“Billy Boy”: The Josh Donaldson trade was reportedly sparked by an argument with Billy Beane

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Well, this would certainly explain the Josh Donaldson trade better than a lot of other things. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report says that, late in the season, the A’s All-Star third baseman got into a shouting match with GM Billy Beane. The reason for the dispute: Donaldson said he needed a day off and Beane wasn’t having it.

Miller said Beane told Donaldson if he couldn’t play he should go on the DL and Donaldson chafed. Then this:

“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.”

Moreover, last night Wendy Thurm linked to a pre-trade series of tweets by Donaldson in which he appeared to be taking issue with the A’s frugal ways too. Specifically, someone talked about the A’s being strapped for cash and Donaldson said “they have plenty of money my friend. They just tell everyone they don’t.” Of course, Billy Beane, in addition to being the GM, is part-owner of the A’s.

This wouldn’t be the first time Beane traded off a guy who he considered to be a problem in what, at the time, seemed to be a perplexing deal for an unequal return. Anyone remember Jeremy Giambi for John Mabry in 2002? That was some fun stuff. At the time people kinda freaked out because Giambi was seen as a prospect/SABR-darling and Mabry was . . . not. Of course, we came to learn that Giambi was a total screwup and Mabry, quite amazingly, played like and MVP after the trade. And of course, those 2002 A’s were the “Moneyball” A’s who went on to win 103 games.

Which isn’t to say that the Donaldson trade will turn out that way. Donaldson is, after all, a legitimately good player whereas Giambi was . . . not. At all. But, if Miller’s report is true, it would not be the first time Beane was willing to ride someone he perceived to be a problem out of town on a rail.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.