Reaction to the trade deadline

The trade deadline often represents an opportunity for savvy fantasy managers to gain some ground against their opponents. However, this July 31 turned up few opportunities to steal value off the waiver wire. Below is a first glimpse at potential fantasy impact.

AL-only

Like interleague play, AL-only leagues won the trade deadline.

The biggest deadline boost is Ubaldo Jimenez, whom the Colorado Rockies swapped to the Cleveland Indians. Jimenez owners have been disappointed in 2011. He’s lacked the dominance displayed in 2010, posting a frown-worthy 4.46 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

Hidden behind those numbers, he’s quietly posted solid peripherals. His walk and strikeout rates are nearly identical to 2010′s rates. His FIP and xFIP are 3.54 and 3.56, respectively (3.10 and 3.60 in 2010). Statistically, there’s reason to be hopeful Jimenez can recapture ace numbers. AL owners should go all-in on him.

Colby Rasmus also hit the AL waiver wire back on July 27. Chances are he’s already cleared waivers in most AL-only leagues, but if you still have a chance to acquire him, go for it. His potential five-category skill set can help almost any team.

Mike Adams was acquired by the Texas Rangers to support Neftali Feliz. He’ll remain an elite source of holds, although his ERA and WHIP may suffer in the move from Petco Park to Arlington, TX. The Rangers probably view him as the closer in 2012 when Feliz joins the rotation. That’s a long way off, but it is useful information in certain keeper leagues.

On the prospect front, the Mariners acquired Trayvon Robinson. He possesses a skill set similar to Colorado’s Dexter Fowler (albeit with some power), so it will be interesting to see how the M’s fit him into their plans. Managers in keeper leagues may want to take a flier since he has some pop and speed at his disposal.

The Athletics acquired Fangraphs darling Brandon Allen. He’ll join their collection of quadruple-A first basemen/ outfielders. The A’s will hope Allen can catch on back in the AL. Only the deepest leagues need worry about him.

NL-only

NL-only leagues didn’t acquire any major players, but several options could help fill out a roster.

The Pirates’s acquisition of Derrek Lee may provide the best opportunity. Lee still is capable of reaching base frequently and showing some occasional power. His presence, along with fellow trade deadline acquisition Ryan Ludwick, should help the Pirates get more production out of their first baseman and corner outfielders. Andrew McCutchen might benefit most with more RBI opportunities and better hitters to drive him in.

The Cardinals snatched up a pile of potentially useful players in the Rasmus trade. As noted above, waivers have already been processed for these guys in most leagues. Edwin Jackson will join the rotation. He’s capable of occasional runs of dominance, interspersed with bouts of ignominy. Prospective owners will just have to cross their fingers. If you don’t need him, you’re unlikely to regret allowing a rival to snap him up. Then again, Dave Duncan can work miracles.

Also joining the Cardinals are Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson. Rzepczynski is a solid swingman who could pick up a decent number of holds. Dotel will help perform setup man duties for the Cardinals. If Fernando Salas should stumble, Dotel could move from a holds source to the closing gig. Patterson will serve mainly as a backup when the Cardinals’ outfield is at full health. Keep in mind that strange things can happen on Tony LaRussa-run teams.

Brad Ziegler joined the Arizona Diamondbacks and has an outside shot of finding himself some save opportunities. Holds leagues will appreciate his presence.

The Giants added Orlando Cabrera from the Indians to provide depth at second base. He may platoon with Mike Fontenot.

The Rockies picked upAlex White as part of the Jimenez trade. White is a nice pick up for the Rockies. He’s a groundball pitcher who also features some swing-and-miss stuff, not unlike his new teammate Jhoulys Chacin. He’s currently on the 60-day disabled list with a finger injury, but he recently threw a 25- pitch bullpen and will probably return later this year. He’s a nice guy to stash on the disabled list if you have the open slot.

The Rockies also acquired a player to be named later, supposedly Drew Pomeranz. Owners in keeper or dynasty leagues should wait patiently for Pomeranz to be named.

Intraleague moves

Despite a rough return from the disabled list, The Red Sox went out and acquired the perpetually-injured Erik Bedard. The report from Bedard’s recent aborted outing was that his encouraging 94 MPH velocity was mixed with suspect control. Fantasy owners should be wary of buying into Bedard the Red Sock. Moving from Safeco and the AL West to Fenway and the AL East won’t make anything easier for him.

Speaking of injury prone players, Rafael Furcal joins the busy Cardinals. With Furcal, it’s always a story of health. Hitting in a lineup with Pujols and Holliday is added bonus.

