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Hot Stove Rumors: Josh Donaldson

Hot Stove Rumors: Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson (Photo: AP)
October 14, 2014
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While the MLB postseason is not over, the Hot Stove season has already begun.  The minute teams have ended their season or been eliminated from the playoffs we have had writers who are not close to teams making pronouncements that certain players are already on the market.

Now, I have no clue if anyone is or is not on the market. I talk to writers out there but have zero front office connections. Even the few players I have met over the years tend to be a lot less reachable once they are in the majors. I get and understand this, and don’t mean it as a knock at all. I am merely stating all of this so people know that anything I am writing is not a rumor but conjecture based off of what are probably bad rumors.

While I admit these rumors are a bit silly, I still thought it fun to write about players who would be ideal guys for the Indians to target and if those teams decided to move such a player what would the cost to acquire them be.

I tend to deal with more absolutes when I write. If you look at my article history it’s a lot of draft reports and numbers based articles. So it was fun to shake it up and look at guys who are not the usual targets.

Josh Donaldson (3B, Oakland Athletics)

The first guy I wanted to mention was the first player I heard a rumor about this offseason. I don’t think the A’s had been eliminated a day when ESPN's Buster Olney came out and said the A’s would shop Donaldson.

On Twitter someone asked me what it would cost to get Donaldson and my response was nothing as there was no way they were trading him. I was then shown the report and thought about it for a bit. Of course less than a day after the Olney report a local A’s writer more or less came out and said it was all false.

I agree to a degree that people were a bit too quick to jump on the "sky is falling" approach for the A’s. Yes, they are losing two starters, but Drew Pomeranz should be ready to step up and take a spot. He is starting to look like the player many of us, myself included, thought he would be. The other spot will be a battle between Jarrod Parker who is coming off injury and Jesse Chavez who had a great first half before arm fatigue did him in. Plus they have AJ Griffin as a depth arm, so while the rotation might not be as good it’s still far from a disaster.

Offensively they are losing Jed Lowrie who was a fairly strong offensive shortstop. He was 13th among shortstops in wRC+, though it should be noted that for all the hate for Asdrubal Cabrera he finished the year 10th among shortstops in wRC+. On top of that he is a solid defender and with JJ Hardy suddenly off the market I think Lowrie is the top shortstop available. This to me means the A’s can’t keep him, and the other free agents of note are the much older Hanley Rameriz and Cabrera. Internally the A’s top prospect is a shortstop who is two years away. So there is little doubt they need help up the middle.

I specifically said up the middle because at second base the A’s are losing Alberto Callaspo who is nothing more than a stop gap type. For those who might wonder, the A’s number one backup middle infielder was Eric Sogardwho had a wRC+ of 67 which is 9th worst in all of baseball for anyone with 300 plate appearances. The worst for those who are curious is another free agent shortstop to be Stephen Drew.

So here is the issue the A’s: they need a shortstop and a second baseman. Both are typically hard positions to fill and while the A’s do have a nice prospect in Daniel Robertson he has never played above A-ball. The A’s can’t buy free agents, so their best chance is to trade for players who can fill those needs.

Now this isn’t the only issue for the A’s. They are also losing a top setup man in Luke Gregerson, and two parts of a platoon in the outfield with Sam Fuld and Jonny GomesGeovany Soto is another free agent which is important because he was their only catcher who was even average defensively.

So the A’s have a lot of needs. They don’t have cash and they liquidated their farm system this year trying to make a deep run. There would be a strange logic to trading Donaldson as the A’s could get weaker at one position in order to make others stronger.

Now Donaldson is an ideal fit for the Indians. He is one of the best defenders in the game. Yes, he had a lot of errors, but it is because he reaches so many balls in play. He was the second highest rated defender at third last year by Fangraphs' defense measure. Donaldson is also a right-handed bat with the potential for 30 home runs if he played in a park that wasn’t Oakland. It is 21st in the majors in terms of home run factors. Progressive field is 11th which is a pretty big difference, and Donaldson has been a mid-20’s home run guy in Oakland on average.

So what would the Indians have to offer to not get hung up on immediately if they called the A's about Donaldson? Well a year ago they could have lead off with Kipnis, but now after a down year and a big contract he just doesn’t work as a centerpiece to a deal. The Indians would have to start with Francisco Lindor and more than likely includeJose Ramirez as well. This would fill two needs for the A’s, with two massive ready improvements.

So what would the Indians do at shortstop? Well, it would be Mike Aviles for a year until Erik Gonzalez is ready. It’s not an ideal situation, but again, if you want an MVP candidate the deal would have to start with those two Major League ready pieces. Next would be the inclusion of someone like Tony Wolters who could be a super utility guy for the A’s and help out with needs behind the plate and up the middle.

The last piece in the deal would be Giovanny Urshela because the A’s have no one who could play third for them and at least Urshela is glove ready. He would be a third piece and someone who makes the A’s top 10 prospects list for next year.

