Well that was a drag. On the other hand, all indications were this would be a quiet July 31 trading deadline. As a result the advent of the second wild card, and the general bunching of the standings, a whopping 16 of the 30 team are within seven games of a playoff spot. Still though, that’s 14 teams that should have been sellers. Of course there will still be some deals (Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Kevin Gregg and Josh Willingham are all likely to clear waivers and are candidates to be moved). There will be others.
There are no doubt articles all over the Internet discussing the deals and how it helps or hurts the involved parties. I’m going to take a slightly different tact and talk about some players that were not directly involved but have their status influenced positively or negatively.
The entire Detroit Tiger pitching staff, but most notably ground ball specialists Rick Porcello and Doug Fister are elated. When it comes to picking it, Jose Iglesias is the real deal. He’s prone to shaping up some routine plays, but he still makes them along with the more difficult chances. I’ll let everyone else harp on the inflated batting average and the advice not to pick up Iglesias now that he has a full-time gig. Instead, my suggestion is to see is Rick Porcello is available and make a play for Doug Fister.
Sticking with Detroit, Matt Tuiasosopo is all but assured of the right-handed portion of the left field platoon now that Avisail Garcia was dealt to the Chicago White Sox. Tuiasosopo is quietly sporting a slash line of .301/.419/.573. Granted, he’s only been to the dish 124 times and his numbers are boosted by a high BABIP, but if you’re in a league with daily moves or if you play in the daily games, especially at home, Tuiasosopo is a viable option when a southpaw is on the mound.
I’ve talked about his before in this space but Cleveland’s Chad Allen has his stock further solidified as next-in-line for the Tribe. One of the under the radar moves was St. Louis shipping Mark Rzepczynski to the Indians. Granted, Rzepczynski is best suited as a lefty specialist but he has had success facing righties. The real impact is in order to clear a roster spot, Vinnie Pestano was sent to Triple-A despite seemingly getting his act together the past few appearances. Still, the fact that the club opted to send Pestano down is a demonstration of their confidence in Allen. If I am in a keeper league and rebuilding, I’m looking to get Allen for next season.
Even if he doesn’t get called up until September or even at all, long-term Boston’s Xander Bogaerts benefits since there is no doubt he’ll be a shortstop as opposed to following the path of Manny Machado and switching to the hot corner. The early word is he will return to shortstop at Triple-A Pawtucket but still occasionally slide over and play the odd game at third, just in case. For those wondering why Brock Holt was called up and not Will Middlebrooks, Middlebrooks still needs to work on his on-base skills. His walk rate is still too low and he’s not making enough contact to warrant a call-up. He’s getting closer, but instead of rushing him back, the Red Sox want to make sure he’s ready next time through the bigs. Plus, they still could be looking at someone like the recently released Brandon Inge or even Michael Young, though the Yankees get first dibs from the waiver wire, if he even makes it out of the National League without being claimed.
The white Sox have tabbed Andre Rienzo to take Jake Peavy’s rotation spot. Granted, U.S. Cellular Field is a difficult venue in which to pitch, but Rienzo’s fanned 113 hitters in 113 Triple-A innings at Charlotte previous to being called up. Also promising is the fact he only surrendered seven homers over that span. In deep AL formats, the 25-year old righty is worth a look.
With Justin Maxwell out of the picture in Houston, Robbie Grossman, along with Brandon Barnes and to a lesser extent, Mark Krauss will get an extend audition looking towards 2014. Grossman’s first foray in the bigs played to mixed reviews. He displayed excellent plate discipline, but it didn’t translate well to contact. I’m not particularly high on Grossman but if he is able to cut down on the whiffs, he could help a little in steals, though beware if you use net steals or take points away for caught stealing, Grossman’s success rate is pretty poor. Barnes is making a name for himself chasing balls down in center field, but he too doesn’t take enough walks while striking out too much. But, in deep leagues at bats are currency so he’ll help your counting stats, albeit at the expense of average.
Speaking of Maxwell, someone coming out on the losing end of the deals is David Lough, who is now to lose at bats to Maxwell, though since Lough swings from the left side, he’ll still be in the lineup most days. Just beware if you were using him as an everyday player, his production will drop a tad.
With Ian Kennedy moved to San Diego, It appears Randall Delgado and not Tyler Skaggs will assume the fifth starter spot in Arizona. Brandon McCarthy is retuning this week with Trevor Cahill soon to follow. There’s a good chance we haven’t seen the last of Skaggs since McCarthy’s history is to pitch pretty well between injuries. Delgado has looked sharper of late and could be worth a look.
The addition of Bud Norris to the Baltimore rotation means Zack Britton and Kevin Gausman will spend the rest of the season in the minors. Either Jason Hammel or Miguel Gonzalez will be the odd man out when/if Hammel returns from the disabled list.
If you picked up Boston’s Brandon Workman for his two-start week, you’re half-disappointed as he’s shifting to the bullpen.
Oakland’s acquisition of Alberto Callaspo will cost Jed Lowrie some at bats, but let’s be honest. He’s already surpassed his career high so you can’t be too upset. Plus it’s Jed Lowrie. Josh Donaldson may also get a break now and again.
Finally, for those in real deep leagues where Luis Valbuena is a factor, yes, they exits, beware the Cubs are likely to give Mike Olt some playing time. As you recall, Olt was the main catch in the Matt Garza deal and Chicago is hoping he will fill the black hole at third that has existed since Aramis Ramirez left the North Side.
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I’d like to piggy-back on last week’s trade dissertation and finish with a couple thoughts on late-season trading. This is another pet peeve of mine and an area where I see many owners making mistakes.
We’re at the point of the season where you should be looking at trades with blinders to the names. Right now, it’s all about the stats. Who cares about arbitrary value on paper. What matters is the impact on you roster – will the deal yield a net gain of roto points? If yes, it is a fair and equitable deal, regardless of the names. It’s not about value as compared to the rest of the pool, it’s completely about the intrinsic value to your team.
Don’t worry about fair in terms of perceived value. Focus on the categories.
Speaking of which, another common misconception is if right now, you have 10 more homers, you’d have two more points so making a deal to add a player expected to give you a net gain of 10 homers should get you 2 points. Here’s the problem. All things being equal, that 10 homer gap is really 15 if you prorate it to the end of the season. As such, if you want to capture those two points, you need to add 15, not 10 more dingers.
Here’s a final point regarding trading and category management. The axiom is trade from strength to improve weakness. The implication being to deal from a category you have a lot of points to improve one where you’re near the bottom. The fallacy here is the focus should be improving categories where you can gain the most points, regardless of your stead within the category at the expense of categories you can lose the least. If you’re near the bottom on steals and there is a large gap to the next group, instead of dealing for a speedster or two, weakening other areas, consider trading away steals to fortify several categories. It’s all about maximizing points.
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