MLB Trade Deadline Fantasy Impact

The SportmeistersAnalyst IAugust 2, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

By Derek of The Sportmeisters

It is now August and the MLB Season is winding down. Just a little over two months to go and then we hit the playoffs. Plenty of teams are making a surge for those final playoff spots and those teams made some moves at or before yesterday’s trade deadline.

Today, I am going to discuss the fantasy implications of those deadline moves. These moves just may have a significant effect on your fantasy season, so let’s get started.

July 27th—San Francisco Giants acquire 1B/OF Ryan Garko from Cleveland Indians

Garko moves from splitting time in Cleveland to a full time starting gig in San Francisco. That definitely helps his fantasy status. He was hitting .285 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI’s with Cleveland in 239 At-Bats. He is struggling so far with San Francisco, only getting one hit in his first 12 At-Bats, but has two walks and has yet to strikeout.

He isn’t a great fantasy option, but could be someone to watch for a possible waiver wire wonder, as he is only owned in nine percent of Yahoo leagues.

July 29th—Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco from Cleveland Indians for four Minor League prospects

This was the first big trade after the Matt Holliday trade that made people start talking.

The Phillies decided that they would have to give up too much to get Toronto Ace Roy Halladay and settled on Cleveland Ace Cliff Lee. Lee’s fantasy value rises because he moves to a team that has an offense. Lee made 22 starts for Cleveland and went just 7-9, mostly due to lack of run support. 11 of those starts were games in which he allowed three runs or less and got either a no decision or a loss because his team couldn’t produce any offense.

He now goes to a team that can score runs and they proved it helping him win his first start on Friday 5-1. Lee continued to dominate, even with the change from the AL to the NL, pitching a complete game four hitter and only walking two while striking out six.

He will continue to be a must start fantasy Ace. On the other side of things, Francisco’s value is extremely hurt by this trade. He goes from being a starter to being a backup. Philadelphia has a crowded Outfield, with LF Raul Ibanez, CF Shane Victorino, and RF Jayson Werth, so Francisco will mostly be limited to pinch hitting duty with the occasional spot start.

He is no longer worth owning in any fantasy league unless someone gets injured and he gets some playing time.

July 29th—Seattle Mariners acquire SS Jack Wilson and SP Ian Snell from Pittsburgh Pirates for SS Ronny Cedeno, C/1B Jeff Clement, and three Minor League Pitchers

It’s official, the Pirates front office has no clue what they are doing, but that’s another story for another time.

Wilson steps into a much better situation in Seattle and has a bit of increased fantasy value hitting in a better lineup, but not much. He still isn’t a great fantasy option and you can find better fantasy options on the waiver wire.

However, Snell could have some fantasy value. He started the year terribly with a 2-8 record and a 5.36 ERA and was subsequently sent down to the minors in late June. He was pitching well in the minors and was called up by Seattle to start on Sunday.

If he can return to his 2006 and 2007 form where he went a combined 23-23, then he could be a nice, surprising waiver wire wonder. Cedeno and Clement have no value in Pittsburgh as Clement is in the minors and Cedeno is hitting under .200.

July 29th—San Francisco Giants acquire 2B Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh Pirates

Yet another reason why the Pirates front office has no clue how to run a franchise, but, again, that’s another story. Sanchez moves into a decent situation as San Francisco is building a decent lineup to make a playoff push. His fantasy value goes up a bit, but not much. He will still hit for average with minimal power and a few stolen bases, but nothing spectacular.

If you own him, continue to start him as his average will help your team.

July 30th—Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP George Sherrill from Baltimore Orioles for two Minor League players

This move helps the Dodgers bullpen, but destroys Sherrill’s fantasy value. He was the closer in Baltimore and was having a good year, with 20 saves and a 2.40 ERA, but now becomes Jonathan Broxton’s setup man. If your league gets points for holds, go ahead and keep him around as he will get plenty of those, with the occasional save, but, if not, you can feel free to drop him for a closer who will get you the saves.

As for Baltimore, this actually increases value for RP’s Jim Johnson, Danys Baez, Chris Ray, and even newly acquired Cla Meredith, as they will all get the chance to close games. However, none of them should be owned until they start to actually close out games.

July 31st—Detroit Tigers acquire SP Jarrod Washburn from Seattle Mariners for SP Luke French and a Minor League Pitcher

Washburn had been rumored to be on the trading block for a while now and he was finally dealt to the Tigers on Friday. He has pitched well this year and his fantasy value actually increases with this trade. He goes to a team with a better offense and a bigger ballpark, which will lead to fewer home runs allowed.

