Previously discussed were the trades that sent Scott Kazmir to the Astros and Johnny Cueto to the Royals. But there have been some other notable trades that have taken place since then, so here’s a look at what impact they may have on fantasy.
Mets receive Tyler Clippard. A’s receive Casey Meisner.
Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: With Clippard heading to the Mets, he is going to be put into a setup role to primarily pitch in the 8th inning in front of Jeurys Familia. As the closer for the A’s, Clippard had a decent 2.79 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while saving 17 of 21 games, but he has been experiencing diminished velocity over the last three seasons. That probably has some correlation to his strikeout rate being at an all-time low under 9.00 K/9, and his walk rate is at an all-time high at an ugly 4.76 BB/9. He has a SIERA of 4.46 and xFIP of 5.30, so he hasn’t exactly been very sharp. However, he should slot in just fine ahead of Familia, and this helps out the Mets a lot considering that Jenrry Mejia just got slapped with a 162 game suspension after testing positive for PED’s yet again, just weeks after coming back from his initial suspension (what a doofus).
Clippard clearly loses value since he will not be closing games anymore. However, Familia has not been as sharp lately. So should Familia falter, Clippard presumably would step in to close games for the Mets. For the A’s, they lost their closer and will now likely turn to Edward Mujica for 9th inning work. Mujica had a good run as the closer for the Cardinals in 2013 with an increased usage in his splitter, but since then he has been unspectacular with the Red Sox and now the A’s. This season he has a 4.13 ERA and 1.16 WHIP and he’s not much of a strikeout artist with just 6.35 K/9. Mujica hasn’t done much to inspire a lot of confidence in him, and it’s interesting that he’s shied away from his splitter more and more since his breakout 2013 season (56.6% in 2013, 40.7% in 2015), and that could feasibly be the reason for a subpar performance. He should be owned in fantasy leagues for the save potential, but just know that he could lose the job to poor performance at any time. In that case, Fernando Rodriguez and possibly even Drew Pomeranz could be given a look.
Nationals receive Jonathan Papelbon. Phillies receive Nick Pivetta.
Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: With the Phillies entering a complete rebuild mode, they are beginning to sell off all their veteran, high-priced players. The closer Papelbon had a no-trade clause and he was only interested in going to a team that would let him be the closer. So despite already having a perfectly capable closer in Drew Storen, who is in the midst of a great season, Papelbon heads to Washington and will assume closing duties. The move clearly makes the Nationals bullpen very strong and should help them in the post-season.
This is a huge hit to Storen’s value who has a 1.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 44 K/9 BB in 36.1 IP while saving 29 of 31 games. He will move to a setup role and won’t be getting but maybe the occasional save unless Papelbon gets injured or begins to falter. However, the likelihood of Papelbon faltering doesn’t seem very high as he actually has been just as good as Storen with a 1.59 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 40 K/8 BB in 39.2 IP while converting all 17 save opportunities he’s had. That number, 17, shows just how much the move to Washington can improve Papelbon’s fantasy value. The Phillies are just an awful team with horrendous starting pitching outside of Cole Hamels, and they have a rather weak offense. So that recipe didn’t leave Papelbon with many save chances. Meanwhile, Storen has had nearly double the amount of save chances with Washington.
On the Phillies side of it, moving Papelbon opens the door for Ken Giles to take over as the closer. Giles had a tremendous rookie season in 2014 with a 1.18 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 64 K/11 BB in 45.2 IP. While he’s not having as good of a season last year, primarily because of a loss in control, he’s still done very well as a setup man and is the owner of a 1.81 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 54 K/20 BB in 44.2 IP. He’s lost about 1 MPH on his fastball this season, so that is a concern and it is also likely a reason for the decline in strikeout rate. But he still has the stuff to be effective in the 9th inning role and he clearly gets a big boost in fantasy value. Save opportunities may be hard to come by for Giles as Papelbon can attest to, but he’s surely worth a whole lot more than he was a day ago.
Royals receive Ben Zobrist. A’s receive Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea.
Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: With the Royals losing Alex Gordon a few weeks ago, they had a need for a more proven bat to start in left field. But what they got was a player that can actually play all over the diamond. So when Gordon is ready to return, which is still 5 weeks away, Zobrist could slide to a different position — perhaps second base or right field. Zobrist hasn’t exactly been hitting very well this season with just a .268 AVG and 6 HR, 33 RBI, 39 R, and 1 SB in 67 games, but he fits in very nicely with the Royals style of play as he has became a contact artist with just a 9.6% strikeout rate this season and he is a very solid defender. The Royals already are the toughest team in the league to strikeout and are number one in defense as well.
So being a part of a more dynamic offense should give Zobrist a slight boost in fantasy value and he should retain that value through the end of the season because he’s a better option than the Royals current second baseman and right fielder. For the immediate future, Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando, who were covering left field in Gordon’s absence, should go back to fantasy irrelevancy (though Dyson can still be useful in very deep leagues when he is in the starting lineup due to his great ability to steal bases). And then when Gordon is ready to return to left field, Omar Infante and Alex Rios could begin to lose playing time.
For the A’s, Zobrist was playing second base for them primarily, and it appears they will now turn to Eric Sogard to fill the role for now. Sogard is a very light hitting infielder with a little bit of speed. He can safely be ignored in all but the deepest (and I mean deepest) of leagues.
Angels receive Shane Victorino. Red Sox receive Josh Rutledge. Angels receive David Murphy. Indians receive Eric Stamets. Angels receive David DeJesus. Rays receive Eduar Lopez.
Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: With very little production out of their left fielders this season, the Angels went out and acquired three of them in just over 24 hours. The first piece to come into play was Victorino who has been injured for a good portion of the season and was relegated to a reserve role for the Red Sox. The next two pieces came nearly simultaneously on Tuesday evening with the Angels landing Murphy and DeJesus within minutes of each other. All in all, it seems like a nice job by Angels interim GM Bill Stoneman to get some quality bats that they can throw in left field without giving up too much in the process.
What is likely to happen is the Angels will make the left-handed hitting Murphy the primary left fielder against right-handed pitching. Murphy has done well versus righties in his career with a line of .279/.344/.457 and should fit in nicely and provide another decent left-handed bat (something that they have been missing) to go along with Kole Calhoun. Murphy was not much of a season long fantasy option to begin with because of his ineffectiveness against left-handed pitching, but he can be utilized in leagues with daily lineup changes and in DFS when opposing a right-handed pitcher. Victorino likely will only make starts in the outfield for the Angels when they are opposing a left-handed pitcher. Victorino has always hit lefties well (.304/.373/.502), so he makes for a perfect platoon guy. However, he can be safely left alone for season long fantasy leagues since he is on the weak side of a platoon in regards to playing time. It’s unclear where DeJesus fits in, but he should get the occasional start. DeJesus has always been pretty solid on defense, so the Angels might see him as a late inning defensive replacement in left field, which clearly would hurt his fantasy value (though he didn’t have much value to begin with).
For the Red Sox, ridding themselves of Victorino allows them to give the Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo a chance to see significant playing time in the Majors. Castillo has been doing decently but not tearing it up at AAA with a line of .282/.337/.385. And he didn’t do much at the Major League level either when given the opportunity earlier this season. However, the 27-year old outfielder definitely has a nice blend of power and speed, and he actually has received forecasts of putting up Victorino-like (from his prime) numbers once he settles in as a regular. Currently, the Red Sox have Dustin Pedroia out till mid-late August, so super utility man Brock Holt is filling in at second base. When Pedroia is ready to return, Holt may shift to be the primary right fielder, which would hurt Castillo’s playing time. But Castillo has the upside to be dazzling. So if he can do well in this go round, the Red Sox would be better off to find a regular spot for him to let him grow as a Major League player. Castillo should be scooped up in all fantasy leagues.
For the Indians and Rays, there isn’t any significant fallout from losing Murphy and DeJesus. They likely will just fill their vacancies with a rotation of players that were already seeing regular playing time.