With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Fantasy owners need to be aware of potential deadline trades that can affect a player’s value. Joe Smith, Tommy Milone, Joaquin Benoit and Brandon McCarthy have already seen their value change because of midseason deals. Many more are expected before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let’s take a look at some potential moves from a Fantasy perspective.
Joe Nathan – If the Tigers try to upgrade their bullpen, it could cost Nathan save opportunities. In most scenarios they would acquire a setup guy to pitch in front of Nathan, but he’s clearly struggling with a 5.89 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Nathan owners should be prepared in case the Tigers upgrade their bullpen at the veteran closer’s expense.
Jonathan Papelbon – The Phillies have long been rumored to be shopping Papelbon and they could finally make a deadline trade. He’ll most likely close wherever he lands, so the incumbent closer on the team he’s traded to is the guy Fantasy owners need to worry about. If Papelbon is traded, someone’s Fantasy closer is going to become a setup guy. Antonio Bastardo would be the likely candidate for saves in Philadelphia.
Joaquin Benoit – When Huston Street was traded to the Angels, it opened the door for Benoit to close in San Diego. As the Padres continue to rebuild, it’s possible that Benoit will be the next guy traded out of town. If he lands in a place such as Detroit, he’d likely return to an eighth inning role behind Nathan. He could also end up closing for a team without an established ninth-inning guy. Benoit is about the scariest player to own when it comes to looming deals. If you receive an offer in which Benoit is valued like a true closer, go ahead and pull the trigger before he stops receiving save opportunities.
Alex Rios – We’ve seen many rumors regarding the Rangers moving Rios, who has a one-year $13.5M club option remaining on his contract. Leaving the friendly hitter’s park in Arlington could slightly impact his power numbers but his Fantasy value should basically remain the same if he’s traded.
Starlin Castro – Plain and simple, the Cubs have too many middle infielders. While it’s doubtful that Castro will be traded before the deadline, teams in dire need of a young shortstop are going to be calling the Cubs. The Mets are such a good fit that it almost makes too much sense. Castro’s short-term Fantasy value shouldn’t change if he’s traded, but we have no idea where he’d play in Chicago once their army of elite MI prospects are ready for the majors.
Matt Kemp – A deadline trade that allows Kemp to play everyday would be nice for his Fantasy value. He’s not the same player as his 2011 career season, but a change of scenery and a hitter-friendly park could be exactly what Kemp needs to rejuvenate his career. Kemp owners should be happy if he gets moved, especially if he lands in a hitter’s park where he can take on a leadership role.
Chase Utley – It appears that the Phillies would be open to trading Utley if they can find the right package of prospects. It would be strange to see Utley in another uniform, but playing for a contender should help the veteran finish strong. With eight homers and 47 RBI, Utley remains an elite Fantasy 2B. His numbers are very similar on the road and at home, so don’t be too concerned if he moves to a park that isn’t as favorable for hitters as Citizens Bank Park.
Troy Tulowitzi – Tulo won’t be traded this season because he was placed on the 15-day DL with a left hip flexor strain. It seems inevitable that he’ll eventually become a Yankee. He wears No. 2 to honor Derek Jeter, has over $100M remaining on his contact and basically told reporters that he wants to replace Jeter. If you own him in an NL-only keeper format, it might be wise to shop him because there is a legitimate chance he’ll be playing in the AL next season.
Upgrades to starting rotations
David Price – Even in a down year for the AL East, it remains baseball’s hardest division to pitch in. Price has learned to dominate the AL East, with a 3.06 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and an insane 173:21 K:BB ratio. If he lands in a pitcher’s ballpark or heads to the NL, he could get even better from a Fantasy perspective. He’s obviously an elite pitcher already but its scary to think how dominant he could be in a friendlier environment for pitchers.
Ian Kennedy – With a 3.62 ERA and a 137:37 K:BB ratio, Kennedy would likely help any rotation in baseball. For Fantasy owners, it probably depends on what you need before you determine if you should be rooting for a deal. He’d more likely to pick up wins on a contending club, but his ERA and WHIP benefit from pitching in San Diego.
Bartolo Colon – The Mets are likely to be sellers at the deadline and Colon should be the first player they look to move. The Giants are a possible destination and pitching for a contender should provide Colon with a little spark. That said, pitching in Citi Field is great for any pitcher so his overall Fantasy value shouldn’t change too much.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood