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Cubs Trade Alfonso Soriano to Yankees: Fantasy Baseball Impact

Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano
Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano

Jun 16, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano (12) before the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees bringing back Alfonso Soriano for prospect Corey Black, the fantasy landscape has shifted ever so slightly – just one shift in a series of moves that will reshape the rest of the fantasy season. Let’s take a look at the fantasy winners and losers of the Cubs-Yankees, Alfonso Soriano-Corey Black trade.

Winners:

Alfonso Soriano: Some will argue the Yankees lineup isn’t any better than the Cubs lineup. Maybe, but consider this; First, the Cubs lineup is only going to get worse as the selling spree continues—so if Soriano had stayed he would have certainly been part of a much worse lineup.

Second, the Yankee lineup may be rough now but it’s also a lineup adding Soriano, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and maybe even Alex Rodriguez in the next two-to-three weeks. Soriano isn’t just one late-season get, he’s one of three or four late season gets who are going to fix that miserable lineup quickly.

Third, the Yankee ballpark produces slightly better numbers. It’s a hitter friendly park and according to Baseball Reference‘s Neutralized Batting, his .262 BA, .821 OPS, 32 HR, 108 RBI, 33 2B, and 68 R at Wrigley last season would have likely produced a .269 BA, .840 OPS, 33 HR, 114 RBI, 34 2B, and 73 R at Yankee Stadium.

Don’t discount the ballpark nor the surge some guys get joining the stories Yankees franchise. Consider Ichiro last season. On the Mariners, Ichiro owned a .261/.288/.353 line with four homers, 28 RBI, 49 R, 15 2B, and 15 SB through 95 games. Upon joining the Bombers, Ichiro put up a .322/.340/.454 line with five homers, 27 RBI, 28 R, 13 2B, and 14 SB in his next 67 games.

For Soriano, this is more than joining a storied franchise, it’s a return to his first team in the Majors – one on which he put up 95 HR, 266 RBI, 319 R, 121 2B, 10 3B, and 119 SB over just three seasons.

Yankees Lineup: Everyone on the lineup benefits when a good hitter is inserted. It creates protection for the guys ahead of him and more opportunities for the guys behind him. Again, not only are the Yanks getting Soriano, they’re also getting three stars off the DL soon. Soriano along with those guys will take the pressure off of Robinson Cano and help guys like Brett Gardner and Ichiro get more runs.

Cubs Outfield: The Cubs may have lost one of their best offensive weapons but they’re obviously not going to do anything relevant this season so it makes sense to give other players the chance to play more. More so, Nate Schierholtz wins because he’s most likely the next one to go (although he’s under team control next season so maybe not), which would certainly boost his value.

Junior Lake, a recent call-up who has been on fire as the Cubs’ new everyday centerfielder and lead-off hitter and will continue to play regularly – although without too many run producers behind him.

David DeJesus figures to play every day now that he’s back from a shoulder sprain. DeJesus is batting just .261 but has a .761 OPS (his highest in three years), six homers, 21 RBI, 34 R, 16 2B, two triples, and three steals in just 207 at-bats. Had he been healthy and played full-time, that translates to 16 HR, 63 XBH, 56 RBI, 90 R, and nine steals in a 550 at-bat season.

Don’t count out Cole Gillespie and Brian Bogusevic as possible sleepers. Gillespie was a career .289 hitter as a longtime farmhand for the Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Giants. He’s shown the ability to hit 15 HR, 40 2B, 10+ 3B, 80 RBI, 100 R, and 25 SB in Triple-A and has only seen 13 plate appearances since coming from the Giants to the Cubs. Bogusevic, a former first-round pick, owned a .319/.418/.512 line with 10 HR, 32 RBI, 27 XBH, 50 R, and 16 SB in 78 Triple-A games this season before being called up. He’s currently on the DL with a hamstring strain.

Losers:

Vernon Wells/Travis Hafner: Well, they were pretty much done anyway but Soriano’s arrival is the beginning of the end for these two. Wells was already out of the outfield for the most part, replaced by unexciting prospects, but he’ll also push him and Hafner out of their sad DH platoon once Curtis Granderson returns and the Yankees have four outfielders.

Cubs Lineup: While it’s great some kids will get a chance to become relevant with Soriano and possibly Nate Schierholz and David DeJesus moving, taking Soriano and any other producer out of the lineup will certainly hurt the RBI and R stats for guys like Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and whichever outfielders Chicago keeps.

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