The fantasy impact of MLB trades

BY foxsports • July 23, 2012

Led by John Halpin, the fantasy department will update this page with the latest verified MLB trades and how the deals impact your fantasy baseball roster the rest of the season and, in some cases, beyond.

Cubs trade SP Ryan Dempster to Rangers for 3B Christian Villanueva and SP Kyle Hendricks

Finally! Dempster switches leagues, and while he’s not nearly as good as Zack Greinke, AL-only owners should make healthy FAAB bids on him. He really will be the last good starter to enter the league.

Unfortunately, the league switch and the Ballpark at Arlington won’t help Dempster. He’s good, but not an ace. His .242 BABIP and high (84%) LOB percentage hint at a lot of luck this season. Over the final two months, look for Dempster’s ERA to be closer to 4.00 than its current 2.25. He’s certainly still rosterable in standard mixed leagues, but his fantasy value will probably take a hit.

Dempster joins Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Roy Oswalt in the Rangers’ rotation. Scott Feldman appears to get bumped, and Alexi Ogando stays in the bullpen. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweeted after the deal that Feldman should get the final rotation slot over Oswalt, but I'll believe that when I see it, no matter how bad Oswalt has been.

The Cubs’ rotation is now Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and a bunch of TBD. Casey Coleman gets tonight’s start, but he’s not much of a prospect, and figure that Chris Volstad gets the remaining rotation slot. Remember that your team is rebuilding, Cubs fans, because the next two months will be ugly.

Villanueva, 21, is batting .285 with 10 homers, nine steals and a .777 OPS at High A ball. Check out this FanGraphs profile from January for a look at the interesting Villanueva. In it, he's compared favorably to Braves OF Martin Prado, and that's not bad for a low minor leaguer. - John Halpin

Pirates trade 1B/3B Casey McGehee to Yankees for Chad Qualls

For this week, McGehee could get some time at first base for the Yanks, as Mark Teixeira (wrist) won’t play until at least Friday. If Teixeira returns on time, McGehee figures to be part of a platoon with Eric Chavez (and maybe Jayson Nix) at third base while Alex Rodriguez is out.

In Pittsburgh, first base now belongs to Garrett Jones. No more platooning for him, his solid power and his sub-.300 batting average.(Editor's note: Not so fast, Mr. Halpin. Gaby Sanchez, sent over from Miami Tuesday afternoon, will take some ABs at first.)

Royals trade RP Jonathan Broxton to Reds for SP J.C. Sulbaran

Broxton goes from being a closer in Kansas City to a setup guy in Cincy. His fantasy value just went out the window. Waive him if you have him, unless you’re in a keeper league and hope that he’ll succeed ace starter Aroldis Chapman in 2013.

Broxton’s departure from KC leaves Greg Holland and Aaron Crow as the closer candidates. Until the Royals announce their plans, I’ll lean toward Holland (owned in 1.7 percent of leagues) over Crow (0.8 percent owned), as Holland has a terrific K rate and has been pitching really well after a slow start this season. It’s a tough call, though. Do the right thing, Ned Yost.

Sulbaran is a 22-year-old righty with a 4.04 ERA and more than a whiff per inning at Double A. He appears to be just a so-so prospect. - John Halpin

Phillies trade OF Hunter Pence to Giants for C Tommy Joseph, OF Nate Schierholtz and RP Seth Rosin.

Pence projects to play right field for the Giants, with Gregor Blanco losing just about all his playing time unless he makes some spot starts in place of Angel Pagan.

The Phillies’ outfield now consists of Schierholtz, Juan Pierre, John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown. We’ll update this post later if the Phillies announce any specific plans for moving forward, but look for Nix and Brown to gain value in NL-only leagues. Schierholtz could be mildly intriguing if the Phils let him play, but his value shouldn’t change too much.

Joseph is a slugging, 21-year-old Double-A catcher with 46 homers in his last two-and-a-half minor-league seasons. He apparently kills lefties but struggles against righties, and he’ll have to work on that. Still, Joseph’s power makes him interesting for keeper leagues, and he’s regarded as a good defensive catcher as well. Carlos Ruiz is 33 years old, you know.

Rosin is 2-1 with 10 saves at High-A ball this season.  He's struck out 68 batters in 56 1/3 IP (10.86 K9 rate).

