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The Six Deadline Deals to Care Most About Moving Forward

Generally, the trade deadline is one of the most exciting days on the baseball calendar, and for good reason. With future Hall of Famers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer highlighting this year’s edition, it is safe to say the 2023 trade deadline did a fine job of satisfying most fans. However, while deadline deals are always exciting for baseball enthusiasts, they often offer very little in the way of fantasy. After all, since every player capable of generating media buzz post-trade is already locked away with high roster rates, August 1 once again felt like another day at the office for most skippers.

Despite that, there are still diamonds in the rough waiting to be claimed. In the spirit of ambition, let us dive deeper and explore the six deadline deals to care most about moving forward. Below, the under-the-radar trades that offer the most potential for fantasy managers-whether in the form of the player himself or what their acquisition indicates on a broader scale-are analyzed in great detail to help skippers seize the value of a re-shaped MLB.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

The Six Trades with Real Fantasy Impact

*Please note that all stats are accurate entering play on August 4th*

Josh Bell to MIA

When news broke that a struggling Josh Bell was traded from Cleveland to Miami in exchange for the equally afflicted Jean Segura, it could not be classified as a blockbuster deadline deal. That is of course because, despite a solid 2022 (.266/.362/.422, 17 HR, 71 RBI), Bell has hit to the disappointing tune of a .239/.325/.394 slash line with 12 HR and 50 RBI through 99 games this year. For that reason, Bell finds himself available in most leagues.

Yet in spite of his lackluster play, accompanying his move to the NL are a number of reasons to add the slugger right now. After all, on the Marlins Bell will be moving into a hitter friendly ballpark and has joined a fiercer offense to protect him. In addition, his baseball savant numbers are very promising (xBA: .275, xSLG: .460, xwOBA: .356) and suggest his metrics this season are actually better than they were in 2022.

With his excellent first game with Miami only supporting his case, Josh Bell is absolutely someone to pursue on waivers.


Noah Syndergaard to CLE

Out of every team, the most puzzling trade deadline perhaps belongs to the Guardians. For a team absolutely in striking distance of the AL Central, their moves are very difficult to justify. After promising not to deal Shane Bieber, which led the rest of baseball to believe they were buying, they proceeded to trade considerable big-league talent in Aaron Civale, Amed Rosario, and Josh Bell. The only MLB-ready players they received in exchange were Noah Syndergaard and Jean Segura, two former stars performing at below-average clips. They then proceeded to immediately release Segura. As a result, most of baseball seems to be confused by their deadline MO.

Nevertheless, for a team with countless starters sidelined to trade away a stud like Aaron Civale in the midst of a playoff race, one thing is obvious: They must have enormous faith in Noah Syndergaard.

Whether fantasy managers should have the same trust in a pitcher with a 6.68 ERA remains unclear. However, he is coming off a good debut and there is certainly something intriguing about the confidence Cleveland has in Thor. Thus, fantasy managers looking to roll the dice should consider taking a gamble on Syndergaard and his all-star track record for the time being.

[Insert SP Here] to BOS

Moving on from the Guardians, the Red Sox also had a baffling deadline. Specifically, after entering deadline day seemingly desperate for a starting pitcher to fill in for their injured and struggling staff, the Red Sox abstained from doing just that.

The reason to care about this unexpected turn of events, of course, is its implications for the in-house options the Red Sox have at their disposal. In particular, it probably means that Nick Pivetta will be looking at another opportunity to rejoin the starting rotation. After posting a 6.30 ERA early on, the Canadian soon assumed bullpen duties in mid-May. In the time since, however, the RHP has dominated his new role. After earning enough trust to move back into a leverage bulk role last month, Pivetta re-joined Boston’s rotation on July 31st and went 7.1 IP with 10 SO and 3 ER. His ERA is now at a mark of just 4.08.

While it is true that Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, and Tanner Houck are all targeting a mid-August return, the Red Sox decision to pass on acquiring a starter with a deadline deal seems to indicate Pivetta’s success of late has been enough to secure him a starting spot down the stretch. While not a guarantee, the time to add Nick Pivetta is right now.

Paul DeJong to TOR

After the trade deadline came and went, the only bat the Blue Jays managed to swing a deadline deal for was infielder Paul DeJong. A defensive player first and foremost, while his acquisition is an important one in the midst of Bo Bichette’s knee injury, it was certainly surprising that he was the only hitter. After all, for a team clinging onto the AL’s third wild card spot, their calling card offense has been among the league’s worst when it comes to driving in runs (*their BA with RISP ranks 28th in baseball*) and it seemed like improving upon it was a priority.

Be that as it may, the reason skippers should care is because now that Toronto has failed to improve much in the way of offense, the team has been forced to rely on in-house options to resolve their dire lack of hitting with RISP.

It would seem their three most realistic options waiting in AAA are:

  • 24-year-old UTIL Davis Schneider (.275/.416/.553, 21 HR and 64 RBI in 87 AAA games)
  • 25-year-old 1B/DH Spencer Horwitz (.314/.435/.454, 7 HR and 58 RBI in 85 AAA games)
  • 23-year-old UTIL Addison Barger (.233/.349/.381, 6 HR and 24 RBI in 53 AAA games)

Sure enough, yesterday the Blue Jays elected to promote Davis Schneider to the majors (*who immediately proceeded to crush a monster shot at Fenway in his first MLB AB*). Nevertheless, because of their lack of offensive upgrades, it is definitely worthwhile to watch all three Blue Jays prospects closely while the club’s woeful offense continues.


Nicky Lopez to ATL

One of the quietest deadline deals, the trade sending struggling Nicky Lopez to the Braves in exchange for recently DFA’d Taylor Hearn was relatively forgettable. Considering the play of both players this year, the trade is certainly of fantasy irrelevance. However, beyond the surface, the absence of Lopez on KC drastically increases the value of his former teammates.

That is because with Lopez no longer being a factor in the Royals infield, there is now playing time available for the team’s speedy infield core. Specifically, that means in addition to Bobby Whitt Jr., Maikel Garcia (15 SB in 76 games), and Samad Taylor (42 SB in 74 AAA games + 6 SB in 17 MLB games) will each have a chance to shine down the stretch. With the Royals expected to play aggressively now that they are out of contention, managers in need of SB should follow Garcia and Taylor now that Lopez is out of the picture.

Spencer Howard to NYY

For a team nicknamed the Bombers, the Yankees were oddly quiet at the trade deadline. That is why when they acquired Spencer Howard, the declining former top prospect’s name quickly made its way around baseball. A top-50 prospect heading into 2020, the RHP has failed to find any success since. With a 7.20 ERA throughout his time in the majors and a 4.90 ERA in AAA between 2022-2023, it only took cash for the Yankees to trade for Howard.

In spite of that, there is a glimmer of hope. With Anthony Rizzo heading to the IL and Domingo German out for the season, New York’s chances of securing a playoff berth are quickly fleeting. As such, with an extremely depleted rotation, Spencer Howard could very realistically find himself pitching for an out-of-contention Yankees team sometime soon.

While Howard is not worth rostering in any format right now, for risk-takers who are desperately in need of starting pitching and still believe in what the scouts saw, Howard is someone to watch as he makes his first appearances for the Yankees in AAA.

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