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2013 MLB Trade Deadline Rumors: Fantasy Fallout

fantasy baseball, Chase Utley
fantasy baseball, Chase Utley

Jul 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) rounds third base on his way to scoring during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With players like Ricky Nolasco, Scott Hairston, and Mitch Boggs already on the move, trade season has officially begun in Major League Baseball. The trade deadline has been known to reshape entire rosters and can make or break a player’s season. Fantasy owners need to be leery of rumors swirling around their players, a trade can change everything. The main things to watch for is who a player will replace and who will replace the departing player, the stadium dimensions at the player’s new home park, and the general team atmosphere – i.e. underachieving club like the Angels or a hot club like the Pirates.

Let’s take a quick look at players who moved in July last season and how it affected their seasons.

The Good:

Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez was sent to the Dodgers in return for Nate Eovaldi. After putting up a .246 BA and 48 RBI in 93 games for a deflated Miami club, Ramirez had a resurgence and batted .271 with 10 HR, 44 RBI, 30 R, 23 XBH, and seven steals over 64 games for LA.

Marco Scutaro: A mediocre journeyman throughout his career, Scutaro was dealt by Colorado to the Giants for a minor leaguer. After batting .271 with 23 XBH, 30 RBI, and 47 games over 95 games for the Rockies, Scutaro became an All-Star level infielder batting .362 with 20 XBH, 44 RBI, and 40 R in just 61 games for the Giants and becoming a playoff hero in the NLCS.

Jeremy Guthrie: Guthrie was traded by Colorado to the Royals for an equally disappointing Jonathan Sanchez. After going 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 19 games for the Rockies, he would go 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 56 K in 91 IP for the Royals.

Ichiro: Ichiro was all but done before the Mariners traded him to the Yankees for a couple minor leaguers. After batting .261 with 24 XBH, 28 RBI, 49 R, and 15 SB over 95 games for Seattle, Ichiro would bat .322 with 19 XBH, 27 RBI, 28 R, and 14 SB in just 67 games for the Yanks.

The Bad:

Ryan Dempster: Dempster was dominating for the Cubs, going 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 83 K/27 BB over 16 games, before being sent to hitter-friendly Texas. In 12 games with the Rangers, Dempster put up a 5.09 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 70 K/25 BB.

Hunter Pence: Pence was raking for the Phils, owning a .271 BA with 17 HR, 59 RBI, and 59 R over 101 games. After moving to the Giants, his power stayed around the same but after putting up a .271/.336/.447 line for the Phils, he put up just a .219/.287/.384 in 59 games for the Giants.

Shane Victorino: Victorino was playing solid ball in Philly, batting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBI, 46 R, and 24 SB over 101 games. Upon landing in Los Angeles, Victorino batted .245 with two homers and 15 RBI for the Dodgers over 53 games.

The Same:

Anibal Sanchez: On the Marlins, Anibal was 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 110 K/33 BB. On the Tigers, Anibal went 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 57 K/15 BB.

Wandy Rodriguez: In Houston, Wandy was 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 89 K/32 BB. In Pittsburgh, Wandy went 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 50 K/24 BB.

Zack Greinke: In Milwaukee, Greinke was 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 122 K/28 K. In LA, Greinke went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 78 K/26 BB.

Paul Maholm: On the Cubs, Maholm was 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 81 K/34 BB. His numbers improved slightly in Atlana as he went 4-5 with a 3.54 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 59 K/19 BB.

Chris Johnson: In Houston, Johnson batted .279 with eight homers, 41 RBI, and 36 R. In Arizona, Johnson batted .286 with seven homers, 35 RBI, and 12 R.

So as you can see, trades can go either way, even with the same team. Hanley Ramirez was thrilled to end up in Los Angeles, Shane Victorino not so much. Let’s take a look at who might be going before the deadline this season and how that might affect their fantasy production.

Phillies: The Phils are by far the most discussed team this trade season, unsure if they should be buyers or sellers at 45-47. Between now and the deadline, they’ll face the lowly White Sox and Mets before running into the Cardinals and the Tigers so it will all depend on how things go during this stretch.

Assuming they are sellers, Jonathan Papelbon is the biggest piece and is being looked at by at least the Tigers and Red Sox. I personally don’t think Papelbon goes but either team would provide a healthy amount of save opportunities.

