Fantasy Fallout of the MLB Trade Deadline
The MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone and to say the least, it was rather hectic. I’m gonna try and sift through the rubble to figure out the fantasy winners and losers. Of course, I’ll hit on the players involved in the deals, but many times the biggest fantasy impact is on players who are left behind. For each player acquired at the trade deadline, another player may have lost or gained a job.
Fantasy owners will be all over the big names moved at the trade deadline and with good reason. Don’t ignore those names, but do be the guy who sneaks in and takes advantage of the collateral damage (or benefit).
In the paragraphs below, I’m going to attempt to look at all the fantasy implications of the major MLB trade deadline deals. I’ll discuss which players lose and gain playing time or enter into better or worse situations. What I won’t do is go into too much depth analyzing the prospects involved in these trades. I’m gonna leave that to our own Eric Cross, who will be able to give you a lot more information on these prospects and give you an idea of their future impact. You can follow Eric on Twitter or keep an eye on all of his articles here.
Also a little warning. This article is a beast. I tried to address every player who saw a meaningful change in fantasy value with all these trade deadline deals. Your best bet is probably to scan the headings and find the trades that matter to you and your league.
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MLB Trade Deadline Deals With Mixed League Fantasy Impact
I’ll tackle these trade deadline deals by potential fantasy impact, but with all the variables that can be a hard thing to assess. After the trade breakdowns I’ll make a nice simple chart showing which players moved to each league. These trades are big news for mixed leagues, but in AL- and NL-only leagues they can change the whole season.
Pirates acquired RHP Chris Archer from the Pirates for OF Austin Meadows, RHP Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named later.
Chris Archer has ace-type stuff, but has never really translated it all the way at the Major League level. He started the season rough and spent some time on the DL with oblique issues. He does have a 3.14 ERA (3.59 xFIP) over his last 10 starts and can pile up strikeouts in a hurry. The move out of the AL East and facing the opposing pitcher a couple times a game will add to his value. The change in scenery will be positive for Archer’s fantasy value. He gets a little bump in mixed leagues but will have a huge impact in NL-only formats. If you need the Ks it’s time to empty out the FAAB.
Austin Meadows has been somewhat of a letdown when measured up against his early hype, but he’s looked much better this year. He’s got good speed, good pop, and can likely play all three outfield spots. With Kevin Kiermaeir in center, I’d expect Meadows to eventually move into the right field job, but the Rays have initially sent him down to Triple-A to get regular at-bats. There may be Super Two issues at work here.
Glasnow is a high upside dart who’s dominated the minor leagues and walked every one is site during his MLB action. I’m sure Eric will have much more to say on him.
Collateral Impact: If Carlos Gomez wasn’t already in danger of being DFA’d he’s got to be feeling the heat now. Between this deal and the acquisition of Tommy Pham, Mallex Smith is also likely to be in a fight for at-bats. The Rays outfield is definitely something fantasy owners need to keep an eye on. On the Pirates end, this trade could push Joe Musgrave or Trevor Williams to the pen. Both have pitched well of late, but there’s no room.
— Jim Freeman (@jtfreeman66_jim) August 1, 2018
Dodgers acquired 2B Brian Dozier from the Twins for 2B Logan Forsythe, RHP Devin Smeltzer and OF/1B Luke Raley.
The rich just keep getting richer. After adding Machado a couple weeks ago, they snag his new double-play partner at the trade deadline. Dozier has been a bit of a disappointment so far, but his July has looked a little better and he’s shown a tendancy in the past to turn things up a notch in the second half. The change in ballparks won’t have much of an effect, though Dodger Stadium is slightly more friendly to right-handed hitters as far as home runs are concerned. The new lineup will likely be a more positive result for Dozier. Again, NL-only owners need to play their FAAB cards right. The NL seems to be getting the higher value players.
Forsythe should slide right into the Twins second base job. He’s been a non-factor since joining the Dodgers, but did offer a little value in 2015 and 2016 with the Rays. Even with that, his value is limited to deeper AL-only formats.
Collateral Impact: Nothing really changes for the Twins with this deal, but there are a lot of moving parts with Los Angeles. Right now Justin Turner is on the DL and Machado is playing third base. That means Chris Taylor is handling short. The question is, what happens when Turner comes back? Machado likely slides over to short, but then where does Chris Taylor go? He could head to center with Cody Bellinger moving back to first, but then that leaves Max Muncy with no slot in the lineup. My best guess is that Taylor gets plenty of PT moving around the diamond. The biggest losers might be Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez who could see their at-bats cut way down.
Brewers acquired INF Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles for RHP Luis Ortiz and INFs Jean Carmona and Jonathan Villar.
The Brewers need an impact starter so they added Mike Moustakas and now Jonathan Schoop. Don’t get me wrong, their infield features four hitters with 30-HR power and their outfield ain’t too shabby either. Schoop’s overall numbers aren’t real impressive, but blame that on a .144 June. In July he’s been on a tear, batting .360 with nine home runs. The icing on the cake for Schoop owners is that it appears there’s nowhere for him to play but shortstop. The ballpark, the deep lineup; Everything points to this being a huge plus for Schoop’s value.
Fantasy owners shouldn’t fall asleep on Villar here either. No, he’s not the player who hit 19 HRs and stole 62 bases just two years ago. But the pop and the speed are still there and he has absolutely no competition for the Oriole’s second base job. AL-only owner should be all over him and if you need speed in mixed leagues I’m not sure there’s a better bet on your waiver wire.
Collateral Impact: It looked like Orlando Arcia was going to get the shortstop job back, but if he stays with the Brewers it’ll likely be as a defensive replacement.
Brewers acquired 3B Mike Moustakas from the Royals for OF Brett Phillips and RHP Jorge Lopez.
You gotta admire the Brewers attitude. They could find a perfect deal, but they’re being aggressive and are trying to make it work. Moustakas average has taken a dip, but he’s still hit 20 bombs with 62 RBIs. Early word is that Travis Shaw will move to second base, but Moustakas also shared his willingness to give it a try. Moustakas came up as a shortstop, so it’s not totally outlandish. Both the lineup and the ballpark should give Moustakas a boost. Miller Park has been the second most homer-friendly park to left-handed hitters this year as opposed to Kauffman Stadium which was fourth worst. Phillips should move right into the starting center field job in KC. He’s got decent pop and a little speed, but can probably be left for AL-only leagues until he proves otherwise.
Collateral Impact: Arcia loses his job in Milwaukee. According to RotoWorld the starting third baseman in Kansas City is… Alcides Escobar? Ouch.
Braves acquired RHP Darren O’Day and RHP Kevin Gausman from the Orioles for RHP Evan Phillips, INF Jean Carlos Encarnación, C Brett Cumberland, LHP Bruce Zimmerman and international signing slots.
I think Gausman could be one of the unappreciated assets acquired at the trade deadline. He’s been up and down all year and most fantasy owners can’t stand him. That’s what happens when you get a ton of hype and then never really deliver. Prior to this season we knew we’d at least get strikeouts but the 7.55 K/9 he’s put up so far in 2018 isn’t helping…
All this seems negative, but I can’t put his numbers from the second half of 2017 out of my head. Gausman seemed to figure things out, posting a 3.41 ERA, a 9.64 K/9 and a 2.81 BB/9. There’s also the Oriole’s track record of developing pitchers to consider. On the relative scale of homegrown Oriole pitchers, he might as well be Pedro Martinez. Nothing is for sure with Gausman, but I think there’s a lot of profit to be had. In my keeper leagues I’m gonna try to sneak away with him for $8-$10.
Collateral Impact: This deal really doesn’t shake things up too much as far as fantasy goes. The Braves have been piecing things together for their fifth starter. It might take some streaming opportunities away from Max Fried. Whoever steps into Gausman’s void in the Baltimore rotation is someone you want to stay away from.
Rays acquired OF Tommy Pham and international bonus money from the Cardinals for LHP Genesis Cabrera, OF Justin Williams and RHP Roel Ramirez.
I know Pham has been a disappointment this year, but just last season he hit .306 with 23 HRs, 25 SBs and a .411 OBP. The average is down, but so is the BABIP. Pham’s .303 BABIP looks normal, but he posted numbers of .333, .342, and .368 over the three previous seasons. It’s certainly possible pitchers figured him out to some extent, but even then I’d expect a nice little run before AL pitchers catch on.
The prospects the Cardinals received weren’t all that highly regarded, but obviously St. Louis saw something they liked. I’m sure Eric will have more on them.
Collateral Impact: Again, the Rays outfield is suddenly very full. Between Pham, Meadows, and Kiermaeir, the Rays have three quality center fielders. I have to think Carlos Gomez will be the first casualty and then Mallex Smith will lose time if/when the Rays call up Meadows… In St. Louis this move means more at-bats for Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill who got the callup when this deal was completed. Bader and O’Neill will reportedly split center field 50/50 for now. Keep an eye on this though. Dexter Fowler has been useless this season. If O’Neill gets on a roll, he could easily slide over to right and be a nice source of power over the rest of the season.
Blue Jays acquired RHPs David Paulino, Ken Giles and Hector Perez from the Astros for RHP Roberto Osuna.
