Admit it. You were nervous that the MLB trade deadline was going to be boring. There wasn’t a lot of action early on, but as the deadline approached, some major moves were made. But what do the moves mean for Fantasy owners? From Yu Darvish to Brandon Kintzler, those outgoing and those sliding into new roles play a major impact for Fantasy.
Texas Rangers trade Yu Darvish to Los Angeles Dodgers for Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis: Ten minutes before it was announced the deal was made, Darvish took a selfie in the Texas clubhouse, showing he was still a member of the Rangers. Now he gets a shot at a World Series. Although Darvish is having the worst statistical season of his career, he’s still a Fantasy ace, and the move only helps him. Texas has shed the reputation of being an extreme hitter’s park, but the move to a better overall park and getting to face the opposing pitcher several times per game only helps him out. As for the return, it’s not great for real life or Fantasy. Willie Calhoun is having a good season in Triple-A, but the return should have been Alex Verdugo or bust. Calhoun should have been owned in every dynasty league anyways, but if he isn’t for some reason, grab him.
Oakland A’s trade Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees for James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo: What a move for the Yankees! Now, Gray has always been a little overrated as a real-life pitcher, but the Yankees, as they did with Jaime Garcia, got a pitcher with an elite groundball rate (56.7 percent) with Gray, which is beneficial in Yankee Stadium. Gray’s value goes up with the better team, despite moving to a worse ballpark. It’s an OK return for Gray, but the Yankees’ biggest win was not losing anyone too valuable, as Mateo was blocked, Fowler is coming off knee surgery and Kaprelian is coming off Tommy John surgery. All should be owned in dynasty leagues, though.
Texas Rangers trade Jonathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later: A year ago, the Rangers traded top prospect Lewis Brinson for Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. This year, they shipped both out, without anything of note returning. Unless this player to be named later turns out to have a career like notable players to be named David Ortiz or Michael Brantley, this will go down as one of the worst 365-day returns ever. If anything can boost Lucroy’s numbers, it’s Coors Field. If you held him this long, you need to continue to do so and hope for the rebound. Robinson Chirinos becomes a must-own option in two-catcher leagues and an option in deep single-catcher leagues.
Detroit Tigers trade Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs for Isaac Parades, Jeimer Candelario and a player to be named later: How awkward must it be to trade your own son? That’s exactly what happened when Al Avila dealt Alex Avila. On the bright side, he has a shot at a World Series. On the downside, his Fantasy stock plummets, as he becomes the automatic backup to Willson Contreras. Justin Wilson loses Fantasy value, as he becomes a player who is only good for ratio stats. Gaining value in Detroit is Shane Greene, who is going to be the new closer. The Tigers aren’t awful, so he’ll still get save chances. Candelario may have some Fantasy value in Detroit this year if the Tigers reconfigure their defense to put Nick Castellanos in the outfield.
Boston Red Sox trade Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista and Stephen Nogosek to the Mets for Addison Reed: There’s not much to see here for Fantasy owners. The Red Sox didn’t give up anything major, but they got Reed, who will now have value in leagues that use holds as a scoring category. A.J. Ramos, who the Mets acquired from the Marlins, will slide into the closer’s role for now in New York, while Brad Ziegler will keep the ninth-inning seat warm in Miami until Kyle Barraclough is ready to take over.
Houston Astros trade Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez to the Toronto Blue Jays for Francisco Liriano: Liriano is the biggest name, but the main benefactor of this move is his new teammate, Derek Fisher. Fisher, in a limited sample, has displayed a bat that can play at the major-league level. With Aoki out of the way, full-time playing time has opened up for Fisher. Hernandez is a power/speed threat who could be a deep-league option next year. Don’t worry about Liriano, though. He’s going to be used in the playoffs as a guy who can get six outs out of the bullpen. Liriano’s departure could mean it’s time to give Joe Biagini another look as a streamer in Toronto.
Minnesota Twins trade Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Watson and cap space: This might be the most underrated move of the deadline, as the Nationals acquire a third option to close. It remains to be seen whether it’s Kintzler, Ryan Madson or Sean Doolittle in the ninth inning role, but my money is on Kintzler, so see if you can acquire him if you need saves. Avoid the Minnesota closer situation. It’s not worth the headache.
Kansas City Royals trade A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis to the Chicago White Sox for Melky Cabrera: Cabrera had a great season in Kansas City in 2013, but he also may have had some, umm, assistance. He should be owned in leagues that specify five outfielders, but not in anything shallower.
New York Yankees trade Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell to the Minnesota Twins for Jaime Garcia: Garcia is another groundball specialist who should put up solid numbers in New York. He’s still a streamer for Fantasy purposes, though.
Baltimore Orioles trade Hyun Soo Kim, Garrett Cleavinger and bonus pool money to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jeremy Hellickson: That’s one way to strengthen your rotation, Orioles. Actually, no, it’s not. Hellickson doesn’t need to be owned outside of deep AL-only formats.
New York Mets trade Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for Drew Smith: Duda has been on a tear since arriving in Tampa Bay, but it’s a shame he plays first base because the position is so deep that he hardly matters outside of AL-only leagues.
San Francisco Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to the Boston Red Sox for Gregory Santos and Shaun Anderson: The Red Sox will find ways to get Nunez into the lineup regularly so it won’t hurt the regulars and Rafael Devers. He had a two-homer game already in Boston, but he’ll mainly help in speed and average. He’s a useful Fantasy shortstop.