Phillies trade OF Shane Victorino to Dodgers for RP Josh Lindblom and SP Ethan Martin

Victorino heads to the West Coast Yankees, er, Dodgers, to become the everyday left fielder. Tony Gwynn Jr. and Bobby Abreu will have their part-time roles reduced to pinch-hitting roles.

In Philly, perennial prospect Domonic Brown was reportedly scratched from his Triple A lineup on Tuesday. If he’s coming up, you have to think it’s to play rather than to sit behind John Mayberry (and the Phils might not be done dealing). Brown has heated up in June and July after a slow start, and is batting .286 overall with five homers, four steals and a .767 OPS in 60 games. This is probably Brown’s last chance with the Phillies, and he’s worth a pickup in NL-only leagues.

Lindblom has a 3.02 ERA for the Dodgers this season, with 47 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. His setup role doesn’t project to change unless Jonathan Papelbon and a few other Phillie relievers get hit by a bus, but if your league counts holds, he could still be OK.

The 23-year-old Martin has a 3.58 ERA at Double A, and could turn into a decent starter if he cuts down on his walks. His NL-only keeper value doesn't really change with this deal.

Blue Jays trade OF Eric Thames to Mariners for RP Steve Delabar

Try to ignore the ridiculous batting averages that Thames posted at Triple-A Las Vegas this season (.330) and last (.352). EVERYONE hits there. In 95 games with the Jays in 2011, Thames batted .262 with 12 homers and a .769 OPS. He heads to Seattle, with Carlos Peguero going to the minors, and isn’t a bad AL-only target if you have a weak or empty roster spot. Thames won't be a star, but he might help you a bit this season.

Delabar throws really hard and has whiffed 46 batters in 36 2/3 innings this season, but he’s also allowed nine homers. He’s no more than a middleman for the Jays.

Cubs trade SP Paul Maholm and OF Reed Johnson to Braves for SPs Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman

Maholm steps into the Braves’ rotation, with Kris Medlen probably heading back to the bullpen. Johnson will serve as an outfield backup.

Vizcaino is the prize for the Cubs. He’s out for the season after having Tommy John surgery, but is is a very talented prospect and still just 21. Even if he becomes a reliever, he could be a good one.

Maholm’s replacement in the Cubs’ rotation is TBD; more moves could be coming. - John Halpin

Cubs trade C Geovany Soto to Rangers for SP Jake Brigham

Soto is expected to back up Mike Napoli for the Rangers, and that will make Yorvit Torrealba expendable. If Soto remembers how to hit, there’s a chance he could get decent time behind the plate, with Napoli spending extra time at first base. Watch your back, Mitch Moreland.

Steve Clevenger becomes either the Cubs’ starting catcher or the busier half of a platoon with Wellington Castillo. Clevenger could have some NL-only value due to increased playing time alone, but he doesn’t hit much.

Brigham has a 4.50 ERA along with a strong strikeout rate at Double A. Don’t get too excited about him from a fantasy perspective. - John Halpin

Blue Jays trade OF Travis Snider to Pirates for RP Brad Lincoln

The Pirates’ website says that Snider (16 HR between Triple A and the majors this season) will become the team’s right fielder. NL-only owners should pounce on the 24-year-old Snider. He’s been more potential than performance in his career so far, but his upside is very interesting. You probably won’t find a better free player in an NL-only league.

As for the rest of the fallout in Pittsburgh, here’s a quote directly from the team’s website: “Garrett Jones, the primary right fielder since Jose Tabata was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, figures to see more action at first base, cutting into Casey McGehee's playing time. Alex Presley, who has started at two positions (left and right) that now belong to others, could be viewed in the short term as an ideal fourth outfielder.”

In Toronto, with Snider and Eric Thames traded on Monday, Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose figure to start in the outfield corners until Jose Bautista comes off the DL. When Bautista returns, I wonder if Gose and Davis will platoon in left field. Neither guy hits much, but there aren’t a lot of alternatives. Yan Gomes replaced Snider in left field Monday night, but that move was probably due to no other available outfielders on the bench.

