Fantasy Impact of MLB Trades (Part 2)

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The trade deadline has come and gone and it was actually very exciting with lots of action leading up to the deadline and coming in right at the deadline itself. I’ve already examined the Scott Kazmir trade to the AstrosJohnny Cueto heading to the Royals, Cole Hamels to the Rangers, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes trading places, the 3-team/13-player mega deal between the Dodgers/Braves/Marlins, and a slew of other trades, so follow the links for analysis on those. Now I will take a look at all the other impact trade deadline deals and what they mean for the teams involved and for fantasy purposes.

Blue Jays receive David Price. Tigers receive Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labour.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: With the big splash of landing Tulowitzki, the Jays were far from done as they also landed one of the most sought after starting pitchers as well. Even though Price is set to become a free agent at the end of the year and the Jays don’t seem all too likely to retain his services, it’s a fine rental move for a team who really should be in a “win now” mode with this powerhouse offense that consists of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion who are not getting any younger. Obviously, Price immediately slots in as the team’s ace and his potential for wins becomes very high now that he’s got the Blue Jays offense backing him. If Drew Hutchison and his 5.42 ERA and 1.50 WHIP can have a 9-2 record, then Price and his 2.53 ERA and 1.11 WHIP might be able to rattle off 12 straight wins for the Jays who have an average margin of victory of 4.28 runs. Moving from Comerica Park to Rogers Centre for his home field isn’t the greatest, but Price is still an ace and that boost in wins potential probably gives him more value than he had with the Tigers.

For the Tigers side of it, Norris is the prize of the deal. Norris began the season in the Blue Jays rotation but he proved to be over matched and his control and pitch count efficiency was just unsightly. But the 22-year old lefty came into the season ranked as one of the top pitching prospects in the game and figures to eventually make some sort of positive impact in the Majors. A good player to compare him to is the White Sox rookie lefty Carlos Rodon. High strikeout potential, but work definitely needs to be done in throwing more strikes and bringing the pitch counts down to work deeper into games. Norris wasn’t having great success after his demotion to AAA (4.27 ERA, 1.51 WHIP), but the Tigers are going to throw him into their starting rotation anyway to see what he can do. Like with all young highly ranked pitching prospects that have control issues, I am not fond of him to make a significant fantasy impact right away. In the future once he gets more seasoning, he can be a nice guy to have. But for now, I wouldn’t really care to pick him up in redraft leagues. Do keep an eye on him for keeper leagues though. Boyd, is another left-handed pitching prospect in the deal, and he saw a couple starts in the Majors this season. He should be ready to step into the Tigers rotation at some point this season if the need arises and makes for a decent long term option for them.

Giants receive Mike Leake. Reds receive Adam Duvall and Keury Mella.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: Leake has been downright outstanding in the month of July with a 1.25 ERA and 0.83 WHIP and he finds a new home in a much more spacious, pitcher friendly ballpark in San Francisco. Giving up home runs was something that was an issue for Leake early in his career, but the last three seasons now he has had a HR/9 under 1.00 and his new home ballpark should only help keep it that way. This is a really nice landing spot for the 27-year old righty who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Leake is definitely not a strikeout artist with just 5.93 K/9 this year and a career rate of 6.14 K/9, but he can be effective enough to post a mid 3’s ERA with a WHIP ranging from 1.15-1.25, and that is certainly an acceptable set of numbers for deep fantasy leagues. I’ve never been a huge fan of Leake because of the lack of strikeouts, but now with the Giants he does become more attractive and would make for a great fit for them long term if he re-ups with them at the end of the season.

The fallout of this trade is that Tim Hudson should be ousted from the Giants starting rotation and the veteran just hasn’t been useful at all this season anyway as he is in the twilight of his career. Hudson wasn’t likely on many fantasy rosters to begin with, so it’s not a huge impact. But for the Reds, freeing up a spot in the rotation could accelerate the promotion of Brandon Finnegan, the main piece they acquired in return from the Royals for Johnny Cueto. For more information about Finnegan, see “Cueto Ditches the Reds, Now Bleeds Royal Blue.” But Finnegan still does need to get stretched out at AAA for a starting pitching role since he has been pitching in relief this season for the Royals.

