Some of the replies posted by Josh Donaldson on Twitter less than two weeks before he was shipped to Toronto raised eyebrows. However, according to what Scott Miller of Bleacher Report heard, there might have been an even juicier reason for Billy Beane to make that trade.
One industry source says he “knew” the Athletics would trade Josh Donaldson this winter, no matter how little baseball sense it made, because the All-Star and Beane were “at war” by season’s end.
Multiple sources cite a verbal altercation between the two after Donaldson told manager Bob Melvin he needed a couple of days off after Oakland had played several days in a row. The story goes, Beane told Donaldson if he needed a couple of days off, the club should put him on the disabled list, and that made Donaldson unhappy.
While both Donaldson and Beane downplayed the incident in a couple of texts to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s terrific baseball writer, John Shea, the industry source described a different scenario to Bleacher Report.
“Donaldson told the manager he needed a blow, and [Bob] Melvin said, ‘You got it,’ ” the source said. “Then that night’s lineup came out and Billy asked, ‘Where’s Donaldson?’ ”
When told what happened, the source says, an angry Beane demanded that Melvin put Donaldson back into the lineup.
“They got into it in the coach’s office,” the source says, describing a scene in which Beane lit into Donaldson, with the third baseman reiterating his need for a day off and petulantly calling Beane “Billy Boy.”
“Nobody talks to Billy that way,” the source said. “It did not surprise me in the least that he got rid of Donaldson.”
It turns out that injuries have been central to this trade, or at least the two participants who play third base. Brett Lawrie can’t wait to show what he can do while playing his home games on natural grass.
“It treats my body kind of silly and throws it off,” Lawrie said of the artificial turf during a conference call Monday. “I just want to go out and be healthy, and I feel like this getting off the turf is a big step forward for me.”
Lawrie played just 70 games last season, with only one at-bat after June 22, because of a broken finger and an oblique strain. He hit .247 for the season with just 12 home runs and 38 RBIs.
“Give me 550 at-bats. These are things I haven’t had yet in the big leagues,” Lawrie said. “Hopefully, getting off that turf will do my body wonders, and I really think that it will. I feel I will show my true talents.
On the other hand, how will this trade affect Donaldson? Apparently he was playing hurt for months, and watching him limp around the bases in the last week of the season against the Texas Rangers — after injuring his knee on a dive attempt — was one of the most memorable visuals from the A’s season. I was even contemplating a post idea centered on Beane preemptively moving Donaldson before his leg injuries were thought of as chronic in nature, thereby lowering his value, but Miller’s story is a lot more interesting than what I was going to write so I’ll just end this post here.