I am not even sure this would be enough for the A’s, but it would be a supremely high price for the Tribe.  It would include four of their top twenty prospects from the start of the year, and three of those players would stand a chance of making the A’s roster from day one.

Would I do a deal such as this? No, it’s not for me. But nothing less than this and likely something more would be the cost. It would have to be a higher cost than the Ubaldo deal from a few years ago and remember that it cost the Indians three top ten guys and one of the top twenty prospects in all of baseball for a guy who wasn’t as good as Donaldson and under team control for less years.

I will continue to look at hard to acquire targets that Indians fans asked me about the moment any rumor was connected to their name, so be sure to check back.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at jellis121@yahoo.com

User Comments

Matt
October 18, 2014 - 2:53 PM EDT
I don't think I agree with the premise that Josh Donaldson would be available in a trade for multiple assets at positions the A's have holes. The A's will do what they've always done to fill holes: target the bargain bin and find guys who other teams terribly undervalued. Then they'll make trades to fill in holes mid-season if need be.

Furthermore, their system isn't barren. Most of their top prospects finished at high A Stockton, but the A's have too long of a history of churning out prospects who outhit their own projections for me be dismissing them entirely. They have a lot more room to work before they panic and trade a highly valuable 3B who is only going into his first arbitration year.
Homer
October 15, 2014 - 10:08 PM EDT
I think some are overvaluing prospects. Prospects are prospects how many of them fail? Where's Matt LaPorta, Andy Marte, Jason Knapp?

Donaldson is one of the best third baseman in baseball period. He was an MVP candidate in 2013, and an AS in both 13, and 14. Defensively he's solid, with great range and strong accurate arm. At the plate he's a solid RH power bat.

Frankly, I don't care who they get. That is, if it's Todd Frazier, Adrian Beltre, or Aramis Ramirez. Donaldson seems to make the most sense. If a guy like Yasiel Puig becomes available so be it.
gregg
October 15, 2014 - 3:31 PM EDT
Once again I agree Billy Beane has never proposed a deal with the Indians that wasn't one sided.

The Indians if they are patient have allmost a complete major league ready infield where three af the prospects are under 23.Two are switch hitter and the other a needed righty. Why don't we wait and see how good Urshela is.
gregg
October 15, 2014 - 3:28 PM EDT
Homer
The Dodger don't need outfielder and can use cost controlled players. I am thinking along the lines of Gonzalez and maybe Lee, Chisenhall in a straight up deal, and perhaps House in a straight up deal.
I can use Wolters or their choice of Naquin, Ramsey, and Moncrief as prospects to sweeten the deal.
art
October 15, 2014 - 3:27 PM EDT
I think some are way overvaluing Donaldson.
Homer
October 15, 2014 - 1:40 PM EDT
Donaldson is one of the best 3b in all of baseball offensively and defensively. I'm sure the A's are more than willing to accept spare parts for an RH power hitting AS caliber 3b with multiple yrs of control remaining.

To get value you have to give up value.
Tony
October 15, 2014 - 1:38 PM EDT
Seth, I can see that happening with Ramirez. It will be interesting if that $14 million option is indeed picked up. I don't think it is a slam dunk. Likely? Probably. But I can see where they would decline it. His value has really dropped the last two seasons.
Seth
October 15, 2014 - 1:24 PM EDT
I think that's just you Tony. The Brewers have a $14 million mutual option for Ramirez with a $4 million buyout. So the Brewers will almost certainly pick up the option, since it's only $10 million in savings if they drop him. Now Ramirez might decline the option, would they then just let him walk rather than pay him $1 million more than the option? The most likely thing is that he works out an extension with the Brewers to add a year that benefits both parties by giving Ramirez more guaranteed money but at a lower AAV. Or, if Ramirez doesn't think he can beat $14 million on the free agent market if the Brewers don't make the QO, he just accepts the option year.
Shaver
October 15, 2014 - 12:47 PM EDT
Lindor, Ramirez, Wolters and Urshela for Donaldson? How about Antonetti and Shapiro yank out a few of their teeth to round it all out. Or maybe throw in a Dolan first born too? Are you nuts? While I like that we would have control of Donaldson thru 2019, I think the talent load you are suggesting we throw at them is absolutely ridiculous
Homer
October 15, 2014 - 11:16 AM EDT
Daingean,

I'd agree, they have to keep the jems...but if it meant giving up one to get one I will make the deal. Id prefer the first package I proposed but I think the A's would want the latter.

In fact, I could see an expanded deal including Ryan Cook. Cook is 1st yr Arb eligible and would fill a need for the Tribe. Maybe a 4 for 2 type deal.

Donaldson and Cook for Salazar, Chiz., one of: JRam/Naquin/EGozalez and Adams.
Walter
October 15, 2014 - 11:08 AM EDT
Jeff has written 2 articles on players Indians can pursue in Donaldson and Beltre.

