Baseball

Revisiting deal for Josh Donaldson: How do A’s third basemen compare?

Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson follows through on an RBI double off Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer during the second inning Sept. 2 in Toronto.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson follows through on an RBI double off Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer during the second inning Sept. 2 in Toronto. The Canadian Press

The A’s have been highly scrutinized for the trade of Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays last winter, more so with Donaldson emerging as a legitimate MVP candidate in Toronto. Some who parsed the trade argued Oakland’s returns could not be judged immediately – but here’s how the A’s third basemen have fared compared to Donaldson when playing third base this season. Third base has been one of the most productive offensive positions for the A’s – just not at the levels that Donaldson is generating for the Blue Jays.

A’S

STAT

JOSH

509

At-bats

490

58

Runs

97

138

Hits

148

28

Doubles

34

17

Home runs

34

63

RBIs

105

5/8

Steals/att.

5/5

26

Walks

52

126

Strikeouts

104

.271

Bat. avg.

.302

.309

On-base avg.

.369

.434

Slg. avg.

.584

1.4

WAR

7.6

Source: baseball-reference.com; fangraphs.com; Donaldson’s stats are for games in which he played third base

The Haul

The A’s received four players in the Donaldson trade. Brett Lawrie has accounted for most of the A’s third-base production. Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman is 6-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts in his first full season in the majors. Left-hander Sean Nolin, who missed the first part of the season due to injury, has a 2.66 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) since returning with Triple-A Nashville. Nolin was called up by the A’s on Friday, and he could compete for a rotation spot next spring. The key piece of the trade for the A’s, shortstop Franklin Barreto, 19, has had a strong season with High-A Stockton, compiling a .298/.329/.492 slash line with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 88 games.

Change of scenery

There’s no question Donaldson has benefited from playing home games in hitter-friendly Toronto rather than the O.co Coliseum. At home this season, Donaldson is batting .342 with a .676 slugging average and 22 of his 36 home runs. Last year at home, he batted .233 with a .395 slugging average and 11 homers.

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