Fantasy Baseball Edge: Managing The Trade Deadline
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By Moe Koltun of RotoAnalysis.com
“Wait. What? Who? With them?!?! How?” These questions raced through many baseball fans’ minds this past week while they frantically reloaded their twitter accounts searching for more information. Other than an injury, there is no piece of sports news that affects a fantasy player’s value more than a trade (or, in some cases, a non-trade), so let’s take a look at how some of the recent moves will change players’ fantasy values going forward.
The Phillies Lock Up Cole Hamels for 6 Years and 144 Million Dollars
I hate to break it to you Phillies fans, but I think this is a pretty terrible signing. There is essentially no help coming to the big league squad from the Phillies’ farm system any time soon (sorry Domonic Brown), the team has a ton of resources committed to Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon long-term, and they have a pretty old team to boot, meaning that I don’t think they’re going to be in contention for the bulk of this contract. The good news for fantasy owners is that Hamels staying with the Phillies means we’ll likely see a continuation of what he’s been so far in his career: a solid, consistent, near-elite fantasy contributor. So, in a relatively weak offensive division with a solid offense behind him (at least for now), I believe Hamels will still be a top 5 fantasy pitcher the rest of the way. In the future though, I’m less optimistic on Hamels and in long-term keeper or dynasty leagues, I think now is getting close to the peak time to try to trade him away.
The Mariners Trade Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees for D.J. Mitchell, Danny Farquhar, A Half-Empty Bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, Three Blue Man Group Tickets, and the Right to Seven Katz’s Deli Sandwiches To Be Named Later.
Is there a better way to say ‘we want to save money’ than trading the face of your team’s franchise for what amounts to two nearly non-prospects? Well, besides doing everything Mike Brown (the owner of the Bengals) has done for the last 20 years? Probably not. I know he’s got a ton of name-value, but Ichiro isn’t even close to the player he used to be, thanks to his declining speed. However, Ichiro is actually making harder contact with the ball than he ever has before, posting the highest line drive rate of his career this season. On the Yankees, I think Ichiro could be a top 30-40 outfielder in fantasy, and be a solid contributor across the board, even if he won’t be the 40-steal, .350 average, 110 run threat he used to be. If I could, I’d try to deal Ichiro to some less knowledgeable owners who hear the words ‘Yankees’ and ‘Ichiro’ and illogically value him as a top 15-20 outfielder. Additionally, the biggest take-away from this deal for me was how little faith the Yankees seem to have in Brett Gardner’s healthy return, and I believe Gardner will not play for the rest of the season.
What The Fish? The Marlins Traded Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Dodgers for Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
I’m not even going to try to diagnose how this trade happened, because the truth is I have absolutely no idea what the Marlins were thinking. From a fantasy perspective though, I think this is going to be either a neutral or slightly beneficial transition for Hanley Ramirez. Yes, Dodger Stadium isn’t the world’s best place to hit, but nor is Marlins Park. Hitting next to Matt Kemp in the lineup is always a good thing for a player’s fantasy value (see Ethier, Andre), and I think what HanRam really needed more than anything else was a change of scenery. I’d still have him as a top 2 or 3 shortstop going forward, and I think this move will either keep him around where he is, or give him the boost he needs to get somewhere close to his old self.
Holy Mackerel! The Marlins also traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers for Jacob Turner, Brian Flynn, and Rob Brantley.
This is by far my favorite trade of the season so far, as I think it makes a whole lot of sense for both teams. I really don’t understand why a lot of analysts are down on Jacob Turner, and I still think that the 21-year-old righty has great stuff and the upside to be a number 2 starter in this league for a long time. The Tigers obviously needed some help, as they basically went all-in for the next few seasons after signing Prince Fielder in the offseason, making immediate success a priority. I know there are many fantasy analysts out there who think this move helps Anibal Sanchez’s value, but I think it really hurts him. He’s going from the NL to the AL, and although the AL Central is pretty awful, he still has to face the rest of the league, which is undoubtedly better than the NL. I also think that Anibal Sanchez is a highly comparable pitcher to Max Scherzer (high strikeout rate, low-ish walk rate, great advanced metrics, not so great ERA numbers), and I think that the Tigers’ atrocious defense is going to hurt Anibal almost as much as it hurts Scherzer. I would project him for an ERA over 3.70 the rest of the way, whereas I would have put it under 3.50 if he stayed with the Marlins. Finally, this trade definitely helps Omar Infante, and with that lineup now around him, Infante immediately becomes a candidate to be a top 10-second basemen in fantasy the rest of the way.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems and Matt @KidCotti21. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.