My conclusions from the comments people made.

1. Donaldson a very high cost to get and many dont want to gamble the entire farm system

2. Many on this site dont want the Indians to trade Lindor.

3. Beltre might not cost as much to get than Donaldson.

I hope the Indians will try to pursue either one at the Winter Meetings.
Homer
October 15, 2014 - 11:02 AM EDT
Norm,

I think you missed the point... It wasn't about what the Indians got in return - it was more - not every prospect turns out. I have no complaints about trading a potential future AS for a current AS caliber player. Nor, should we be over concerned with trading several prospects away, chances are only one or two will develop.
Daingean
October 15, 2014 - 10:27 AM EDT
I agree on the trading prospects but I don't want to let the real gems get away. Especially on gems that are hard to find/develop. A defensive quality shortstop that has offensive upside (Lindor) and game changing power potential (Frazier). The only other positions would be a good catcher (both defensive and offensive) and a top fo the rotation starter. I would argue that Lindor + Chisenhall next June - July would be better than Donaldson and JRam to the Indians because I think the top of the shelf defensive skills Lindor adds will be worth alot. I'm not one sold on JRam (think he's too limited offensively). I know we need to improve our offence and defence.

I do think adding Donaldson would put us as a play-off contender but I"m not sure it really puts us as a title contender (so selling gems like Lindor and/or Frazier is too steep of a price). I would package anyone else in our farm system and/or a #4 or #5 starter type.
Norm
October 15, 2014 - 10:11 AM EDT
Hey Homer, did those deals turn out so bad?





Hey Homer, we still have an all-star and gave up 3 months of Sabathia, a number 2 starter for a year and a couple months of Lee and three major leaguers for Martinez. Not sure I would call that a bad return for three guys the tribe had no chance of signing. All deals could have worked out better but I think only one player did not make it to the majors at some time in his career.




Homer
October 15, 2014 - 9:57 AM EDT
Gregg,

What do you think it would cost to get Van Slyke? JRam? Shaw? Scrabble?

I think Scrabble for Van Slyke would get their attention.
Homer
October 15, 2014 - 9:52 AM EDT
I'm a huge prospect development guy, but prospects are prospects. How many worked out in the Lee deal? the Sabathia deal? the Martinez deal? Btw, the Martinez deal is the exception not the rule - seldom if ever does a team land three players that see big league experience.

The A's farm system is pretty thin, but I don't think theyll want a prospect led deal in return. I prefer to keep Trevor Bauer over Danny Salazar bc I suspect Salazar's future may eventually require a move to the pen. I know a lot of fans are critical of Treor Bauer, 24 next season - he is 1 yr younger than Salazar - and made huge strides this season inspite of his early inning struggles.

Back to Josh Donaldson, Donaldson would be here through the window of opportunity that seems to be opening for the Tribe. As much as I think they need to wait for prospects to develop, I think they could miss a chance to optimize the org. talent and add a RH hitting AS caliber 3b. Donaldson is not just an upgrade, he's a legit AS 3b offensively and defensively.

As much as I'd want to hold onto Lindor, if it meant bringing back Donaldson Id make the deal.

I could see Chisenhall, JRam, Naquin / Ramsay and Anderson getting a deal done.
Or possibly...Lindor, Chisenhall, Naquin, and Adams. That would be a bit tougher.... Maybe change that to Salazar, Chisenhall, Naquin, and Adams.
gregg
October 15, 2014 - 6:59 AM EDT
I think the Indians would wise to let their prospect develop and not trade them off. What the Indians don't have in their system is a righted handed outfielder with some pop in his swing. Van Slyke would be a perfect addition.
pathofkindness
October 15, 2014 - 12:54 AM EDT
"IF they could do it for Kipnis and Chis I would feel a lot better and include a LH hitting CF, I would feel much better." -- nice Norm! Now that's a deal I could get behind...
Tony
October 15, 2014 - 12:04 AM EDT
Maybe it is just me, but I don't see any way that Ramirez gets a QO from the Brewers.
Chip
October 15, 2014 - 12:02 AM EDT
@Phil
You have no idea what you're talking about and appear very stupid with statements like "fan-boy". Are you 5 or something? If you don't like Urshela that's fine, but just because some dipshit like you has condemned him to "role player" doesn't make his value less. Most of the experts state the opposite in fact. Some even ranked his play and value this past season better than Lindor's. That doesn't make him a better prospect in my eyes, but it certainly states that he is regarded a little higher than you propose. I'm going back to my civil conversation with Aaron now, moron.

