Foltynewicz in addition to Dominguez as a return for Donaldson, who is under contract for the next four seasons.
Would you still make that trade? That is an awfully high price, I’d say.
Another reason that the Astros may not have landed Josh Donaldson is simply because they are in the same division as the A’s. Donaldson plays with a chip on his shoulder, which is part of what makes him so great, yet the A’s learned their lesson when they traded Chris Carter to Houston in 2012. It is probable that they don’t want any more of their former players doing damage against them as a divisional foe.
The Astros have the talent that could have landed Donaldson, but Jeff Luhnow is committed to the process. We’re going to see this thing through, for better or worse.