Yesterday’s trade that sent RHP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney to Boston in exchange for OF Josh Reddick, 3B Miles Head and P Raul Alcantara has far more of a fantasy impact than just the players involved in the deal.
Let’s take a look at how each team is affected and ultimately who the winners and losers are.
From the A’s perspective, the deal more or less is what it is on the surface. They clearly have moved into a rebuilding mode, having now sent Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez packing this offseason.
The prize of this deal for them is clearly Reddick, who had been penciled in as a starter for the Red Sox.
In 254 AB in 2011, he hit .280 with 7 HR, 28 RBI and 41 R. The numbers came courtesy of a believable .318 BABIP and 18.0 percent strikeout rate.
The 24-year old (he will turn 25 prior to the start of the 2012 season) has shown considerably more power in the minor leagues, particularly at Triple-A. In 713 AB at Triple-A he has hit 32 HR, spiking in 2011 (14 HR in 191 AB).
While the move to Oakland hurts in regards to his home ballpark, it will help in regards to his opportunity. The A’s lineup is completely wide open, so there is a good chance that Reddick settles into the middle of the order.
Do we really think Kurt Suzuki or Brandon Allen is going to knock him from the spot?
While the A’s are not going to score a ton of runs, with Jemile Weeks at the top, Reddick should be given ample chances to drive in runs. He is looking like a solid choice in all five-outfielder formats, especially at the price you should be able to get him at.
The other issue, of course, is who will step in as the A’s new closer. Grant Balfour, Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine have been mentioned as the likely candidates, and it makes sense.
Balfour would figure to get the first crack at closing out games, but he is 34 years old and not the long-term answer. Maybe the A’s try to further build his trade value by giving him the job in April and May, but I would be surprised if he finished the season in that capacity.
Enter De Los Santos, who posted an 11.61 K/9 over 33.1 innings in his major league debut in 2011. He needs to harness his control (4.59 BB/9), but his fastball averaged 95.8 mph, and he clearly has the stuff that translates to the back end of the bullpen. Look for him to get an opportunity at some point in 2012.
As for the other two players they acquired, they are a long way from making an impact in fantasy formats.
In 753 AB, Head has hit .274 with 23 HR and 117 RBI. However, the former 26th-round draft pick has yet to reach Double-A. With Will Middlebrook ahead of him in Boston, he clearly was expendable.
Alcantara made his professional debut in 2011, making nine starts in Rookie Ball and four starts at Low Single-A. He posted 50 K in 65.1 innings, but it is impossible to draw any conclusions at this point.
Obviously Andrew Bailey solidifies the bullpen, along with the previous acquisition of Mark Melancon (who will now clearly fill a setup role).
We can break down what he will do closing out games, but we already know that he is among the better closers in the league (when healthy) and should get ample opportunities.
As for as the RF situation, it all depends on if the Red Sox view Sweeney as a starter or not. Could he assume a starting role? Possibly, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team bring in someone like a Cody Ross to fill the role.
The biggest aspect of this trade actually comes in the Red Sox rotation. We had heard rumblings that the team could transition Daniel Bard to the rotation and now, with a reinforced bullpen in place, it seems like a certainty. His candidacy as a fantasy starting pitcher deserves a lot more time to delve into (which we will do in the coming weeks).
He did struggle in the lower minors as a starting pitcher, struggling mightily with his control and also to generate strikeouts. It’s something that will need to be monitored early in the spring.
Still, he is going to get the opportunity and that is all anyone could ask for. The same thing could be said for Alfredo Aceves, though he has more of a track record of starting.
Josh Reddick will have the opportunity to hit in the middle of a major league lineup and thus becomes a very productive option.
Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves both (as of now) appear likely to enter the Red Sox rotation.
While the Red Sox may blow some opponents out, Andrew Bailey should receive more than enough opportunities for saves.
While Fautino De Los Santos may not open the year as the A’s closer, I would be surprised if he wasn’t given a chance by year’s end. With his strikeout stuff, he could be nasty in the ninth inning.
Mark Melancon goes from a closer to a setup man, meaning his fantasy value obviously plummets. I wouldn’t completely write him off, given Bailey’s injury history, but there’s a definite knock.
It’s going to be tough enough for the Oakland starting rotation to win games, but now there are question marks at the back of the bullpen as well. Would it be surprising to see some blown saves?
Who do you see being the biggest winner? Who is the biggest loser?
Make sure to check out our other 2012 projections:
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