Washburn was 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA in Seattle and will pitch in between Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson next week. If he is available in your league, I would go ahead and grab him and if you own him already keep starting him and expect at least another 6 wins.

July 31st—Minnesota Twins acquire SS Orlando Cabrera from Oakland Athletics

Cabrera was a man without a home before the season started and now he is moving yet again. He was having a decent year for Oakland, hitting .280 with 41 RBI’s and 11 stolen bases. His fantasy value goes up a little because he will be hitting in front of Justin Morneau and will score more runs. He will continue to hit for average and will throw in about 10 or 15 more stolen bases, so continue to use him if you own him.

July 31st—Atlanta Braves acquire 1B Adam LaRoche from Boston Red Sox for 1B Casey Kotchman

This was one of those trades that made absolutely no sense to me.

The Red Sox just traded for LaRoche 9 days ago and they trade him for another left handed hitting First Baseman?

As much as the trade doesn’t make sense, it does have fantasy implications. LaRoche moves back into a starting role in a familiar ballpark and is known for his strong second half performances. He currently has 13 home runs and could hit at least 10 more by season’s end. If you need some power, grab him off the waiver wire, he is only owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues.

As for Kotchman, this makes him basically useless in a fantasy sense. He goes from an everyday role to a backup role, where he will be a defensive replacement and pinch hitter, with the occasional spot start. Drop him if you have him.

July 31st—Boston Red Sox acquire C/1B Victor Martinez from Cleveland Indians for SP Justin Masterson and two Minor League Pitchers

This could be a great move for the Sox, but this is terrible for fantasy owners that own players like C Jason Varitek, 3B Mike Lowell, and DH David Ortiz. With Martinez in the lineup at C that takes away Varitek’s At-Bats. With Martinez at 1B, that moves Kevin Youkilis to 3B and Lowell either to the bench or DH, in which case Ortiz goes to the bench.

Either way you aren’t dropping any of these guys until we see how Boston uses them in the lineup. Martinez’s fantasy value stays the same as he is still an elite fantasy catcher and should be started at all times. Lowell is still a good fantasy option, but watch for the time split. The same goes for Varitek and Ortiz.

July 31st—Cincinnati Reds acquire 3B Scott Rolen from Toronto Blue Jays for 3B Edwin Encarnacion, RP Josh Roenicke, and a Minor League Pitcher

This move could be good for both players, but only one is really worth owning.

Rolen has had a good season in Toronto, hitting .320 with eight home runs and 43 RBI’s. He isn’t a great fantasy option, but he is a good one. His value should stay the same in Cincinnati.

Encarnacion was having a terrible year in Cincinnati, hitting just .209 with only five home runs and 16 RBI’s. He has power potential, so watch and see how he does and he may possibly turn up on my waiver wire wonder report in the future.

July 31st—New York Yankees acquire OF/IF Jerry Hairston Jr. from Cincinnati Reds

Hairston provides the Yankees with some needed depth off the bench, but his fantasy value takes a hit. He will be a versatile backup for the Yankees, whereas he was an everyday player in Cincinnati. If you own him, feel free to dump him as he is virtually useless as a backup.

July 31st—Florida Marlins acquire 1B Nick Johnson from Washington Nationals

This is a great move by my Marlins. It adds a gold glove caliber First Baseman and a great hitter.

Johnson’s value will increase hitting behind or in between SS Hanley Ramirez and former 1B Jorge Cantu, who will be moving to 3B. However, this will hurt the value of 3B Emilio Bonifacio and 3B/OF Chris Coghlan.

Bonifacio moves from a starter to a backup utility man, who will now split time between Third Base and the Outfield and Coghlan may lose some starts in Left to Bonifacio. You can drop both, but make sure you add Johnson. He is available, only being owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues.

July 31st—Chicago White Sox acquire SP Jake Peavy from San Diego Padres for SP Clayton Richard, RP Aaron Poreda, and two Minor League Pitchers

So, I guess Peavy reconsidered and now wants to play in Chicago. The Padres tried to make this same deal back in May and Peavy declined to waive his no trade clause and voided the trade. He says that now it’s different and the Sox are contenders. The big difference is that Peavy hasn’t pitched since June 8, recovering from an ankle injury. However, when he is healthy, he is a must start fantasy Ace and remains so in Chicago.

Well Sports fans, that’s all for now. If you have any questions regarding my analysis of the Trade Deadline, please email me at


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