@Aaron
No I'm not basing it off of one good year. I'm basing it off of development and your just starting to see the potential of Urshela IMO. He is 22 yrs old dude. Is it not rational to think that if he were 26 and had 3 years of AAA experience that his numbers would improve, possibly drastically. Trust me, I wouldn't let Urshela get in the way of trading for Donaldson, but I'm not giving up a young big league power pitcher as a complementary piece for Donaldson. We simply cannot replace Salazar or Bauer at this point in the juncture. If they could land Donaldson for the package you mentioned "My ideal package would be Lindor, Ramsey, one of Jram/Chisenhall, and a pen arm." then I would throw in someone like McCallister just to show my appreciation, but that will never get it done. Thus my point to this entire debate. On the chance that you can add Donaldson to the team and not trade one of the current SP not named House, then by all means do it yesterday, even if it means Lindor is no longer with us. I think you've misunderstood my POV on the matter and I hope I've clarified it for you. You did have another statement that caught my eye, and that was you think that the "future is now". I think you need to change that to "the future is starting now" based upon the young talent that is ready or almost ready to contribute at the big league level. The only players that will likely not be here in 2 years is Swisher, Bourn, Murphy, Aviles, and Raburn. I hardly doubt that they provide us the only opportunity to win. The entire SP staff is signed through the next 3 seasons, Carrasco is the first eligible for free agency in 2017. The bullpen is young and there is some nice depth in the upper levels.

No matter what happens one thing is for certain, this organization has improved as a whole over the past 3-5 years. I think we can all agree on that.
Norm
October 14, 2014 - 11:58 PM EDT
Tony, I just do not see that makes the Indians a winner in 2015 and I think it maes winning from 2016 and beyond much more difficult. The chances of a pitcher they can afford who is viable in FA with the increased salary cost for Donaldson is a stretch for me. Organizational pitching above A ball doesn't do it for me at this time. Maybe a year will change my mind but not now. If the Indians wer one player away, I could see this but with the questions regarding Swisher, Bourn, Kipnis and Chis it is too risky IMO. IF they could do it for Kipnis and Chis I would feel a lot better and include a LH hitting CF, I would feel much better.
pathofkindness
October 14, 2014 - 11:55 PM EDT
There's no good reason here so far for the Tribe to trade their top prospect, even for Donaldson. He's good, but not that good. It's extremely tedious to read people talk as if they know what Oakland can get for Donaldson...the ONLY reason to trade Lindor is if you get a top 5 pitcher, and I don't see that happening...
Seth
October 14, 2014 - 11:49 PM EDT
Doubtful Aramis Ramirez hits free agency. If he doesn't negotiate an extension of some other kind, he probably gets and accepts a qualifying offer, no? Hard to imagine the Brewers just letting him walk with no QO. And if the Brewers offer a QO, he has to take it.
alton
October 14, 2014 - 11:38 PM EDT
I think you might be overvaluing Ramirez a bit at this stage of his career. He's 36, had a .750 OPS and hit 15 homers las year with both totals being the lowest of his career over a full season. I don't see him getting north of $12 million. Players don't get better in there late 30s, I just want to squeeze whatever good baseball he has left in him.
Tony
October 14, 2014 - 11:00 PM EDT
The Indians have the shortstop the Athletics would want. Probably also have the third and fourth complementary pieces to the deal they would want. The hangup to me would be the lack of a pitcher that the Indians could afford to give up. Salazar or Bauer could be that guy to complete a deal, but it would mean the Indians would have to jump into the FA or trade market to also get a starter. Could just be a stop gap backend guy. I like the suggestion that a third team could be what is needed to give the Athletics the starting pitcher they want. I predict that Donaldson trade talk is going to be huge at the Winter Meetings....
Norm
October 14, 2014 - 10:45 PM EDT
I am not in favor of this trade but I would limit our offer to Chisenhall, Ramirez and Scrabble with Wendle as a throw-in. Any more than that makes no sense to me. Farm system is way too important to crater and you have to cut salary somewhere to pay for Donaldson.
BrianM
October 14, 2014 - 10:27 PM EDT
Lindor+Bauer+Chiz. All day. Everyday.

The only flaw I see in this article is the assumption that Oakland won't be looking for starting pitching. Samardzija will more than likely be traded, and a team can never have to much cheap starting pitching. Bauer's flyball tendencies would work well in Oakland.
Matthew
October 14, 2014 - 9:58 PM EDT
Alton--

Aramis will get a 2 year deal. Probably for at least $12M per.
alton
October 14, 2014 - 9:34 PM EDT
General question for Tony and the commenters. Say Donaldson is a no go, any thoughts on a one year deal with an option for Aramis Ramirez? I'd say between $10 and 12 mil would get it done. Right handed, has pop, and still plays a decent third base. Either trade chisenhall or move him to the outfield and ease Urshela in/give him a little bit more development time.
Jeff
October 14, 2014 - 8:35 PM EDT
Thanks to everyone who has commented. GSon stealing so steam there with the Puig talk
Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 8:29 PM EDT
Actually, just sitting here thinking about Ramirez, a comp came to my mind... non other than a Michael Bourn in his youth. Poor man's Michael Bourn... just for clarification. Not the same speed, but Ramirez can steal bases. VERY similar hitters in my opinion... Bourn developed a little pop in the last few years with the Braves, but their gap hitters who don't have the best on base skills. Both rely on their legs to get hits and both are plus defensively as well. Ramirez is a 3-4 win player at best IMO with 75% of his value coming from defense. Is that a guy that you can start if you trade Lindor? ABSOLUTELY. Is that a guy you should trade if you can get a major piece like Donaldson? ABSOLUTELY.
Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 8:16 PM EDT
@Chip