The Astros are taking a bit of a risk here, but they are probably a little tired of dealing with ninth-inning chaos. Osuna’s suspension ends on August 4, and his next court date is August 4. If things work out legally for Osuna he immediately takes over the ninth inning for one of baseball’s best teams. If not the Astros stick with Hector Rondon and didn’t trade away any key parts of their future. Giles stands to gain the most value here. Jays manager John Gibbons has already announced that Giles will close. Giles is certainly maddening for fantasy owners, but there is no denying his stuff. His ERA sits at an unsightly 4.99, but the 3.25 xFIP paints a prettier picture. If you have ground to gain in saves and Giles is available, I’m not sure you’ll find a better bet.
Collateral Impact: Obviously Rondon could lose a lot of value with the arrival of Osuna. You have to hold on until things play out though. Feel free to drop Ryan Tepera though. Giles will have a decent sized leash as he tries to straighten things out.
Yankees acquired LHP J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays for INF Brandon Drury and OF Billy McKinney.
You have to like what the move to the Yankees does for Happ’s win potential, and it wouldn’t be the first time a move to a contender refocused a pitcher. Happ’s value has always bounced around a bit, likely because his lack of strikeouts left him vulnerable to the whims of BABIP. His signals this season are mixed. His ERA sits at 4.05, but a 3.74 xFIP and career-best 9.90 K/9 say he’s been better than that. I expect a little bump in Happ’s value over the rest of the season, but that’s assuming his current bout of hand, foot, and mouth disease doesn’t affect him for more than a start or two.
Drury gains a decent bump in AL-only leagues. He’s got more pop than he’s shown and should get near full-time at-bats moving all around the Jays’ infield.
Red Sox acquired RHP Nathan Eovaldi from the Rays for LHP Jalen Beeks.
Eovaldi has always under-performed his peripherals and this year is no different. His 0.94 WHIP gives you a small hint at just how good he’s been this year. HIs ERA could be much lower if not for a couple blow-ups. Eovaldi is coming off of several different arm issues, so his inconsistency probably shouldn’t be a surprise. The move to Boston instantly puts his fantasy value in a different neighborhood. He could easily pitch like your No. 3 starter and may be available on your waiver wire.
Yankees acquired LHP Zach Britton from the Orioles for RHP Dillon Tate, LHP Josh Rogers, and RHP Cody Carroll.
Britton loses all value in fantasy unless you’re in a holds league. He’s been pitching much better of late, but he’s got several pitchers to leapfrog as far as saves go.
Collateral Impact: The real winner in this deal is Mychal Givens. With Britton, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day all gone from the Baltimore bullpen, Givens is now the only real option in the ninth inning. He’s seeminglytaken a step backward after a strong 2017, but a .352 BABIP can be blamed for much of that. The Orioles won’t win a ton of games, but fantasy owners might be able to sneak 10 saves out of Givens the rest of the way.
— Al Melchior (@almelchiorBB) July 30, 2018
Athletics acquired RHP Jeurys Familia from the Mets for RHP Bobby Wahl, 3B William Toffey and international slot money.
Much like Britton, Familia is pretty much a fantasy non-factor at this point. If you’re into handcuffs he’s probably next-in-line for saves behind Blake Treinen.
Collateral Impact: Anthony Swarzak and Robert Gsellman look like the best bets for saves in the Mets pen. I like Gsellman better as a pitcher, but he may be used for multiple innings which would limit his opportunities.
Indians acquired LHP Brad Hand and RHP Adam Cimber from the Padres in exchange for C/OF Francisco Mejia.
Hand’s opportunities at saves will likely be minimal in Cleveland for the rest of the season, but keeper league owners would be smart to latch on. Both Cody and Andrew Miller will be free agents this offseason, leaving Hand as the likely closer heading into 2019.
Phillies acquired C Wilson Ramos from the Rays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
It’s a bit surprising the Rays didn’t get a little more in this deal. Ramos has been one of the best hitting catchers in baseball this season. This may mean he’s a little further away than we may have thought in his rehab from a hamstring injury. He’ll get 75 percent or so of the starts for the Phillies when he returns.
Collateral Impact: Jorge Alfaro loses pretty much all NL-only value when Ramos returns, but will likely be back in a starting role in 2019 as Ramos is an impending free agent… In Tampa Bay Jesus Sucre and Michael Perez will handle catching duties. Neither are players you want to start in fantasy.
Phillies acquired INF Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets for RHP Franklyn Kilome.
This one puzzles me a bit. The Phillies already had a lot of moving parts and Cabrera makes things even more confusing. Look for him to get almost full-time play split between second, third, and short. I’m wasn’t expecting him to maintain the power he’s shown this year, but the new ballpark could ease that a bit.
Collateral Impact: There’s no big loser here, but if Maikel Franco or Scott Kingery go into a prolonged slump they could easily see their playing time cut… Jeff McNeil is getting first shot at the second base job in New York. He doesn’t come with much of a pedigree, but his minor league numbers this year say deep leaguers might want to pay attention.
