Norris stays in the American League, and his fantasy value stays pretty much the same. Jason Hammel, it appears that your team has finally had enough of your 5.20 ERA. (UPDATE: Hammel has been placed on the DL.)
The Astros get high-OBP OF L.J. Hoes and A-ball SP Josh Hader. Hoes might get some playing time in the subpar Houston outfield, but that doesn’t mean he brings anything to the table for fantasy owners – even AL-only ones.
Justin Maxwell to the Royals
The Astros traded OF Justin Maxwell to the Royals, where he’ll probably be a part-time player/complement to RF David Lough. Maxwell’s AL-only value takes a hit here, but it’s not like he was helping anyone that much.
The possible fantasy upside in Houston would be the promotion of George Springer, who has 29 home runs with 35 stolen bases in the minors this season, along with a ridiculous 1.148 OPS in 31 games at Triple A. Stay tuned, because Springer’s callup might be the most exciting thing to happen to fantasy owners this week.
Ian Kennedy to the Padres
Interesting deal for the Padres, who buy low on Kennedy and his 5.23 ERA. Arizona’s hitter-friendly ballpark wasn’t solely responsible for Kennedy’s woes, but the move to PETCO should help, even if it isn’t the pitchers’ haven that it was before the fences were moved in. Kennedy becomes a standard league streaming target at home, and can be considered in deep mixed formats. He figures to replace Sean O’Sullivan (or an empty spot) in the Padres’ tattered rotation.
The D-backs received lefty specialist Joe Thatcher and minor-league reliever Matt Stites in exchange for Kennedy; neither should be relevant to fantasy owners. Kennedy’s rotation slot in Arizona is expected to be filled by Trevor Cahill and/or Brandon McCarthy, both of whom are close to returning from the DL. The trade makes Randall Delgado’s status more secure as well.
July 30, 2013
Jake Peavy to the Red Sox
The Red Sox, Tigers and White Sox made a three-way trade on Tuesday that sent SP Jake Peavy to Boston, SS/3B Jose Iglesias to Detroit, and OF Avisail Garcia to Chicago. Peavy is the big name, but his fantasy value doesn’t change much, if at all. The three teams will be impacted as follows:
Red Sox: Peavy joins a rotation that’s still waiting for Clay Buchholz’s return, and he’ll displace Brandon Workman. If the Sox don’t make another trade, Iglesias’ departure will be filled by Will Middlebrooks or – more interestingly – top prospect Xander Bogaerts, who is hammering minor-league pitching and was recently moved from shortstop to third base. Bogaerts is just 20 years old, so he’d probably be an AL-only play if he gets called up.
White Sox: Peavy’s rotation slot gets filled by Andre Rienzo, who pitched well in his place on Wednesday. Rienzo throws hard and misses bats, but is regarded as just an OK prospect that might become a reliever; he’s an AL-only possibility in the short term. Garcia is a solid hitting prospect with power, speed and no plate discipline. He’ll go to Triple-A Charlotte first, but could get regular playing time if there’s another trade. In that case, he’d be a good AL-only target, and a consideration in deep mixed leagues.
Tigers: Why would the Tigers trade for a slick-fielding shortstop? Probably because they think Jhonny Peralta will join the rest of Team Biogenesis in an imminent suspension; Peralta’s owners need to make contingency plans NOW. Iglesias’ once-high batting average has been coming back to Earth lately, and in an everyday role he’ll provide a decent BA (.270?) with a little bit of speed. He’s no more than an AL-only fantasy target. On the defensive side, Peralta wasn’t bad, but Iglesias’ presence could help ground ballers Doug Fister and Rick Porcello, though it’s hard to gauge how much of an impact he’ll make in the short term.
Albert Callaspo to the A’s
The A’s grabbed Callaspo to platoon with Eric Sogard at second base. As the right half of the platoon, Callaspo’s fantasy value takes a hit. The identity of the Angels’ new third baseman is a bit of a mystery. It could be prospect Grant Green, a decent hitter who they got in exchange for Callaspo. If Green gets a callup soon, he can be considered in AL-only leagues. Until that happens, Tommy Field (.297 BA, 9 HR, 5 SB, .877 OPS at Triple A) appears to be the only man on the Angels’ roster to take Callaspo’s at bats.
