Normally, this would be a Who’s Hot and Who’s Not column but this week, I decided to put a little spin on it and discuss the biggest Fantasy winners and losers from the MLB trade deadline. We’ll discuss some players along with some teams whose Fantasy value took a hit because of the moves made or not made by their organization over the past couple of weeks.
- Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs: Fantasy owners had to be thrilled with this trade on all counts. Not only does Quintana go from a last place team to a first place team (better chance for wins), but he also goes from what might be the best hitter’s ballpark in the American League to a park that can be hitter friendly when the wind blows out, but is extremely pitcher friendly when the wind blows in, something that happens much more than people want to believe.
- Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox: I could’ve put Eduardo Nunez in this spot also, as he suddenly looks like Ted Williams since being traded to Boston. As for Devers, he was pretty much given a one week audition to prove to the Sox that he could handle third base and that the team didn’t need to look for a trade outside the organization to upgrade the position. Devers, in eight games, is hitting for power (three HRs) and average (.406). The kid is the real deal and his hot play will allow the Sox to move Nunez around the diamond as a super utility player. The only problem with that is Nunez is not known for his glove, but that’s not something Fantasy owners have to worry about.
- Brad Hand, San Diego Padres: He was expected to be dealt to a contending team that more than likely would not have used him to close out games. Now, since the Padres couldn’t find an offer to their liking, he stays in San Diego as the team’s closer. Sure, San Diego may not win many games over the next couple of months but every save is precious, and if you had Hand on your roster or if you are going to bid on him this weekend in FAAB, you have found yourself a closer and life is good.
- Yu Darvish, Los Angeles Dodgers: Darvish didn’t have the season in Texas that many were expecting from him but I don’t know if those expectations were fair. He is only a little over a year from his Tommy John surgery and just may need more time to recover. The move to the National League against generally weaker lineups, and starting in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, can only be a plus. If his start against the Mets on Friday is any indication, then maybe a change of scenery is all he needed.
- Washington Nationals Bullpen: This unit went from what was really a laughingstock during the first half of the season to a position of strength now. They have added Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle, and Brandon Kintzler. Madson seems to enjoy his eighth inning role, which will leave manager Dusty Baker the option of mixing and matching the left-handed Doolittle with the right-handed Kintzler to finish off games.
- New York Yankees: This has nothing to do with whether you agree with their big trades at the deadline, and everything to do to with the player they acquired. Todd Frazier couldn’t hit in Chicago, which is one of the best ballparks for hitters in MLB. What makes anyone think playing in Yankee Stadium is going to help? That stadium is known for the short porch in right field, but left field is still a canyon. David Robertson is no longer a closer, as he will now be the setup man for Aroldis Chapman. Unless you’re trying to protect ratios, he can go. Sonny Gray will have a chance to get more Ws and that’s important. However, his ratios are almost certainly going to jump since he will no longer be starting home games at the Oakland Coliseum where the ball doesn’t travel well and the vast amount of foul territory can give a starting pitcher an extra couple of outs each game.
- Former Closers: Quite a few of the closers who were dealt will no longer be used in the ninth inning for the remainder of the season. David Robertson, Justin Wilson, Brandon Kintzler, and Brandon Maurer are out as closer and will just be setup men. Another closer, J. Ramos, will only have the job until Jeurys Familia returns from the disabled list, possibly at the end of the month. Just not a good time of year for closers.
- Baltimore Orioles: Why this team wasn’t more proactive at the deadline is bewildering. Okay, maybe a big offer wasn’t made for Zach Britton, but to add small pieces like Jeremy Hellickson makes little sense. Don’t even think about starting him in Camden Yards. The O’s probably should’ve checked the temperature on a Manny Machado trade also, as his value decreases with each passing day he is still on the team. Unless they are prepared to offer him a contract in excess of $250 million, they need to deal him sooner, not later.
- Houston Astros: The Astros have the look of a dying team. Sure, they have the best record in the American League and are a lock for the playoffs but to not make any significant additions to the starting pitching staff seems none too bright. George Springer and Carlos Correa will be back but Dallas Keuchel still doesn’t look right and Lance McCullers is not only back on the DL but has looked awful when starting of late. This may be a team built more for the regular season than the post-season.
- Detroit Tigers: They gave away J.D. Martinez for a song (no market for position players) and couldn’t find any takers for the massive contract of Justin Verlander. Just not a good trade deadline for a team that is in need of a rebuild, but may have too many large contracts for veteran over the hill players to complete a restructure of the team. Who would’ve thought that moving on from Miguel Cabrera would be the smart thing to do at this point in time?
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.