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IS CLIFF LEE DONE?: MLB Trade Deadline Deals, Injuries, Tidbits And Trends


Cliff Lee will likely miss the rest of this season and possibly more. Photo Credit: Brian Michael

Wrapping Up the Last of the Trade Deadline Deals

Yesterday’s trade deadline was one of the wildest in recent memory, with more than a dozen transactions taking place, almost half of them involving the Red Sox. For a complete wrap up of the Fantasy impact of those trades, be sure to check out yesterday’s special edition of the Xpert Eye. There were a couple of late trades that didn’t make it into there, though, so we’ll wrap those up right here.

Jarred Cosart and Kike Hernandez Traded to the Marlins

The Marlins added pitching and some utility help yesterday, picking up starting pitcher Jarred Cosart and IF/OF Enrique (Kike) Hernandez along with minor league outfielder Austin Wates from the Astros for OF Jake Marisnik, minor leaguers Frances Martes and Colin Moran and a compensation pick.

Marisnick has played in 54 games for the Marlins over parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, with a home run, five RBIs and four runs scored in 157 at bats. He will report to the Astros and should be among the starting outfielders there. However, once the Astros get back one or more among their trio of outfielders on the DL, George Springer, Dexter Fowler and Alex Presley, playing time could be a problem. Regardless of that, Marisnick has no Fantasy value at this time. Colin Moran is a third baseman playing in the High-A level this season, where he’s batting .294. He’s considered a fairly low level prospect. Frances Martes is an 18 year old pitcher in the Rookie League this season, where he is 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA in five starts.

Cosart joins an already young starting rotation that is holding its own in the majors this season. The Marlins will slot him into their rotation, likely sending Brad Hand back to the minors. Cosart (9-7) should benefit from the move to the NL and could improve on his 4.41 ERA this season. For his career, Cosart was 10-8 with a 3.57 ERA in 30 starts with the Astros. Hernandez is hitting .284 with one home run and eight RBIs for the Astros this year. He will most likely be serve in a utility role for the Marlins, who are still in the hunt for a Wild Card berth, albeit with slim chances of making it. Austin Wates was hitting .299 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and 44 runs scored at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year. Wates never hit less than .300 in a full season in the minor leagues.

The Braves Acquire Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell from the Cubs

The Braves addressed their needs in centerfield and the bullpen in a trade with the Cubs that brought IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio and lefty reliever James Russell to Atlanta in exchange for 20-year-old catching prospect Victor Caratini,

Bonifacio has played second, third and center field for the Cubs and the switch-hitter was batting .279 in 298 plate appearances this season. He is expected to play centerfield, supplanting B.J. Upton, who is in the midst of another dreadful season. Russell has been a workhorse for the Cubs the last three seasons. He’s appeared in 44 games this year with a 3.51 ERA. Left-handers were batting .295 off him compared to .103 by right-handers but over his career he’s held lefties to a .240/.276/.416 line. He’ll be slotted into the Braves bullpen, likely replacing Chasen Shreve, who was only recently called up to the Show.

Caratini will likely report to the Cubs’ Class-A affiliate. He was batting .279 in Class-A for the Braves and is considered a strong offensive catching prospect.

Cliff Lee May be Done for the Year

It looks as though Cliff Lee may be done for the season. He abruptly exited yesterday’s game with two outs in the bottom of the third inning after his 31st pitch of the game. Lee was shaking his head and pointing to his elbow as he walked off the field. After the game, Lee commented that he had reinjured the flexor-pronator tendon in his elbow. Lee is expected to go on the DL today with David Buchanan the most likely pitcher to replace him in the starting rotation. This injury could end Lee’s season, and if he requires surgery to repair the damage, next season could be affected as well. Stash Lee away if you own him but be ready to drop him as soon as his fate is confirmed.

Felix Doubront, the left-handed pitcher the Cubs acquired from the Red Sox, will not join the team, but will go on the disabled list with a strained right calf instead. NL-only leaguers should hang on to their FAAB money until he returns.

Eric Hosmer is expected to miss three to six weeks because of a non-displaced fracture of the right hand. X-rays revealed a stress fracture in the hand that’s been bothering him for the last two weeks. This puts a real dent in the Royals’ post season hopes and Fantasy owners who were hoping Hosmer would turn things around should greatly temper their expectations. He won’t return until mid-September at the earliest and could miss the rest of the season. Even when he does return, his power could be greatly diminished, as hand injuries have a way of doing that for several months, even after they’ve healed.

Starling Marte, on the DL with a concussion, will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. The plan is to have him progressively play more until the following Tuesday, at which point he will be reevaluated and possible reactivated. In the meantime, Josh Harrison and Travis Snider will continue to see at bats and time in left field. Harrison is slashing .295/.333/.473 and making a strong case for full time at bats…again. Over his last 10 games, Harrison is batting .318 with four homers, eight RBIs, seven runs and four stolen bases. That there is Fantasy gold, my friends. Found money.

Gerrit Cole is finally going on a rehab assignment. He’s been on the DL with a latissimus dorsi strain (that’s lat strain to us normal folks) since July 5. The team has made a timetable for his return public, but if the Pirates still hope to stay in the hunt for a playoff slot, Cole needs to get back on the field. Fantasy owners are clamoring too.

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Dan Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring yesterday. Juan Francisco will probably play first base now with Danny Valencia getting some starts at third.

Tidbits and Trends

One interesting aspect of the Diamondback’s trade of Martin Prado is that the team brought up 3B Andy Marte to take his spot on the roster and likely play some hot corner. Those of you with long memories might remember Marte as the Braves prospect that couldn’t miss. Except that, he, er, missed. Really badly missed – to the tune of .148/.227/.211 in 24 games before the Braves threw in the towel. Boy, were they smart to do so. In the eight years since, he’s bounced around to four more organizations, wearing out his welcome with an overall triple slash of .219/.278/.362 in 925 major league plate appearances. The Diamondbacks are hoping the now 30-year-old Marte is a late bloomer. At their Triple-A affiliate this year, Marte is batting .330 with 13 HRs and 62 RBIs in 419 plate appearances, and he made an instant impact yesterday with a home run and two RBIs in his first and only at bat in the game. Don’t be fooled. His track record says he is fool’s gold. At the very least, take a wait and see approach, but I’d be shocked if he suddenly became Fantasy worthy.

While we’re talking about the Diamondbacks, it’s worth mentioning that David Peralta is the most likely beneficiary of the trade that sent Gerardo Parra to the Brewers. Peralta is slashing .307/.340/.453 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 188 plate appearances. I’m not enamored with his 28:8 K:BB ratio but he has legitimate power and will now play regularly with Parra gone. He struggles against left-handed pitching (.243 in 40 PA) but we’re looking at small samples here. Interestingly enough, Peralta is another scrap heap project like Marte, except that Peralta was plucked from the Independent leagues, where he was raking after bombing out as a pitcher in the Cardinals organization. Peralta is worth adding in mixed leagues for the balance of the season, especially if you need power. Doesn’t everybody need power these days?

Don’t look now, but Grady Sizemore is really playing well with the Phillies. He’s slashing .328/.359/.459 in 16 games with the Phillies. He’ll see plenty of playing time over the next two months and could be a sneaky good play in deep NL-only leagues.

 



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