July 29, 2013
Jose Veras to the Tigers
Veras has 19 saves with a 2.93 ERA … and now he’s a setup man for the Tigers. Here’s what Jim Leyland said after the deal: "We have a veteran pitcher we can use in the seventh or eighth inning or if Joaquin Benoit needs a blow. Don’t put him down as a closer, but we can use him when Benoit needs a rest." So much for Veras’ fantasy value. His usefulness is now limited to AL-only leagues, if that. In shallower formats, cut him.
Jose Cisnero is Veras’ likely successor in Houston, but not a surefire lock to close. The Astros’ website named Cisnero as "a candidate to step into the closer’s role," while the Houston Chronicle said that Cisnero "is likely to be the top candidate."
However, CSNHouston.com quoted Astros GM Jeff Luhnow as saying, "It’ll be a variety of people until someone claims the job," and named lefties Travis Blackley and Wesley Wright as possibilities. Cisnero is owned in just 0.3 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, and is the best target here if you’re speculating on saves. Just don’t get your hopes too high, as he has a history of shaky control, along with a few months of big-league experience.
The Astros received 19-year-old A-ball OF Danry Vazquez and a PTBNL in exchange for Veras. Vazquez was one of the Tigers’ top 10 prospects, and appears to have some power and speed, but is also a long way off from the majors. He’s a decent prospect, not a blue chipper.
July 26, 2013
Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees
Even though the trade sending Alfonso Soriano back to the Yankees for a TBD, low-level pitching prospect isn’t done yet, he reportedly took a red-eye flight to New York on Thursday night, so let’s assume the final details will be worked out this morning. Soriano figures to play left field, and when Curtis Granderson comes off the DL – hopefully in a couple of weeks – they’ll have Soriano, Granderson, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Travis Hafner for the four outfield/DH slots. Hafner should be the odd man out on most days, and Vernon Wells projects to be a fine, full-time clubhouse dominoes partner. It’s possible that Soriano could get days off against certain righties, but they’re not getting him to be a part-timer.
AL-only owners should obviously grab Soriano if they can, and use a decent amount of their FAAB budgets (maybe 50 percent?) to do it if necessary at this point of the season. Despite flaws as a hitter – he never walks, and has a .287 on-base percentage – Soriano has 17 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Not great, but solid.
For the Cubs, the regular outfield looks like David DeJesus, Junior Lake and Nate Schierholtz, but Cole Gillespie could be part of the mix as well, especially if DeJesus gets traded. Lake had pretty much assumed DeJesus’s spot before DeJesus came off the DL on Tuesday, so not much changes here.
July 22, 2013
Matt Garza to the Rangers
The first big deal before the MLB trade deadline – and perhaps the biggest deal of all – happened today when the Cubs traded SP Matt Garza to the Rangers for three prospects: 1B/3B Mike Olt, SP C.J. Edwards and SP Justin Grimm.
Garza steps into a Ranger rotation that will probably include him, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis when everyone is healthy. Until Lewis and Harrison are ready to return – which could be early August – Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando are likely to hold down their rotation slots (and Nick Tepesch ready to fill in when he comes off the DL). Ogando figures to be the first man to the bullpen when rotation reinforcements arrive.
Garza is a pretty good pitcher, but his strikeout rate is slightly above average, and his career ERA is 3.80. AL-only owners shouldn’t expect an ace, but they should spend the bulk of their remaining FAAB budgets on Garza, as he’s likely to be the best player entering the league this month. I think any Giancarlo Stanton trade talk is a pipe dream, (but I’m also the guy who kept telling you to draft – and hold – Ryan Braun). Garza owners in mixed leagues shouldn’t expect a significant change in his fantasy value.
As for the prospects:
Olt is a power-hitting third baseman who will turn 25 in August. He strikes out A LOT, but has plenty of power, with 11 homers in 67 minor-league games this year, and 28 homers in 95 Double-A games last season. Olt had some vision problems that seemed to affect him earlier this season, and he’s been better lately, but he’s hitting just .207. NL-only owners should expect to see him in Chicago soon, but he’s more of a so-so keeper league target than anything else.
Edwards is a 21-year-old A-ball starter with an 8-2 record, 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. He wasn’t a big name on prospect lists until this season, but he has come on strong. If all goes (very) well, Edwards could arrive in Chicago in late 2014.
Grimm will be 25 next month. He’s nothing special, but he’s not as bad as his current 6.37 ERA in 17 starts with the Rangers would suggest. In NL-only leagues, Grimm will be an SP4/SP5 next season.
Bleed Cubbie Blue offers a quick look here at Olt, Edwards and Grimm.