The prospects that the Reds received back are intriguing players. Duvall is a player that can play both first and third base, but scouting reports suggest that his defense is questionable and that may be the reason why he he hasn’t been given much of a look in the Majors yet despite approaching the age of 27. He swings a right-handed bat that carries some big power though. This season at AAA, he’s launched 26 HR and he already has two 30 HR seasons under his belt as a professional. He may end up in a platoon role when he gets to the the Majors as he does hit lefties better than righties, but his type of power is definitely appealing. Mella is probably the more attractive piece here for the Reds as he was ranked as the Giants 4th best prospect and is just 22 years old with a very nice right-handed pitching arm. He’s only at high-A ball right now, so he has a bit of a ways to go till he gets to the Majors, but he’s shown nice strikeout upside and solid control for a youngster. He might be someone to monitor for dynasty leagues.

Astros receive Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Brewers receive Domingo Santana, Adrian Houser, Josh Hader, and Brett Phillips.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: The Astros are really going for it all this season and I can’t blame them. They have done great things this season and are in a nice position to make a deep post-season run, especially after they completed this big trade to improve their offense and starting rotation. Gomez is going to slide in to the everyday center field role for the Astros and he really could end up batting anywhere from 1st to 5th depending on how manager A.J. Hinch wants to roll with it. Meanwhile, Fiers will slide into the rotation that suddenly looks a lot different and much improved with the previous addition of Scott Kazmir as well.

The Astros have been without George Springer now for nearly a month as he has been on the DL with a wrist injury. So they have been missing his offensive production and the spark that he gives to the team on the defensive side of things as well. The veteran Gomez is much like Springer in a lot of ways and should be able to replace the presence of Springer while he remains out for possibly 3-4 more weeks. This trade hurts the current value of Jake Marisnick the most, and when Springer is ready to return, Colby Rasmus will likely be shifted into a reserve role as well. But for Gomez, I think he sees a slight uptick in value as a part of the Astros who are a stronger offensive unit than the Brewers and are more aggressive on the base paths. After averaging 45 stolen base attempts in the last 3 seasons, Gomez has only attempted 13 steals this season (7 SB), which has suppressed his fantasy value a lot. So I think with the Astros he is going to begin to run more, despite his overall inefficiency in stealing bases so far this season.

Fiers was great last season for the Brewers, but this year it hasn’t been the same story as he has a 3.89 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. His ERA and WHIP have come down over the last several starts, but he has pretty much had the highest hard hit rate in the Majors all season long, which would suggest that he hasn’t really been all that unlucky with his numbers. However, he does have nice strikeout potential with a current rate of 9.23 K/9, so it hasn’t been all thumbs down for the 30-year old righty who should be under team control for a couple more seasons as well. The move to the American League may bring his strikeouts down a bit, but pitching for a winning team and the change of scenery might do him well and I would say that his fantasy value remains relatively unchanged. What Fiers joining the rotation means though is that the Astros will be booting someone from the rotation. Rookie Vincent Velasquez already moved from the rotation to the bullpen upon Kazmir joining the team, so Scott Feldman could be the next odd man out. However, the Astros may also be concerned about limiting the innings of rookie Lance McCullers this season. His previous career high in innings pitched was 104.2 in 2013 and he is already passed that at 105.1 IP this season. So McCullers is probably safe to remain in the rotation for now, but it remains possible that he gets moved to the bullpen at some point, which would obviously crush his fantasy value for the remainder of the season.

The Brewers side of it was a nice haul of prospects that consists of some players that were pretty highly rated within the Astros organization, so they seemed to have done pretty well here. The prize of it all seems to be outfielder Brett Phillips who is a 21-year old currently at AA. He’s showing the future potential to be a .300 hitter with 20 HR/20 SB type of output with solid defense. Now with the Brewers, he has a clearer path to the bigs and could make an impact sometime next season. His progress at AA should be monitored and makes for a nice grab in dynasty leagues.

Pirates receive Joakim Soria. Tigers receive JaCoby Jones.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: Soria has been closing for the Tigers this season and he’s done an acceptable job in the role with a 2.85 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 23 saves in 26 opportunities. The Tigers decided that they were sellers and began to ship off their main trading pieces, and obviously there just isn’t much sense in retaining a quality 31-year old closer when the playoffs aren’t a likely scenario. Soria will join a bullpen where he will set up Mark Melancon, which is a solid move for the Pirates, but it obviously leaves Soria with very little fantasy value. Truth be told, there are some things not to like about Soria despite his decent success this season. His fastball velocity is actually the highest it’s ever been, but his strikeouts have come way down to 7.90 K/9 and he has been serving up a lot of meat balls with a career high 8 HR allowed. Nonetheless, he adds more depth to the Pirates pen and is a fine addition.