You're basing your conclusion on Urshela off of one good year with the stick in the minors. To me, he doesn't have the pedigree and he has to prove he can do it consistently in order to make me a believer. Urshela's plate discipline, while improving, doesn't give me a ton of hope in his further development. .303 OBP in the minors... that's pretty bad. Add in the fact that he's playing in a hitters paradise in Columbus and I'd say there's a solid probability his numbers are inflated. To me, this is not a guy you keep 3rd base open for. Donaldson gives this team a whole new dynamic offensively and with the pitching staff in tact, they could make some noise. Urshela won't hit 20 ever in my opinion... all he offers is a plus glove and solid bat to ball skills. That's about it. The Indians needs to keep as many options open as possible to improve because the window is here... they can only upgrade 3rd and RF. They can't limit themselves for a decent, yet unspectacular prospect. They need an IMPACT bat... none of the prospects you mentioned do that. Hence, that's why I feel it's ok for the Indians to look into dealing from depth in their system in the OF and MI. I think you can get away with Ramirez at SS if you have Donaldson... but if the A's wanted Ramirez, I wouldn't think twice before including him. My ideal package would be Lindor, Ramsey, one of Jram/Chisenhall, and a pen arm. I doubt that gets it done (Like I said before, Hopefully a 3 team deal can be swung for a starting pitcher). I don't love the idea of dealing a SP because of the lack of depth already in the rotation. Anyway...

And I follow the system religiously, so I do realize Ramirez had solid on base skills in the minors. That being said, from what I've seen, he's more of a free swinger that relies on his speed to get cheap hits. I see a guy that routinely gets beat by high velocity pitchers... He looked absolutely horrible against David Price this year. Yes, I know he's young and I do like him, but I don't see much more than an average regular and that's mostly based to his defense. I think he's a fantastic utility player in the making and can impact the game with his defense and speed. I seem to be in the minority with him on the site, but I just don't see anything more than a gap hitter who will use his legs to get singles.
Nathan
October 14, 2014 - 6:55 PM EDT
Urshela's bat isn't close right now to MLB-ready, Chip, let alone Donaldson-like. You're crazy, dude.
Phil
October 14, 2014 - 6:50 PM EDT
@ Chip

This Urshela fan-boy stuff has got to stop. He doesn't even profile to be an everyday player. Just stop. You're thinking irrationally right now and making a fool of yourself.
Jeff P.
October 14, 2014 - 5:53 PM EDT
No way we can deal both Lindor and Ramirez right now. One has to be our shortstop, as a full season of Aviles is unacceptable. Any deal with Oakland will need one of our front 4 SP's, plus one of Lindor/Ramirez and one of Chisenhall/Urshela. Then you give them there choice of Ramsey or Naquin. That's 4 major league ready or near ready guys. If we did this we'd need to sign a starting pitcher
Jeff P.
October 14, 2014 - 5:48 PM EDT
Walter, Aguilar is completely unproven. Offensively, we're better with Chiz and Santana than with Donaldson and Aguilar. Defensively, we're better at 3B and far worse at 1B. What is gained?
Chip
October 14, 2014 - 5:42 PM EDT
After doing a little digging in Donaldson and Urshela's minor league careers, my sentiments on the matter only strengthen. Both spent 6 yrs in the minors.

Donaldson Urshela
BA .275 BA .268
OBP .365 OBP .304
SLG .470 SLG .404
OPS .834 OPS .708

Looking at numbers only anyone would determine that Donaldson was a far better offensive player. The difference is Donaldson was 26 years of age when he played in his 3rd and final AAA season. Urshela on the other hand is 22 years young in his first season in AAA, and he actually started the season in AA. Urshela has shown improvement with the bat with every promotion. Does anyone not think that Urshela could post similar numbers at the same age and level? I think it would be a regrettable decision within 2 years if the package mentioned in this thread were given to acquire Donaldson. Sorry for going on and on, but it has been a good discussion.
Chip
October 14, 2014 - 4:59 PM EDT
Let's simplify how I feel about trading for Donaldson. I don't think it should happen because the Indians are not a franchise that can replace good young players with talented FA signings. That in a nutshell is the reason it won't and shouldn't happen. Donaldson's worth will never be higher than it is right now and he's worth a big package from any team. The question is will the team acquire him sacrifice more than they can replace thus breaking even or even weakening the present and future roster.
Green
October 14, 2014 - 4:56 PM EDT
One question, what would Donaldson cost us? Can the Tribe afford him?
Green
October 14, 2014 - 4:55 PM EDT
Good article. There's only so many potential RH power-hitter out there who aren't completely locked up. I feel like it's a realistic analysis of what an established power bat is worth in prospects. I probably WOULD do this deal. It has been far too long since the Tribe had a legit middle of the order bat. I'm so jealous of the White Sox for finding Abreu...
Chip
October 14, 2014 - 4:51 PM EDT
@Aaron

