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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Josh Donaldson trade makes sense now: Billy Beane didn't like him asking for rest.

Two examples of guys who can't wait to show how smart they are:

Why Oakland’s Seemingly Insane Josh Donaldson Trade Is Defensible at Worst and Sell-High Smart at Best  DECEMBER 1, 2014  grantland.com
by BEN LINDBERGH

The Perception and the Market of Star Player Trade Value December 2, 2014  fangraphs.com
by Dave Cameron

Now we have this:

A’s trade of Josh Donaldson is hard to figure out
By John Shea Updated 12:32 pm, Monday, December 1, 2014  sfgate.com (San Francisco Chronicle)

Josh Donaldson was the A’s best overall player. Even when Yoenis C├ęspedes was around...

The last guy the A’s would trade after their late-season free fall? Actually, he was the first...

I don’t get the Donaldson deal. I may never get it...

And Donaldson played for the major-league minimum each year.

So, yes, he was baseball’s most underpaid player, and now he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time but still won’t break the bank like he would as a free agent.

The morning after the trade, word circulated of an in-season spat between Beane and Donaldson after Donaldson requested a couple of days off to get right physically. According to sources, Beane suggested if Donaldson were that banged up, he’d need to go on the disabled list, prompting the two to have words.

“We had a talk, but that was before the All-Star break,” Donaldson said via text when asked about the issue on Saturday.

Beane said in a text it was “normal protocol,” adding management typically has talks with players over potential DL stints. “Josh just needed a couple days and then he was back out there. No big deal.”
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The story by John Shea is getting some play and the author is being interviewed and stressing that he was not stating that this was the reason for the trade,  I mentioned the Donaldson trade in these two posts:

Are season sample sizes too small to be meaningful, especially for a unified theory?  Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let's look at Josh Donaldson (number 10 in PA), late of the Oakland As after being traded to Toronto for some unimaginable reason.
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Should Oakland have fired the manager and kept its best player, Josh Donaldson?  Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So why would Oakland general manager Billy Beane trade his best player, third baseman Josh Donaldson?  To plan for the future?  We've had a few days to consider the trading of Donaldson.  There has been speculation but the best that Beane gets is that he should be trusted.

Beane may be a bit too full of himself and fears that if he doesn't continually draw attention with moves like this the movie Moneyball will somehow retroactively replace actor Brad Pitt playing Beane with a less substantive actor.

When faced with the choice of firing a manager or eliminating a top player, how often does a team eliminate the player?  And Donaldson was an innocent bystander...

GMs seem to never consider fan interest in players.  Oakland fans must have developed a bond with Donaldson even after only two years as a regular.  With Donaldson removed with no comparable player in exchange, how will Oakland fans bond with a clearly inferior third baseman received and some nameless minor league players?  ...

The lesson I learned: never trade a somebody for a bunch of nobodies.  Josh Donaldson was somebody in Oakland.  And who was the manager and who will remember the manager's name in two years?  Billy Beane, I guess.
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Billy Beane (left) and Paul DePodesta (right) Sept. 9, 2011
By GabboT (Moneyball 21
Uploaded by Muboshgu) via Wikimedia Commons
Whether Donaldson was innocent is unknown but apparently he was not a bystander.  Donaldson and Beane clashed.  The irony is that Donaldson was tenth in the Major Baseball League in 2014 in plate appearances and that he played 158 in both 2013 and 2014.  But Beane was somewhere between concerned and critical about Donaldson requesting some time off.  Donaldson missed only four games all season.

I have no idea if I am correct or whether the two guys mentioned above are correct in thinking that the trade is better for Oakland.  They, like the Oakland GM, ignore the rooting interests of the fans.  What all three also have in common is a drive to show off how smart they are.  The writers can afford that luxury.  Billy Beane cannot.  Now he has made himself the center of attention in no uncertain terms.  Let's see how many fans turn out to watch Billy Beane general manage.  Let's see how many Oakland players resent that Billy Beane gets the credit for their labors.  And let's see how long it is before Billy Beane has another confrontation with another of his hard working players.  In the long run Billy Beane cannot win.

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