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.