The importance of this trade for fantasy purposes is what that means for the Tigers bullpen and who will close out games. There are three options in Alex WilsonAl Alburquerque, and Bruce Rondon — none of which instill much confidence. It was Wilson who collected a save on Thursday in the first opportunity without Soria, but despite a 1.79 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, he doesn’t profile as a typical closer because he is missing the strikeout appeal with just 5.37 K/9 this season. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a closer or wouldn’t succeed in the role, because there are several guys who have done just fine with his type of skill set. Just be a bit cautious with him for fantasy purposes and know what you’re getting into if you want to pick him up. Alburquerque profiles like a closer with a fast heater and a wipeout slider, and he’s been doing reasonably well this season with a 3.27 ERA, but he has control issues that would likely hurt him in high pressure situations and he doesn’t really have any closing experience. Rondon has the most closing experience out of the three as he was a solid closer in the Minors. So he probably is the best bet for the long term, but he’s struggling right now with an 8.25 ERA and he can have control issues as well, though not as bad as Alburquerque’s. So Wilson is probably the best grab for now, but Rondon has the look of a future closer.

Jones, the prospect that the Tigers received, is a 23-year old shortstop who just reached AA. He’s shown Ian Desmond-like stats in the Minors. There’s some potential here, but he is a ways away from reaching the Majors.

Cardinals receive Brandon Moss. Indians receive Rob Kaminsky.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: The Cardinals have been hurting for some production out of their first basemen this season so they went out and acquired a left-handed bat that can handle first base and be the strong side of a platoon with Mark Reynolds. Moss also is capable of playing the corner outfield positions, so with Matt Holliday just landing on the DL again, this move has an even greater impact. With left field as an option as well, Moss’ playing time shouldn’t suffer all too much from what it had been with the Indians and there is not really any change in his fantasy value with the move. Still consider him as a low batting average hitter that has solid power.

The Indians will mix and match in Moss’ vacancy, but Lonnie Chisenhall might be the primary player to benefit. However, he should not be given much fantasy consideration after failing to produce before his demotion earlier this season.

Kaminsky was a 1st round pick by the Cardinals in 2013, so acquiring Moss to help with their post-season run didn’t come at a low cost. He’s a left-handed starting pitcher that has been at high-A ball and he’s put up some solid numbers since being drafted. But he doesn’t project as a top of the rotation guy.

Cubs receive Dan Haren. Marlins receive Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: Haren has been enjoying a decent season with a 3.42 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and he will step right into the Cubs rotation in the #5 spot to eat up some innings and give them some quality starts. However, he’s due for further regression, especially now since he’s going to be pitching his home games at Wrigley Field. His velocity on all his pitches has diminished greatly since last season and over the last several seasons. His “heater” is checking in at just 86 MPH, which has led to a very low and career worst 6.14 K/9. I’d give Haren a bump down in value and his ERA should rise closer to his current 4.55 xFIP.

Since Haren is just an aging veteran rental with declining skills, the prospects the Marlins received back are not highly ranked at all.

Orioles receive Gerardo Parra. Brewers receive Zach Davies.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: Parra has been in the midst of a career season while with the Brewers, despite beginning the year as just a 4th outfielder. He is currently hitting .328 with 9 HR, 31 RBI, 53 R, and 9 SB, and he makes for a nice fit for the Orioles in left field. However, with the left-handed hitting Parra much better against right-handed pitching and the Orioles having right-handed hitting options to play in left field, Parra may be relegated to a platoon situation here. He had been receiving near everyday playing time with the Brewers and batting leadoff, so the situation that he’s now in with the Orioles isn’t the greatest of news for his fantasy value. With a .372 BABIP and transitioning from the National League to the American League, he should be in for some regression as well. But I do think he will hit somewhere near the top of the order when he’s in the lineup — so that’s something good.

For the Brewers, this opens up the opportunity for a full-time outfield role for Khris Davis. Davis has struggled this season with just a .234 AVG and 7 HR in 62 games and spending a while on the DL, but he does have 25 HR potential and should be given consideration in deeper leagues as a power option now that he will be given more playing time.

Davies is a decent pitching prospect who has been at AAA this season and could be an option for the Brewers’ rotation eventually.

Blue Jays receive Ben Revere. Phillies receive Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: The Blue Jays just are not stopping in their quest to reach the post-season for the first time since 1993. They added the speedy outfielder Ben Revere who should see most of his playing time for the Blue Jays in left field. Currently, left field has been primarily occupied by Chris Colabello who is enjoying a bit of a breakout season, but Colabello is finally beginning to hit his expected regression period and the Jays may be worried about that. Colabello has been hitting righties just fine this season, but he’s definitely stronger against left-handed pitching so Revere may form some sort of platoon with Colabello in left field. However, Colabello can still collect at-bats at designated hitter, which would eat into the playing time of Justin Smoak the most. Overall, I think that both Revere and Colabello get knocked down a peg in fantasy value with the projected loss in playing time. Plus for Revere, he will likely hit at the bottom of the order instead of leading off like he was with the Phillies — though I suppose the argument can be made that hitting 8th or 9th for the Blue Jays is just as good as or better than hitting leadoff for the Phillies. It might get difficult to use them in leagues with weekly lineup changes, but they’ll still have some good value in leagues with daily lineup changes.

Revere’s exit from Philly should mean some more at-bats for Cody Asche and Domonic Brown for the Phillies outfield for the remainder of the season. Though, neither of them have done anything this season to show any ounce of excitement about. The two pitching prospects that the Phillies received could be some decent bullpen pieces down the road.

Pirates receive Mike Morse. Dodgers receive Jose Tabata.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: After acquiring Morse in the 3-team trade, the Dodgers designated him for assignment and then found a trading partner in the Pirates. The right-handed hitting Morse could actually form a decent power platoon with the left-handed hitting Pedro Alvarez at first base for the Pirates, and Morse is a quality add for the Pirates as they are trying to shape their post-season roster. Morse’s value takes a big hit moving from the Pirates to the Marlins as at-bats will be more difficult to come by, but he wasn’t garnering much fantasy attention anyway. Alvarez’ value remains unchanged because he was already not really seeing time against left-handed pitching to begin with.

The acquisition of Tabata by the Dodgers is merely just organizational depth, but maybe he can break up a perfect game again at some point.

Mets receive Yoenis Cespedes. Tigers receive Michael Fullmer and Luis Cessa.

Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: The Mets offense has been very lackluster this season and they were in dire need of adding some power and excitement to this lineup, particularly from the right side of the plate. So they went out and acquired Cespedes from the Tigers who should slot in as the every day left fielder and hit right in the heart of the order. The addition of Cespedes to the lineup might mean that top prospect Michael Conforto, who was recently promoted, might be heading back to the Minors or at the very least a bench role it would seem. It’s quite a bummer for Conforto and any fantasy owners who picked him up, but he still figures to have a decent future with the Mets. We’ll have to wait and see what happens though. As for Cespedes, obviously being in that nice Tigers lineup was working out pretty well for him, so joining a less dynamic offense isn’t the best of news. Also he will be joining the National League after spending his whole career thus far in the American League, so there may be some adjustment period for him. Overall, I would give Cespedes a slight downgrade, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he continued his ways that he had with the Tigers.

Replacing Cespedes on the Tigers roster will be Tyler Collins. Collins did decently in 18 games for the Tigers earlier this season, and he might have a role for the Tigers in the future. He figures to at least get a decent amount of starts in left field with Cespedes’ departure, but he’s not really someone to consider for fantasy unless he gets on a hot streak. Also, Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose who have been forming a speedy platoon for the Tigers in center field should also begin to see some time in left field as well and will see more overall playing time to help their counting stats.

The package that the Tigers received was a pair of pitching prospects that don’t come too highly regarded, but they may eventually have the chance to contribute as bullpen arms.

OTHER MINOR TRADES

Yankees receive Dustin Ackley and Ramon Flores. Mariners receive Jesus Ramirez.

Cardinals receive Jonathan Broxton. Brewers receive Malik Collymore.

Twins receive Kevin Jepsen. Rays receive Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.

Blue Jays receive Mark Lowe. Mariners receive Nick Wells, Rob Rasmussen, and Jake Brentz.

A’s receive Felix Doubront. Blue Jays receive cash.

Cubs receive Tommy Hunter. Orioles receive Junior Lake.

Red Sox receive Ryan Cook. A’s receive cash.

Pirates receive J.A. Happ. Mariners receive Adrian Sampson.

Padres receive Mark Rzepczynski. Indians receive Abraham Almonte.

Rangers receive Sam Dyson. Marlins receive Tomas Telis and and Cody Edge.

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