How do you know how Urshela is going to do with the bat? I never compared Urshela to Donaldson. As of now Donaldson is a superior offensive 3B to Urshela and likely will always be at least marginally better. My point is that to acquire Donaldson you would have to sacrifice from other positions. In my opinion the offensive upgrade from Donaldson to Urshela isn't worth sacrificing a future with Lindor and whoever else that would need to be included. The Indians' brass won't do this nor should they in my opinion. Like I said previously, I don't mind trading Lindor as I think Gonzalez will ultimately be a better offensive threat but at least a downgrade defensively. I don't think people realize how good Lindor and Urshela are with the glove. To say their abilities are rare is an understatement and they have upside with the bat too. I just don't see a deal for Donaldson that includes Lindor, Urshela, Salazar, and the bullpen piece required to complete the deal as being beneficial to this team. Actually I think it to be quite the opposite.

On another note, you are dead wrong in your analysis of Ramirez. You need to look at his entire body of work, not just 249 at bats with the big club. His career MiLB OBP is .355 while being one of the youngest players at each level. That is exactly the same OBP as Lindor. Lindor has more power but Ramirez strikes out less. I don't understand how you came to your conclusion on Ramirez.
Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 4:13 PM EDT
@Chip

Chip, I understand what you're saying as I usually think this way with the Indians, but I think the future is NOW. Comparing Donaldson to Urshela's production with the bat is kind of crazy. Urshela isn't going to be a game changer offensively...

This team is close. Fact of the matter is none of the prospects coming up, other than lindor, is going to be a superstar. These guys are lower tier, solid prospects. Not difference makers. Donaldson is a difference maker with his glove, power, and OBP skills. I do agree with you on the pitching though. I don't think you can trade anyone in the rotation right now to get him. Ultimately, it's probably going to take a P, so it might make a 3 team deal with the Mets or someone who have some good young arms.
Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 4:04 PM EDT
@Seth

Well said sir. Anyone who things it won't take Lindor to get this deal done needs to give me a recommendation to their drug dealer. You must be getting some pretty top shelf stuff!

Chisenhall is NOT a valuable trade chip. Oakland is very sabermetrically centered, so they'll know Lonnie hit .278 with a .340 BABIP. His "good" offensive season is most likely a mirage, as we saw in the second half.

I think this is a move the Indians need to look at very hard. It makes sense for both sides. I'd be very hesitant if they insisted on a P in the current rotation though as the farm system isn't pumping out a quality starter any time soon. Maybe there's a 3 team deal out there somewhere if they do insist on a P though. I think it's time to go for it. I'm all for prospects, cost control, and building from within, but Donaldson, in my opinion, makes the Tribe a legit contender for the pennant. There's a 3-4 year window open right now. Why not go for it?

CF Bourn
1B Santana
LF Brantley
3B Donaldson
C Gomes
2B Kipnis
DH Swisher
etc...

That's a damn good lineup if Kinpis bounces back. I left Chis and Ramirez out as it might involve trading them to get Donaldson. And I'm just being realistic in saying Swisher plays because we all know he's playing. Infield defense instantly becomes a strength (minus Kip but if he's hitting, he can afford to be below avg). The lineup is significantly lengthened and 2-5 have 20+ HR potential. And that will be in place for at least 3 years. Go for it Antonetti. It finally makes sense.
Chip
October 14, 2014 - 4:03 PM EDT
I do not trade Lindor and Ramirez at the same time. One or the other in a package is fine, but I wouldn't fill a hole by digging another one. I also look forward to an infield defense of Urshela, Lindor/Gonzalez, Ramirez, and Santana. I like Donaldson as much as the next guy, but he or any other player isn't worth mortgaging the future for. When Urshela takes over 3B he will easily be in the top 10 defensively, even top 5 isn't unrealistic, and his bat will play.

This teams biggest strength going into next season is its young rotation, so please stop with the ideas of trading Salazar for any position players unless you are putting him in a package for an established TOR pitcher. If you want to deal someone like McCallister or House fine, but I'm not even fond of that unless someone wants to overvalue them. While they have a starting 5 to compete with almost anyone, they don't really have the depth to sustain more than 1 injury to any given starter. I do think Joe Colon will be pitching in Cleveland at some point next season. He is so overlooked it isn't even funny, but the same was done with Kluber.

