Billy Beane must want this one back even more.
Josh Donaldson, who Beane traded to the Blue Jays for a few young men almost one calendar year ago, has won the American League Most Valuable player award after swatting 41 home runs, 123 RBI and posting an 8.8 WAR.
The A’s, in the immediate return, received the most error prone third baseman of 2015 (Brett Lawrie), a knuckleball pitcher who is hard not to like but not a front of the rotation starter (Kendall Graveman), left-handed pitcher Sean Nolin, and an up and coming minor league infielder (Franklin Barreto).
The A’s also got the worst record in the American League West this past season, and one of the worst teams in franchise history.
The direct compensation — particularly Lawrie — was a big part of the problem. Lawrie never seemed to fit in with Oakland’s personnel, often leaving first or close to it after games, and committed more errors than the official scorer told.
His offense, too, was helped by bad defense, plays that looked more like errors than hits. Alas, the A’s might get more in return when Lawrie is inevitably traded away.
An MVP, though, is not coming to Oakland via any trade.
By way of ESPN, Donaldson said:
“You know going into a season that if you’re ultimately going to win an MVP, you’ve got to put up better numbers than Mike.”
There’s little doubting that posting the numbers Donaldson did with Toronto would have happened with Oakland, the coliseum being a notorious pitchers park with winds that swirl and cold damp air not at all conducive to the long ball.
Houston was a playoff team, though, not Oakland. The A’s are getting no love from the voters this year.