Cubs acquired LHP Cole Hamels and cash considerations from the Rangers for RHPs Eddie Butler and Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later.
I waffled over putting this in the NL-only impact section or here in the mixed league section. Feel free to ignore if you’re in a mixed league and don’t need to chase some wins. After a strong start, Hamels has fallen back a little, but the 8.97 K/9 is still promising. If you’re protecting solid ratios you probably want to stay away from Hamels, but there is solid win and strikeout potential here. At minimum he’s a decent streamer when the matchups are right.. and the wind is blowing in at Wrigley.
Collateral Impact: Tyler Chatwood and his 8.14 BB/9 are the first casualty. Chatwood moves to the pen with Hamels’ arrival. Mike Montgomery could soon follow if Yu Darvish proves healthy. Niether offers meaningful value in a bullpen role.
Deadline Deals With AL- or NL-only Impact
Red Sox acquired 2B Ian Kinsler and cash considerations from the Angels for LHP Williams Jerez and RHP Ty Buttrey.
Kinsler should gain a little value in the new park and in a better lineup. His days as a serious fantasy contributor are likely gone though. He’ll work as a middle infield injury replacement in mixed leagues, but don’t expect the change in scenery to work wonders.
Collateral Impact: With Kinsler leaving it looks like David Fletcher will get the second base job for the Angels. He lacks upside but has a little pop and a little speed. He could fill a hole in AL-only leagues.
Cubs acquired RHP Brandon Kintzler from the Nationals for RHP Jhon Romero.
This deal seems like a simple trade for an extra bullpen arm, but this is Joe Maddon and the Cubs we’re talking about. Closer Brandon Morrow is on the DL and has yet to resume throwing. Pedro Strop and Steve Cishek have both seen save opportunities during Morrow’s DL trips. Kintzler could easily slide in and grab that role or at least his share of it.
Collateral Impact: The Cubs ninth inning is a situation to monitor. Strop and Cishek lose a bit of value unless roles become more certain.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) August 1, 2018
Braves acquired OF Adam Duvall from the Reds for RHPs Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler and OF Preston Tucker.
This trade may help the Braves add some power off the bench, but there is no sunny side to this in terms of fantasy. Duvall was by no means having a good season on the whole, but he did have 15 HRs and 61 RBIs. I just don’t see a path to meaningful playing time in Atlanta without an injury to one of their outfielders. Initially, it looks like he may play against left-handers with Ronald Acuna sliding over to center and Ender Inciarte taking a seat… Tucker probably gains the most value with this deal. He will initially slide right in as the starting left fielder, but once Scott Schebler comes back the Reds might like to keep rookie Mason Williams in the mix.
Indians acquired OF Leonys Martin and RHP Kyle Dowdy from the Tigers for SS Willi Castro.
I put this is in the category of having AL-only impact, but I’m not sure this deal really changes anything. Cleveland has a better lineup, but Martin likely had the best part of his season and has struggled as of late.
Collateral Impact: Martin’s arrival will likely take at-bats, and by extension stolen bases, away from Rajai Davis. Jacoby Jones will likely man centerfield in Detroit, but I’m not sure his average is worth the handful of stolen bases you’ll get even in AL leagues.
Yankees acquired RHP Lance Lynn and cash considerations from the Twins for 1B/OF Tyler Austin and RHP Jose Rijo.
Some combination of Lynn, J.A. Happ, and Sonny Gray will fill out the 4-5 slots in the Yankee rotation. With news that Happ has hand, foot, and moth disease, Lynn may grab a start or two, but then he most likely slides to the pen.
Pirates acquired RHP Keone Kela from the Rangers for LHP Taylor Hearn and a player to be named later.
And another cheap source of saves bites the dust. Kela won’t sniff the closing job in Pittsburgh and his pedestrian peripherals mean he’s not good for much other than a few holds.
Collateral Impact: I guess we have to try and figure out who gets the ninth inning in Texas. With Jake Diekman also gone, the two favorites are Alex Claudio and Jose Leclerc. Claudio was solid in the role last year but has a 4.53 ERA and 4.93 K/9 this year. Leclerc has the better stuff and numbers, with a 2.27 ERA (3.42 xFIP) and 12.71 K/9. If you want to throw a dart Leclerc offers more upside.
Mariners acquired OF Cameron Maybin from the Marlins for INF Bryson Brigman and international slot money.
Not many people are going to pay this trade much attention, but Maybin could have some deep-league value in Seattle. Maybin has struggled in a part-time role in Miami, but it was just last year when he hit 10 homers and stole 33 bases in just 114 games. It’s not like Guillermo Heredia and his .229 average with four homers and one stolen base are a huge obstacle. There’s no guarantee here, but a waiver wire grab could get deep-league AL owners double-digit steals over the next few months.
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