Ultimately, I don't see an acquisition of Donaldson as something that would create much benefit due to the cost of players already contributing or about to contribute. There are some fine young players on the cusp of getting an opportunity to improve this club. Guys like Urshela, Lindor, Gonzalez, Aguilar, and Moncreif are so close while players like Ramirez, Chisenhall, and Walters are already contributing while improving. The focus should be on freeing up a few roster spots to make room for them, not adding to it and blocking them. Just my .02.
Phil
October 14, 2014 - 3:56 PM EDT
Love how people think a bunch of tier 2 or tier 3 prospects is gonna land someone like Josh Donaldson.....
Rocky55
October 14, 2014 - 3:52 PM EDT
Donaldson would fit right in but the speculated cost is way too high. Reading these posts by the IBI stable I feel like I'm watching Moneyball. Let's not let Billy Beene bend us over & give us the high hard one. If defense is that important (I agree that it is) we just promote Urshela. I'd be willing to live or die on Urshela's defense. We've been raving about Kansas City's defense in the playoffs but we could have the premier defensive team in baseball by the '16 season. I know we won't be fielding this exact team in '16 but an IF of Urshela, Lindor, Ramirez, & Santana and an OF with Brantley, Holt, & Naquin, with Gomes catching, would be unheard of good. Shoot, Zimmer might be in RF with Naquin in CF by then. Since we seem to be in a pitching & defense era in MLB, the Tribe could stack up with anybody in those areas.
Seth
October 14, 2014 - 3:41 PM EDT
Jeff's analysis of trading for Donaldson is the first realistic one I've seen. Then of course half of the responses are, take Ramirez and a bunch of nothing or I don't want him. Well, you're certainly not going to get him without giving up Lindor. It's obviously super unlikely the A's would even consider moving Donaldson unless the return was huge, the A's game has been to grab underrated types on the free agent market, like Crisp. But in the theoretical instance of him being available and them being interested in dealing with Cleveland, Lindor's obviously where the discussions would start. There would have to be at least one other major-league-ready solid prospect, because the A's certainly aren't going to punt next season after acquiring Shark. And that's where it's hard to envision anything working between the two teams, because Lindor's really the only guy in their system who's a high-end prospect and major league ready. Now, Lindor and Ramirez, that makes things interesting, because it would fill two positions of need. Lindor, Ramirez, Chisenhall? Maybe they get interested. If I were the A's I'd want at least one other high-upside prospect who's not too far off, Lindor, Ramirez, Chisenhall, Frazier? From the Indians end I'd probably make that deal for Donaldson. They'd need to get someone to play SS for a year, but you could hopefully find someone who doesn't totally suck, keep Aviles around, and then make Gonzalez the SS of the future.

I would wonder about the power though, I don't think you should assume Donaldson would hit for more power being in more "hitter friendly" Progressive. Progressive overall is more hitter friendly, and more power friendly, but that's because it's helpful to lefties. It's power factor for right handed bats is actually worse than the A's.
Walter
October 14, 2014 - 3:36 PM EDT
You can open up 1b spot for Aquilar and it could be future home for Kipnis and Gomes.
pathofkindness
October 14, 2014 - 3:35 PM EDT
Yea, hopefully this is the last article this off-season trying to trade Lindor...I doubt if it is though...

Really, there's no way you get a chance to draft high and then spend years developing a once in a generation talent and then suddenly trade him right when he's about ready to be a real difference-maker at a very reasonable cost. That would be stupid. Beyond stupid and there's just no way CA does that IMO.

He did trade Pomeranz but he was further away from the ML's and his ability to develop into a ML starter was very questionable at the time, same w the other guys. And that was for a pitcher who the year before had been one of the best in baseball!

I do think there's a potential matchup w Oakland on Donaldson, but Beane is impossible to predict. The whole lineup in Oakland is falling apart and JD is about the only really good hitter they have (depending on what you think of Reddick and Moss--both of whom are also arb eligible this offseason...)

I think Jim has it right. Chiz and Ramirez and someone like Naquin, Ramsey or Aguilar, or move on. Myself, I'd prefer us to target a younger RH hitting outfielder and let the 3B situation play out with Chiz and Urshela.
Jeff P.
October 14, 2014 - 3:32 PM EDT
Walter, why woud you make that deal? You fill the 3B hole then leave a gaping one at 1B. The only reason you deal for Donaldson is to improve the major league club. Dealing Santana does not do that
Walter
October 14, 2014 - 3:26 PM EDT
My proposal to get Donaldson

