The Rundown: Blue Jays Trade for Josh Donaldson, Cardinals May Not Be After Lester

I think it’s safe to say the Blue Jays are going for it in 2015.

The Jays have acquired slugging third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Oakland A’s for third baseman Brett Lawrie and three prospects.

Donaldson hit .255/.342/.456 with 29 home runs last year with the A’s, and he adds another dangerous bat to the Toronto lineup, which also includes outfielder Jose Bautista, first baseman Edwin Encarnacion and catcher Russell Martin.

The Jays signed Martin, who was heavily targeted by the Cubs, as a free agent last week. They have the American League East in their sights, and could be a pitcher or two away from being a huge force.

It should be an interesting battle between Boston and Toronto next season with these upgrades. I sure wouldn’t want to be a pitcher in that division.

As for Oakland, it looks like they’ll be hitting the reset button after going for it all last year and falling short. In addition to receiving Lawrie, they get 18-year-old shortstop Franklin Barreto, RHP Kendall Graveman, and LHP Sean Nolin.

Let’s see if A’s GM Billy Beane can find another diamond in the rough.

(Obligatory reminder that the Cubs included Josh Donaldson in the trade for RHP Rich Harden long ago.)

We have heard before that the A’s would possibly look to shop Jeff Samardzija, and this trade may indicate they could act sooner than later.

According to A’s beat writer John Hickey, Oakland may be talking to the Braves about a trade involving Samardzija for outfielder Justin Upton and catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis. Really interesting stuff surrounding the A’s, as usual.

Other notes

* Maybe the Cardinals aren’t as serious about signing LHP Jon Lester as we thought. Derrick Goold from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals don’t, in fact, have plans to meet with Lester. (A meeting between the two had been rumored for next week.) Goold describes the pursuit more “opportunistic” than “enthusiastic.” I never really thought the Cardinals were one of the biggest threats to sign Lester, and this seems to confirm it. Good for the Cubs, of course, but the Red Sox still linger as the overall favorite.

* Joel Sherman examines the Cubs’ and Red Sox’s tactic of acquiring a great deal of positional prospects. He basically points out that any team looking to move pitching will at least check in with the two clubs. He also reports that the Cubs are “in as deep on [19-year-old Cuban wunderkind] Yoan Moncada as any team,” according to an NL executive. That’s pretty exciting to hear, but Cubs fans will just have to keep their fingers crossed that Moncada would be willing to wait until July to sign.

* Former Cubs cult hero Tony Campana has apparently signed with the White Sox. Campana has a ton of speed but struggles mightily to hit or get on base. And he’s not very good at defense. Other than that, he’s a great player.

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