Despite an injury-depleted rotation, the Jays’ website reports that Lincoln is ticketed for a bullpen job. - John Halpin

Twins trade SP Francisco Liriano to White Sox for SS Eduardo Escobar and SP Pedro Hernandez

Liriano is a tease – sometimes dominant, other times infuriating. He’s been more good than bad over the past couple of months, so I’m still on board with giving him a chance on any fantasy roster.

Liriano’s new ballpark in Chicago won’t be as friendly as Target Field, but his new pitching coach (Don Cooper) has worked miracles with others. I think Liriano’s fantasy value improves slightly as a result of this deal. Liriano is owned in just 27 percent of leagues, so grab him if you can.

The White Sox already have five starters – Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and Philip Humber – and GM Kenny Williams hinted Sunday that Liriano’s presence might give the team a chance to rest Sale and Quintana occasionally. This situation appears fluid, so stay tuned. It doesn’t appear that anyone will get sent to the bullpen or Triple A, at least for now. Six-man rotations usually don’t last long, though, and Floyd’s name has popped up in some trade rumors.

Brian Duensing started in Liriano’s place for the Twins on Sunday, and allowed one run in six innings. After that performance, Duensing should get another chance to start, no matter how mediocre he is.

Escobar is an all-glove shortstop who’s headed to Triple A, while Hernandez is a lefty that throws strikes, but isn’t especially exciting otherwise. Zzz. – John Halpin

Brewers trade C George Kottaras to A’s for RP Fautino De Los Santos

Kottaras heads to a squad that already has Kurt Suzuki and rookie Derek Norris, so something has to give. The 29-year-old walks enough to be a Moneyball posterboy, and though he has a .221 career batting average, he has 18 homers in 501 major league at bats. Kottaras isn’t great, but I can see picking him up in certain AL-only circumstances. He could become the lefty (and therefore busier) half of a catching platoon in Oakland, as long as his defense isn’t awful.

I had De Los Santos pegged as a sleeper closer candidate before the season started. Then he got knocked around in a few early appearances and was sent to Triple A, where he has posted a 7.25 ERA. De Los Santos has a live arm along with an excellent minor-league K rate, and could be an NL-only sleeper if he makes the Brew Crew’s roster next season. – John Halpin

Astros trade 3B Chris Johnson to Diamondbacks for OFs Mark Krauss and Bobby Borchering

Johnson’s fantasy value doesn’t really change as a result of this deal. His mediocre bat simply moves from one NL team to another. Ho-hum.

The Astros’ plans for third base are unclear. They started Scott Moore there on Sunday, when they also called up Brett Wallace from the minors. They have Matt Dominguez (acquired in the Carlos Lee trade) at Triple A, and roster Matt Downs as well. Fortunately, you won’t be missing out on much if you avoid these guys until the Astros figure out what to do at the hot corner.

The 24-year-old Krauss is batting .280 with 15 homers at Double A this season. Borchering is a 21-year-old switch hitter with big power and a big strikeout rate. He’s in Double A now, and could be worth an AL-only minor-league keeper pick next season. – John Halpin

Brewers trade Zack Greinke to Angels for SS Jean Segura, SP John Hellweg and SP Ariel Pena

Last week, I wrote the following about Anibal Sanchez:

“AL-only owners considering a decent-sized FAAB bid on Sanchez should make it, as waiting for a potential Zack Greinke/Matt Garza/Ryan Dempster trade will be a crapshoot. There’s probably a 50-50 chance that Sanchez will be the best starter to enter the AL before July 31.”

So, um … scratch that. AL-only owners should blow out their FAAB budgets on Greinke, even if the Rangers might still make a move for a starter. Greinke mixed-league owners with any worries about his league switch should know that FanGraphs has the Angels ranked as baseball’s second-best defensive team (by UZR), while the Brewers rank 21st. Greinke is a stud, regardless of where he pitches.

Greinke is scheduled to start for the Angels on Sunday, with the struggling Ervin Santana still probable for Tuesday. Garrett Richards will probably need more Santana disasters – which are always possible – to get back in the Angels’ stacked rotation.

The Brewers’ website reports that Mark Rogers (4.72 ERA at Triple A) will take Greinke’s rotation slot beginning Sunday. The 26-year-old Rogers has had his career interrupted by surgeries for a shoulder injury and carpal tunnel syndrome, but he’s been pitching well lately, with a 0.95 ERA and 20 strikeouts against five walks in his last three starts. Still, he’s a shaky proposition, even in NL-only leagues.