Chisenhall, Santana, Ramirez, Walters and Urshela


Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 3:10 PM EDT
I also don't understand everyone's obsession with Ramirez. Yes, I love his glove, but he's never going to offer very much at the plate if you ask me. His value is good defense and he can run... Ideal bench player. He's too much of a free swinger so he doesn't walk a ton. He's a .290 hitter with a low OBP. There's not a ton of offensive value there. If you can throw him in a deal to get someone in need, you don't hesitate. This isn't a cornerstone player we're talking about here.
Canadian Joe
October 14, 2014 - 3:05 PM EDT
Oakland has more holes than we do, ergo, it will have to be a relatively one sided deal in their favor. As much as Donaldson would fill our big need, the price will be too steep. It took too long to build up the farm system. Wouldn't want to see it torn down over 1 deal. Would like Van Slyke or someone like that. Tony, I know a lot can happen to a prospect from the time he is drafted, but dealing him after only one year in the system is too soon.
Aaron
October 14, 2014 - 3:04 PM EDT
Everyone wants that "power bat", yet everybody flinches when it comes down to the prospects that it would involve to make a deal like that.

There is no way the A's are taking Chisenhall, Jram, and a OF prospect for one of the top 5 all around players in the game. I personally wouldn't mind trading Lindor in this type of deal as Donaldson has 3 Arb years left on his deal. There's also a possibility the Indians could buy out his Arb years and get a team option for a 4th year too.

I would start with Lindor, Ramsey, and a pitcher and see where that took them. In all honesty, it would probably take Salazar too.

Now is that worth it? That's a tough one for me as I think Donaldson makes the Indians a contender next year, but giving up someone in the rotation would really hurt. If there's a way to get him without destroying the rotation next year, I'm all for it. Donaldson will provide great defense and power, while Lindor is great defense and an average hitter. I think you get an equal WAR from 4 years of Donaldson and 6 years of Lindor. I think it's definitely worth a gamble.
gregg
October 14, 2014 - 2:44 PM EDT
Chiz, Gonzalez, and Murphy. I reallly am not that interested in rebuilding the A's with are most attractive tallent.
C L Who
October 14, 2014 - 2:10 PM EDT
Bad trade....leave Donaldson alone.
troy
October 14, 2014 - 1:42 PM EDT
Now way i give up Lindor and Ramirez! That is stupid thinking. MLB titles are won with a strong core up the middle not corner players. Lindor could be a franchise player who will cover the left side of the infield by himself. Frazier/Zimmer/Ramirez and pitching prospects is what i offer. If they dont like it no deal
GSon
October 14, 2014 - 1:25 PM EDT
Frazier's name has been mentioned..
Lindor's name has been mentioned..
Salazar's name has been mentioned..

Put the three together, wouldn't the Indians be a better club if Yasiel Puig and (a PTBNL like Grant Holmes) was the returning piece instead of Donaldson and a spec?.
.
.
.
.
.

and yes.. everyone already knows you can't trade a player until he's been with a club for a year from his draft/sign date..
Jim
October 14, 2014 - 12:45 PM EDT
Frazier or Lindo even up is fine but no way A's do either, they have many holes to fill and like Cleveland little $ to do it with
Tony
October 14, 2014 - 12:44 PM EDT
I don't think anyone wants to trade Frazier. But he's also further away, a lot can go wrong between now and the three or four years before he gets to the bigs, and the Indians have a window of contention with this pitching to try and win now. They have no established arms beyond the five guys in Cleveland right now that look like safe bets to mix into the rotation the next few seasons. There are some promising young arms for sure, but still a lot of wildcards and no one that is set to really impact Cleveland for at least three years.
Daingean
October 14, 2014 - 12:41 PM EDT
I'm not for trading Frazier.....I think he's the best chance to have a difference maker aka Belle, M-Ram, Thome in the minors for the Indians at this time. We'll see if he makes it. I understand you got to give to get but I just think Lindor is too high a price by himself and the same with Frazier.
Jim
October 14, 2014 - 12:31 PM EDT
Why is everyone ready to trade Frazier? Look at Lindor's LCO numbers. Frazier is a legit future middle of the order basher. Not many of those on the horizon in Cleveland except Aguilar who realy had no position.
Tondo
October 14, 2014 - 12:03 PM EDT
No way I'd give up both Lindor and JRam.

Lindor + Urshela or Chisenhall + Gonzalez + Frazier or Naquin or any prospect P for Donaldson. That should get their attention
Daingean
October 14, 2014 - 11:57 AM EDT
I agree with Jim......I'd love to get Donaldson but I'm not interested in parting with Lindor and would be hesitant to give up pitching. SS's with Lindor's def prowess that have top of the order offensive potential are hard to come by and are worth their weight in gold. I could go with:

J-Ram, Chiz + Naquin/Ramsey/Moncrief or J-Ram, Chiz + Salazar for Donaldson and a pitching spec from A ball.

I just wouldn't even trade Lindor straight up for Donaldson.
Jim
October 14, 2014 - 11:46 AM EDT
No way. Why give up the three major league ready infielders the Indians have. Start with Chiz and Ramirez and a top relief prospect or the A's go fish.

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