Josh Donaldson And The Potential Return For Troy Tulowitzki

Josh Donaldson was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend in a four-for-one blockbuster MLB trade. What can that trade tell us about Troy Tulowitzki‘s value?

Third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have a lot in common. They are both fairly large infielders. They both hit for power from the right side of the plate. They both play elite defense.

In 2013, Donaldson posted a 147 wRC+. That same season, Tulowitzki posted a 141 wRC+. In 2014, Donaldson posted a 129 wRC+ while Tulowitzki was good for a 171 wRC+ in limited action.

Over the last two seasons, Josh Donaldson was a 15.4 WAR player in 316 games of action. Troy Tulowitzki was a 10.6 WAR player in 217 games.

Tulowitzki is better, but he is more expensive with $118 million left on his deal and has a well-documented injury history. Donaldson is more reliable and cheaper, for now, as he is first-year arbitration eligible (Super 2 status) this off-season. The third baseman is probably in line for a significant extension soon, but when considering the trade that just happened, that cost should be noted.

In exchange for Donaldson, the A’s got Brett Lawrie, a 24-year third baseman who was a blue chip prospect and still has a high ceiling. In Lawrie they have a big league player, not to be overlooked, to go along with three prospects. Here is some limited information on those prospects, as passed along by Ken Rosenthal in his reports about the deal:

So, without digging any further, we know that these guys are at least a couple of the most highly regarded prospects in Toronto’s system.

Acknowledging the fact that the Rockies have to deal with the money left on Tulowitzki’s deal, do we think the team could get this package for the shortstop? A big league replacement with high upside and three good prospects? Between the injury questions and the money left, that might be a stretch. This might be the most they could get in a Troy Tulowitzki trade.

Put it this way: considering how ridiculously good Tulowitzki is when he’s healthy, I would want the Rockies to get more than this return. If this is the most they could hope to get this winter, then it probably isn’t the time to trade the franchise shortstop.