Effects of Deadline Deals

By Steve Nitz

The Major League Baseball trading deadline has come and gone, and at lot went on all the way up to the 4 p.m. deadline on July 31.

Two former Cy Young winners were moved, as well as former All-Stars Victor Martinez, Scott Rolen, and Matt Holliday (a trade that I already addressed). Here is a rundown of the major deals and their fantasy impact.

Jake Peavy to the White Sox for Clayton Richard and two minor leaguers-Peavy’s value will obviously suffer somewhat after going from Petco Park to hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but at the same time he will get more run support. The White Sox are also more likely to have him pitch in September while competing for the A.L. Central title.

Richard struggled for most of the year with Chicago but was great in his last two starts with the team. He threw 5 2/3 innings giving up one earned run in his debut with San Diego. He’s not a bad option in NL-only leagues.

Cliff Lee to the Phillies-Lee’s trade to Philadelphia was nothing but good news for his fantasy owners. He’ll get a ton of run support and he’s going to the National League. None of the prospects that went to Cleveland should have much of a fantasy impact his season.

Scott Rolen to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion and two minor leaguers-This was probably the most puzzling deal of the trading deadline. The 34-year-old Rolen who has an injury history gets traded for the 26-year-old Encarnacion and two pitching prospects that have some promise.

Rolen is hitting .320 but hasn’t shown that much power, but that could change somewhat at Great American Ballpark. Encarnacion is only hitting .204, but has hit .278 with four homers and 10 RBI since being activated from the DL on July 3. He’s a good option in AL-only leagues.

Adam LaRoche to the Braves for Casey Kotchman-LaRoche’s value increases as he’ll get more playing time while Kotchman is now worthless sitting on the bench in Boston. Not that Kotchman and his six homers were ever a great assett at first base.

Victor Martinez to Boston for Justin Masterson and two minor leaguers-Martinez should see some improvement in the Boston lineup, although he could see a little less playing time. The intriguing guy in this deal is Masterson.

Masterson was 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games with the Red Sox, and the Indians could end up using him in their rotation. If that happens he should be used in AL-only leagues.

Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers for Luke French and a minor leaguer-Washburn, who is having a good season (8-6, 2.64, 79 strikeouts), goes from one pitcher’s park to another. He also goes to another team that doesn’t score many runs, so his value shouldn’t really change.

French was 1-2 with a 3.88 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) with Detroit. He’s probably not worth using in fantasy leagues.

Orlando Cabrera to the Twins-Cabrera was awful the first three months of the season, but hit .373 in July and had nine stolen bases. His value only goes up by going from Oakland to Minnesota, where he’ll be in a better hitter’s park and have a better offense around him.

Nick Johnson to the Marlins-Johnson has hit .295 this year but hasn’t shown much power. His value isn’t really changed by going from Washington to Florida.

Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners-Wilson has no fantasy value, but Snell is intriguing. He was awful this year in Pittsburgh (2-8, 5.36 ERA), but dominated when he was sent to AAA Indianapolis (0.96 ERA in six starts). He’s a guy to keep an eye on.

Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants-The Giants ugraded their offense that the deadline with two separate deals. Neither player’s value should change too much with the trades. Both players are solid hitters, although the Giants had to give up Tim Alderson, one of the better pitching prospects in baseball, to get Sanchez.

George Sherrill to the Giants-Sherrill owners were hurt big time after this deal, as Sherrill goes from being Baltimore’s closer to a setup man in LA. If you owned Sherrill, hopefully you picked up Jim Johnson, the new closer in Baltimore.

Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow to the Cubs for Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, and a minor leaguer-After a strong 2007, Gorzelanny was dreadful in 2008. But like Snell, he had success in the minors this year and will go into Chicago’s rotation. He’s not worth using in fantasy leagues.

Hart put together four decent starts before being traded, but he’s on a bad team and won’t have a lot of strikeouts. You’re better off staying away from him. Grabow and Ascanio have no value.