The Brewers have sent all three of their new prospects to Double-A Huntsville. The prize is the 22-year-old Segura, who’s batting .294 with seven homers and 33 stolen bases at Double A this season. Some prospect watchers think Segura might become a second baseman eventually, and though you might see him in Milwaukee this September, he won’t be a regular until sometime next season. NL keeper league owners should try to grab Segura immediately, and he’ll be worthy of mixed-league ownership if he makes the Brewers’ Opening Day roster in 2013.

Hellweg is a tall (6’9”) righty with a 3.38 ERA at Double A this season. He throws very hard with major control issues, and Baseball Prospectus says he “could be anything from a no. 2 starter to a closer to just a guy with a nice fastball, depending on how he develops.” Depending on your roster size, Hellweg is intriguing in NL keeper leagues.

Pena has a 2.99 ERA with nearly a whiff per inning at Double A this year. Nobody seems to have him pegged as anything more than a mid-rotation starter down the road. – John Halpin

Marlins trade 3B Hanley Ramirez and RP Randy Choate to Dodgers for SP Nathan Eovaldi and RP Scott McGough

Holy salary dump, Batman! The Marlins ditch the disappointing Ramirez, whose value doesn’t project to change much in his new home. However, the Dodgers’ website suggests that Ramirez will play shortstop until Dee Gordon comes off the DL in about a month, and then shift to third base. If that’s the case, Ramirez will give keeper league owners a nice bonus by qualifying at SS again in 2013.

In September, 3B Juan Uribe could lose some playing time to Ramirez, unless Don Mattingly decides that Gordon’s weak bat doesn’t need to return to the lineup. Uribe’s bat is also terrible, meaning that this could come down to a “the team is playing well, so stay the course” kind of scenario. Gordon’s September status becomes a big wildcard as a result of this deal.

With Ted Lilly expected to return soon – 2-3 weeks, maybe? – any other replacement for Eovaldi in the Dodgers’ rotation will be a short-term one. The Marlins’ immediate plans are unclear, but it’s easy to see Eovaldi sliding into Anibal Sanchez’s recently vacated rotation slot. Eovaldi doesn’t project as a stud, but he’s a solid keeper league target, especially in NL-only leagues. For the rest of 2012, he probably won’t help you much in any format. McGough is a hard-throwing A-ball reliever whose future is very uncertain.

In Miami, there’s nobody of note to replace Ramirez at third base. Greg Dobbs? Blech. - John Halpin

Astros trade SP Wandy Rodriguez to Pirates for OF Robbie Grossman, SP Rudy Owens and SP Colton Cain

Rodriguez’s strikeout rate is down this season, but so is his walk rate, and his 3.79 ERA isn’t far off its usual level. Fielding metrics rate the Pirates as a better defensive team than the Astros, but overall don’t look for Rodriguez’s value to change much. The Bucs Dugout site suggests that Rodriguez will replace Kevin Correia in the Pirates’ rotation.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Armando Galarraga was removed from his Tuesday Triple-A start after three innings, and that’s a strong hint he’ll replace Rodriguez in the Astros’ rotation. Zzz …

The left-handed Owens has a 3.14 ERA in Triple A this season, and could pitch for the Astros before the year is out. He reportedly doesn’t throw hard, but throws strikes. Cain is a 21-year-old fellow southpaw who’s got a 4.20 ERA in high-A ball. He’s far away, not that talented, and shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar.

Grossman (seven HR, nine SB, .783 OPS at Double A) is the most intriguing prospect headed to Houston. He walks a lot, and while he doesn’t project as a big-time player, his modest power-speed skillset should help fantasy owners down the road. You might not see Grossman in Houston until the middle of 2013, though. - John Halpin

Diamondbacks trade IF Ryan Roberts to Rays for IF Tyler Bortnick

Just a brief note here about Roberts, whose infield versatility is added to a roster that already has a bunch of versatile infielders (Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson, Jeff Keppinger). Roberts figures to be a backup, but he has a little speed and a little pop that could be helpful in AL-only leagues. Try to watch the Rays’ lineups this week to see how they use Roberts. - John Halpin

Mariners trade OF Ichiro Suzuki to Yankees for RHPs D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar

Ichiro is a Yankee! Thank goodness that team will finally get some media attention.