Cliff Lee would be the next biggest piece, and another guy I feel the Phils hold on to – especially since he is owed more than $70 million through 2015. Lee is 33-20 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over three seasons with the Phils compared to 26-22 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over his previous two seasons so staying in Philly may be the best thing for Lee owners.

The most likely trade candidates are Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Carlos Ruiz. The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Royals are all reportedly interested in Utley. With a .275 BA, 11 HR, 30 RBI, and 38 R, Utley is far from the player he used to be but perhaps a move out of Philly can do him some good. The Dodgers’ lineup seems like a great place for him to give it a good go.

Michael Young is very likely to be traded and has drawn interest from the Red Sox, Yankees, and the Dodgers. No longer the player he once was, his .289 BA, 25 XBH, 26 RBI, and 34 R could all see improvement in a better lineup.

Carlos Ruiz is less interesting, batting .267 with no homers and six RBI after posting a .325 BA, 16 HR, and 68 RBI last season. The Yankees desperately need a catcher though and a move to the Bombers lineup could lead to a nice upswing.

White Sox: The White Sox have already announced they’re having a firesale so there are plenty of trade candidates. The White Sox will likely (and smartly) hold on to Chris Sale. Alex Rios is the best player on the 29th offense in the league. Among the clubs looking at Rios are the Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Giants. He’s having a good season either way but a move to a better lineup could help those RBI and R numbers.

A lot of teams are looking at relievers Jesse Crain, Addison Reed, and Matt Thornton. Reed is unlikely to be traded since he’s the youngest and isn’t even eligible for arbitration yet. Crain is getting a lot of looks as a potential closer by teams like Red Sox and Tigers which would be huge for his fantasy value. On the other hand, a team like the Reds may look to add him as a set-up man. Plenty of possible takers but he’s only really valuable fantasy-wise as a closer.

Jake Peavy is healing up and could be a serious trade candidate. Peavy is 31-29 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.17 WHIP since coming to the Sox compared to a 38-23 record with a 2.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in his previous three seasons so moving out of the Windy City could do a world of good.

Alexei Ramirez signed a four-year, $32.5 million extension this off-season but is still on the trade block. The Mets are reportedly a team looking at him as a long-term shortstop option since he isn’t a deadline rental but I doubt they’ll pull off the move.

Brewers: The Brewers have been involved in talks for numerous players, the most prominent being the struggling Yovani Gallardo. The Rangers and Indians are strong candidates to acquire his services, though the Indians are on Gallardo’s no-trade list. Neither team’s stadium is particularly great to pitch in but then again, neither is Miller Park.

Once again, with plenty of teams looking for closers and relief help, Francisco Rodriguez, Jim Henderson, and John Axford are all getting looks. Henderson is very young and I doubt they trade him but the Red Sox, Tigers, Orioles, Diamondbacks, and likely other teams are all looking at the trio. Certainly if Henderson regains the closer job that would make him fantasy relevant again and if K-Rod or John Axford land in closing gigs they would be worth a pick-up.

Cubs: The Cubs are almost definitely going to move Matt Garza and has drawn interest from the Red Sox, Dodgers, Indians, Rangers, Pirates, Blue Jays, and Padres. Garza is pitching great, owning a 5-1 record with a 3.22 ERA and 1.07 WHIP so fantasy-wise a trade, even from one of the worst teams in the league, wouldn’t necessary be a welcome thing but owners should hope he winds up in a pitchers’ park like Petco (SD), Progressive Field (CLE), PNC Park (PIT), or Dodger Stadium.

The Cubs will likely look to trade outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz. The Pirates and Rangers have been linked to Schierholtz. Fantasy owners have to hope Nate lands in Texas in hopes of improving that 11 HR and 34 RBI he has on the season. The Rangers are also looking at Alfonso Soriano and once again, any move by a position player to Texas would be welcome.

Everyone Else:

The Yankees have reportedly been shopping Phil Hughes but they want a lot and he will probably stay in New York.

The Dodgers may trade Andre Ethier, though with Matt Kemp back on the DL a move no longer appears imminent. The Mets were linked to Ethier earlier this year but that seems unlikely, at least this season.

The Mariners may be open to trading the surging Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales. The Rays have reportedly inquired already and the Yankees and Rangers have been linked to Morales.

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