The Phillies filled a big hole in their lefty-heavy lineup by acquiring Hunter Pence. He will be asked to fill the void left by Jayson Werth over the offseason. If he bats fifth behind Ryan Howard, his runs scored and RBI numbers may suffer.

Not to be outdone, the Atlanta Braves added Michael Bourn to fill their hole in center field. The switch shouldn’t affect much offensively since Bourn isn’t much of an on-base threat. Most of the gain will come defensively.

Carlos Beltran was the early splash. He’s a huge upgrade for the Giants and helps all the players around him. Pablo Sandovalshould enjoy the biggest boost from his presence. The Giants’ offense is a pitiful thing, and Beltran won’t have the pleasure of hitting with Jose Reyes or David Wright in San Fran.

Fellow former Met, Francisco Rodriguez joined the Brewers last week. Yesterday he got the infamous vulture win after blowing the save in the eighth inning. John Axford has a stranglehold on the closer gig, so K-Rod is reduced to holds and those vulture wins.

Analysts often joke that Brian Sabean loves aging veterans. He did nothing to dispel that critique this year by acquiring utility man Jeff Keppinger in addition to Beltran and Cabrera.

The Rangers acquired Koji Uehara from Orioles. He could compete with Adams for save opportunities in a post-Feliz bullpen. For now, more holds.

For their part, the Orioles got role players Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Uehara. Davis has big-time power but may not ever catch on long-term at the big league level. Hunter is hard to use in all but the deepest formats.

Mike Aviles joined the Red Sox. He’ll likely split time with Marco Scutaro. If he can wrest the starting gig away from Scutaro, he’ll become a hot commodity.

The Tigers strengthened their rotation and bullpen by adding Doug Fister and David Pauley. The trade does little to alter their value. Fister should win a few more games now, but otherwise they’re unexciting options in most leagues. Fister is employable but needs to be coupled with an elite strikeout guy like Tim Lincecum.

The Mariners made out well, grabbing Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush from the Tigers. Wells should find more playing time in Seattle and has some upside in deep formats. Furbush is a little harder to get a read on, although he should like Safeco.

Additional notes

Phillies prospect Domonic Brown appears to be the odd man out after the Phillies acquired Pence. He’ll return to Lehigh Valley to work on his pitch recognition and outfield route running. John Mayberry, Jr. and Ben Francisco will find playing time hard to come by so long as Raul Ibanez stays hot.

Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois will probably take Bourn’s place as the leadoff hitter. He remains an elite sources of steals and little else. The few Astros hitters worth employing got harder to own without the support of Bourn and Pence.

Kyle McClellan will move to the bullpen now that the Cardinals have acquired Jackson.

While picking up Rasmus, the Blue Jays dealt veteran outfielder Patterson and also shed Juan Rivera, so Travis Snider and Eric Thames should continue to see plenty of action. Both players should be owned in a wide range of formats.

With Ludwick moving on, the Padres will lean more heavily on Chris Denorfia and Will Venable. Denorfia is a nice replacement-level player in semi-deep leagues and Venable can steal bases in bunches so long as he reaches base.

The Rangers have built a dangerous bullpen. Their starting rotation gains a small boost since they’re more likely to hold on to their wins.

Dodgers shortstop prospect Dee Gordon is no longer blocked and should get a full-time look now.

Furcal will probably push Cardinals’s shortstop Ryan Theriot to second base and Skip Schumaker to the bench.

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Comments

  1. Willie Buck Merle said...

    “(Tommy) Hunter is hard to use in all but the deepest formats.”

    Uh ok… this ain’t the website for Seventeen/Cosmo, so don’t be such a fruitcake. Last year when he came off the DL he pitched a complete game in 100 degree heat and pitched well the rest of the year. When he came back from the DL this year all of a sudden Derek Holland started to pitch alot better. IMHO the Rangers traded away decent value.

  2. Brad Johnson said...

    Let’s draw it out a little. How many leagues have a place for a pitcher with a 4.50ish expected ERA, 1.40ish xWHIP and 5.5ish K/9? In the AL East he’ll be lucky to win 30% of his decisions so let’s call him a 9 win pitcher.

    The answer to that question – very few. He’s a useful major league player and I won’t say otherwise, for fantasy he’s toxic.

  3. Derek Ambrosino said...

    Brad,

    You aren’t in any leagues that use CGiTDT(f) as a category? Complete games in triple-digit temperatures (Fahrenheit), of course?

    Just playing, Willie, but I think Brad’s got it here. Holland is quite possibly a slightly above league average pitcher, which certainly has value, and trading him does constitute “trading away decent value.” In fact, it’s not an uncommon opinion that Texas overpaid, but that doesn’t make Holland’s skill set translate any better to fantasy baseball, nor does it ease the transition to the AL East.

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