The final weekend before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline finished with a fizzle on Sunday in comparison to the way it began. No big names on the move, no crazy player packages being put together; just a couple of minor tweak deals. Obviously there’s still another two full days (ok, maybe just a day and a half) to go and a few key names being bandied about right now, but all still in the rumor stage and nothing actually happening. Is it the calm before the storm or have we seen the bulk of the action already? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, though, let’s look at the deals that went down yesterday.
Houston Astros trade 3B Chris Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for OF Marc Krauss and OF Bobby Borchering.
The Astros continue to glom prospects and deal off as much as what falls under the category of “not in our long-term plans” as they can. In this case, they pick up a pair of moderate Double-A prospects, each with a bit of power potential in exchange for the underhwelming Chris Johnson. I actually did a modest in-depth look at this over on FanGraphs, but the bottom line is this: It’s a lateral move, at best, for fantasy owners. Johnson isn’t going to suddenly turn into this crazy good hitter with a change of scenery and while Chase Field is a hitter’s park, it’s not as good a hitter’s park as Minute Maid was for Johnson. He’s a pull hitter who was plunking them just over the fence in a very short left field in Houston and might not see the same favorable result with the dimensions of Chase.
Prospects aside, what this does for Houston is afford them the opportunity to bring back Brett Wallace and give the youngster a legitimate shot at showing what he can do on the major league level. He may have looked a little below-average in his time spent in the bigs last season, but he’s still a work in progress and showed this season in Triple-A that he is still capable of advancing his game. If you’re looking for some extra depth at the corner, he might be worth a look if you’re in an NL-only or fairly deep mixed league.
Milwaukee Brewers trade C George Kottaras to Oakland for RHP Fautino De Los Santos
In reality, this trade has almost zero fantasy impact. So why even report it? Well, while the Derek Norris experiment continues, there are questions about Kurt Suzuki. By picking up a viable back-up catcher who actually has some upside – well, had upside – Oakland’s park is going to be terrible for him as a hitter – the A’s have given themselves the flexibility to shop around Suzuki to anyone who may be interested. There might be a few teams looking for a better back-up catcher, but even the contenders who are seemingly weak at the position, few have situations where Suzuki would be considered enough of an upgrade to part with the prospects Oakland is probably asking for in return. Not to mention the fact that the A’s would certainly have to pick up a good chunk of the $6.45M Suzuki is owed next year.
As for names to keep watch over, especially if you’re in an AL or NL-only league and fear losing a player to the trade circuit – Hunter Pence, Ryan Dempster, Chase Headley, Kevin Correia, James Shields, Joe Blanton and even Cliff Lee. Two days and counting left on trades……oh yeah….and then another month after that. Stay tuned….
As for Sunday’s highlights…
|Clayton Kershaw, LAD||9.0||5||0||0||1||7||0||0.00||0.67|
I mean, really. What do I say here about Clayton Kershaw that doesn’t make us sound like a bunch of morons to the fantasy community? He’s really good? You should make sure he’s in your active lineup? Don’t trade him unless you know that whatever deal you get is going to win you your league? Duh. It’s a no-brainer. Sure, Kershaw, like every other pitcher in the history of baseball will have a few outings a year you could do without, but they are so few and far between and don’t really hurt you in the long run that you just need to dismiss them and move on. I mean, Kershaw gives up eight earned runs in one start and then counters it with a complete game shutout of a division rival on the road and his ERA is still sitting at 2.95. He’s more likely to throw another five of those before he gives up another eight runs in one outing. For his complete and utter studliness and for what he did on Sunday to help your fantasy team, he is easily the best choice for Fantasy Beast of the Day.
|Corey Hart, OF MIL||4-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, RBI, SB|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS DET||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Shane Victorino, OF PHI||3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB|
|Jeremy Hellickson, SP TB||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 5 K|
|Scott Feldman, SP TEX||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 5 K|
I was actually a bit torn between giving the top honors to Kershaw or to Corey Hart for his performance on Sunday. But alas, the overall impact from Kershaw’s day is a bit more significant to your overall totals than one day of niceness from Hart. Not to slight him at all as it looks like he’ll have yet another season of 25-plus home runs, but for one day purposes, I’d rather have Kershaw in my rotation than Hart in my outfield. Standing on his own, though, it was a great day for him and you if you own him.
Nice to see Jhonny Peralta channeling his 2011 self. Let’s hope he can consistently produce at a high level for the next two months and redeem this crappy year he’s having. I’m not expecting him to pop two homers a game on a regular basis, but step it up a notch, Jhonny. Some of us sad sack Dee Gordon owners have been counting on you.
I’m not sure what I like more – the fact that Shane Victorino has been so vocal with management about his desire to stay and for them to keep the team together or that he’s backing up his words with his play on the field right now. “Don’t trade me away. Look what I can do for you.” I like that kind of fire in my fantasy players but what happens when reality sets in and Victorino is dealt somewhere that doesn’t make him as happy? Too much of a professional to tank it, but is he going to give it that extra gusto you like to see?
Jeremy Hellickson is on a nice little roll here with five straight quality starts and an ERA of 2.67 over that span. Even better is the fact that he’s only walked one batter in his last three starts. If he can keep that up, then I’ll be both more impressed and buying.
That’s also back-to-back quality starts for Scott Feldman, but really….three quality starts in 12 outings? I don’t really like my chances with him even against the Royals. Sure, Kansas City is close to packing it in for the season, but they still have a lot of ballplayers that can do some damage against him. And let’s face it…even of the Royals don’t get him, someone else will.
|Ike Davis, 1B NYM||0-5, 3 K|
|Bryan LaHair, OF CHC||0-3, 3 K|
|Chris Young, OF ARI||0-4, 3 K|
|Brennan Boesch, OF DET||0-3, 3 K|
|Jonathan Sanchez, SP COL||L, 12.46 ERA, 2.31 WHIP, 3 K|
Ah, the irony of Ike Davis as the Beast of the Day for Saturday and the head goat on Sunday. Three home runs today, three strikeouts tomorrow. Oh Ziggy….will you ever win?
As for the rest of these guys, the only surprise to me is that Jonathan Sanchez didn’t give up more runs than he did.
Justin Upton, OF ARI – foot (questionable)
Jim Thome, DH BAL – neck (questionable)
Mike Aviles, SS BOS – toe (questionable)
A.J. Pierzynski, C CHW – oblique (questionable)
Alejandro De Aza, OF CHW – wrist (questionable)
Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN – calf (questionable)
Mike Moustakas, 3B KC – knee (questionable)
Mike Trout, OF LAA – knee (questionable)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B MIL – wrist (doubtful)
Coco Crisp, OF OAK – hamstring (questionable)
Rafael Furcal, SS STL – back (questionable)
Adam LaRoche, 1B WAS – back (questionable)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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