The 38-year-old Ichiro is in the midst of his worst season as a major leaguer, batting .261 with 15 stolen bases and a .642 OPS. Both the move to Yankee Stadium and his new lineup should help his stats a bit, but unless you believe that he’ll be rejuvenated as a result of the deal – and that’s guesswork – Ichiro shouldn’t have too much more fantasy value than he had in Seattle. In fact, due to the Yanks’ crowded outfield/DH slots, he might sit occasionally, and that could cancel out the team/ballpark benefits.

Yankee OF/DHs Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez could lose at bats in the wake of this trade, so if you own either player in an AL-only league, hold on but prepare for a slight decline; as the righty, Jones’ playing time will suffer more. An Ibanez/Jones DH platoon sounds like a good idea until you consider that Alex Rodriguez needs to occupy that role a couple of times each week. It’s a good thing the Yankees will be free of A-Rod’s contract after paying him only another $125 million over the next five-plus seasons.

The trade appears to cement everyday roles for Casper Wells and Carlos Peguero as the corner outfielders in Seattle, at least until Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) comes off the DL. Peguero’s (18 HR at Triple A this season) AL-only value improves, but he could fall flat on his face due to a titanic strikeout rate that makes Adam Dunn look like a contact hitter. If you need power, grab Peguero and cross your fingers.

Wells just might power his way into deep mixed league consideration – he’s been playing regularly over the past month, and now there’s one less threat to his job security if he slumps a little. Wells has hit 13 homers in 86 games as a Mariner since being acquired from Detroit last season, which isn't bad. I’m a fan.

As for the new M’s, the 25-year-old Mitchell is just an OK prospect, while Farquhar is pretty much a non-entity. There’s no need to pick up either player in any format. - John Halpin

Marlins trade SP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante to Tigers for SP Jacob Turner, C Rob Brantly and LHP Brian Flynn

The Marlins are selling? I thought they only did that after winning World Series titles.

Sanchez (3.94 ERA/1.26 WHIP/110K vs. 33 BB in 121 IP) is a pretty good starter, and though the move to the AL should hurt his strikeout rate a bit, his ERA has suffered from some bad BABIP luck, so look for his numbers to stay in the same range. AL-only owners considering a decent-sized FAAB bid on a starter should make it on Sanchez, as waiting for a potential Zack Greinke/Matt Garza/Ryan Dempster trade will be a crapshoot. There’s probably a 50-50 chance that Sanchez will be the best starter to enter the AL before July 31.

The Tigers’ rotation now includes Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. When lefty Drew Smyly comes off the DL, he won’t be starting anymore.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Infante will play second base and “bat second against left-handed starters and in the bottom half of the order against right-handers.” Infante is batting .287 with eight homers and 10 stolen bases this season, but he hit six of the homers and swiped seven of the bases before June 1, and has since settled closer to his career norms. If Infante is a free pickup for you in a deep mixed or AL-only format, that's OK, but don’t spend a high-priority waiver claim or much FAAB money on him. Infante’s arrival makes Ramon Santiago a utilityman, and therefore useless for fantasy owners.

On Monday, the Marlins started Emilio Bonifacio at second base – where he’ll probably stay – and Austin Kearns in right field. When Giancarlo Stanton comes off the DL in August, it seems likely that Justin Ruggiano will be the full-time center fielder, flanked by Stanton and Logan Morrison. Thanks to Bonifacio’s versatility, Ruggiano becomes a more stable fantasy option for deep mixed league owners.

The 21-year-old Turner has struggled in six major league starts between 2011 and 2012, and owns more potential than performance at this point, but most observers think he has a very bright future - think No. 2 starter. NL-only keeper owners should grab Turner, as he’s headed to Triple A, where he can’t hurt you now. The unexciting Wade LeBlanc is expected to take Sanchez’s rotation slot, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Brantly has three homers between Double A and Triple A this season, and his so-so offensive potential probably isn’t worth your time in most keeper leagues. The 22-year-old Flynn didn’t knock anyone’s socks off in A ball earlier this year, and he’s far away from the majors. Pass on him as well. - John Halpin

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