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MLB Trade Deadline: Fantasy Impact

Noah Syndergaard by Arturo Pardavila III is licensed under CC BY 2.0

MLB Trade Deadline: Fantasy Impact


Estimated Reading Time: 9 Minutes

As the MLB trade deadline approaches (July 31st at 4 PM EST) it’s time for every team’s front office to take a long, hard look in the mirror.  Do you see an insta body ready for that #nofilter, #summerbod, #fitthicc or do you see my skinny-fat washed up ass looking back at you? This is the time for self awareness.  It’s quite simple, do you matter?

This may sound like a straightforward (I just learned this was one word, what a day!) question, but with around two months left to play that could not be further from the truth.  Especially with the new trade deadline changes. In previous years, the non-waiver deadline was the same as it is now but there was still the semi confusing waiver trade deadline.  This was a convoluted system where you could place a player on waivers and depending on other team’s current waiver position they would have priority to claim said player and a trade could be worked out.  The player could also go unclaimed and a trade could be completed as it would before the previous non-waiver deadline. There is more to it than that, but it no longer exists so who cares. This year, we only have one deadline which, in theory, should ramp up the action in the next week.  So far, not much has gone down, but with so many teams on the bubble of contending, a few losses in a row could trigger a fire sale from any direction.

So why does any of this matter for your fantasy team?  If you have to ask that question, you suck at fantasy baseball and need to DM me immediately so I can mock then help you.  For those with a functioning brain, let’s move on. We will start with assuming you don’t play in an AL or NL only league. I get it, you’re hardcore, but I don’t have the patience for that.  This is for standard 5×5 leagues. 10+ teams. You know, normal humans with friends and families.

We’re In The Endgame Now

Closers are always the biggest concern when it comes to the trade deadline.  Being able to identify when a guy you’ve been riding all year on a garbage team will be moved to a contender and all of a sudden become a worthless setup man is key.  Just as important, the guy who will replace him. Let’s start with the most likely to be moved and become irrelevant.

Teams That Want To Deal

Alex Colome – Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are still a year or two away from being contenders.  Colome is having a solid season if you only look at the surface. 21 saves, a 2.33 ERA and a sub 1 WHIP looks like beast.  Sure, his K/9 is under 7 and his BABIP a miniscule .153, but maybe a trade partner won’t look that close? They will. This shouldn’t stop him from being moved, but not for as much as his numbers may initially imply, and not to be anyone’s closer.  Even if they can’t get much back the White Sox should move him. They are young and have Aaron Bummer just sitting in the setup role. He is their closer of the future. They should get what they can and let the kid get acclimated before the rest of the reinforcements arrive from the minors next year.  Grab Bummer, despite having just a god awful name for a closer, or person.

Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers

Greene is in a similar situation as Colome.  His numbers have been good but he’s just nothing special.  The biggest difference here is that the next up is Joe Jimenez.  The Tigers have been trying to give this guy the job for a couple years now and he continues to blow it.  He has the tools, he just can’t seem to get it done when called upon. Jimenez is the guy to add on spec, but I don’t have that much trust in him.  If Greene is dealt, he won’t close. He’s not that good. If you own him, hope no one bites.

Ken Giles – Toronto Blue Jays

Giles is a guy that actually could continue to close if traded to the right team.  He has the stuff and experience for the job, but you never know where he could end up.  Most contending teams have a closer in place (except the Red Sox but they are a division rival and have no money) so that complicates things.  I could see Giles going to someone like the Dodgers and being a lockdown setup guy. This could not be worse for his owners. If you have him, hedge with Daniel Hudson (who could also be dealt) and pray the Jays don’t make a move. 

Teams That Should Deal But Won’t

Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are currently 6.5 games back of the second wild card.  Not an insurmountable number on paper, but if you live in the real world you know the playoffs are a pipe dream.  They should be sellers. Will they be? Who knows. They should have been rebuilding this offseason but instead made trades for guys like Puig and Sonny Gray.  These were not bad moves in a vacuum, but crazy considering where this team actually is. Part of me respects them not tanking, but sadly it is no way to really get better.  Oh yeah, Raisel, he’s fine. He kind of stinks, the Reds kind of stink, they haven’t even used him exclusively in the closer role all season and he wont be used as such if he’s moved.  The Reds won’t be moving him. They are delusional. If you have him, don’t worry.

Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates

Vazquez is the real deal.  The Pirates are 7 games out of the second wild card and should be giving up.  It’s not an amount you cannot come back from. Unless you have the current Pittsburgh roster.  They need to throw in the towel, but not Felipe. Dude is a stud. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t move him but they need an overwhelming offer that I do not see coming.  He is still under team control for two more years and only 28. He isn’t going anywhere.

Teams That Would Love To Deal But Their Chips Are Corn

Mychal Givens – Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles stink.  They haven’t even used Givens as their primary closer all year.  He may get dealt. He will absolutely not close if dealt and no one behind him is worth even a spec add unless you play in some insane 20 team AL only league.  Don’t bother.

Bubble Teams

These are guys on semi relevant teams that could move.  They are not so out of it that it would be a given, but dropping a few more games back could be enough to facilitate a move.

Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres

As of writing this, the Padres are 6 games back of the wildcard.  They have a good young core up in the majors and a stupid amount of prospect depth on the farm.  They could package some of said depth to go get a stud starter, but in reality they should really just stay the course.  Yates still has another year of arbitration so they do not have to make a move. On the other hand, this only increases his value.  He is having another stellar season, but he is also 31. Oh, and they have the best relief prospect in the minors who they just called up, Andres Munoz.  All you need to know about Andres is he’s 20 years old and throws 104. Munoz is the future. He’s gone in your dynasty league, but if they move Kirby, this kid could make the difference this year if given the chance, and I cannot see a reason why he wouldn’t get it.  Stash Munoz.

Will Smith – San Francisco Giants

At the beginning of the season this would have been a sure thing.  The Giants have no one. Smith is money. He should be the biggest no brainer of them all, but the Giants decided to go ahead and rattle off 17 of their last 20 and are now only a handful of games out of the wildcard.  I think they should still sell Smith and really anyone else in that bullpen now and get what they can, but who knows. If they do the smart thing and deal Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson, my money is on Reyes Moronta. Basically, this is a stay away. They should deal them all, but that seems unrealistic.  Good luck trying to figure out which stays of this mess, but Moronta is the closer of the future, so take note dynasty geeks.

Starters For Those Wins

There isn’t as much value added for a starting pitcher being traded outside of wins.  Of course there is moving from the AL to the NL which can marginally help when you get to face a clueless pitcher once every nine guys, but it is mostly wins.  With the possibility of being moved to a contender being the real impact to these player’s value, I will simply list them in the order of most likely to least likely to be moved.

  1. Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays (*EDITOR’S NOTE: Stroman was traded to the Mets on Sunday)
  2. Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
  3. Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers
  4. Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants 
  5. Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Native Americans 

Prospects That Won’t Be Moved But COULD MAYBE BE But Still Won’t

These are the guys currently ready for the show.  They are blocked in their current organizations but would be immediate upgrades for almost every other team.  While moves like this would be unlikely, they would require blockbuster trades, and they would free up some very talented youngsters that could make the difference down the stretch. 

Kyle Tucker – Houston Astros

Tucker has been ready for the bigs since June.  His first run in the show apparently left a bad taste in Houston’s mouth because he’s been toiling in triple A and straight mashing.  Even with his first month of the season under the Mendosa line he is currently slashing .268/.351/.568 with 25 homers and 21 steals. The Astros have been hesitant to deal Tucker, and for good reason, but their starting pitching issues may force their hand.  This would have to be a blockbuster return of someone like Thor or DeGrom which I don’t see happening. Still, worth stashing if you have a deep enough bench. He will be up one way or another this year. A trade only makes the timeframe clearer and more expedient. 

Gavin Lux – Los Angeles Dodgers

Let me start with this.  The Dodgers should not trade Gavin Lux.  They have a ridiculous division lead and talent all over the diamond.  BUT. After making, and losing, two consecutive World Series, maybe the brass gets nervous and tries to find that one missing piece to put them over the edge.  They could use some bullpen help and maybe another starter. Lux would give them whatever their hearts desired. He has spent most of the year in Double A but since his promotion to Triple A, in 19 games he is slashing, and this is real, .418/.548/.963.  I can’t even do that in MLB The Show when I set the difficulty to rookie. It’s beyond video game numbers. Kid is a stud. I don’t think they will deal him. They can call up Dustin May if they want to give their rotation some rest down the stretch and Lux is worth more than any reliever not named Rivera.  May could also potentially be used as a chip but, again, he is too talented to lose for what they lack. I really just included Lux because I need people to see what he’s doing.

Josh grew up in the midwest and upon graduating from the University of Iowa he wanted to see the world. After 4 years in Jacksonville he decided he was cultured enough and moved on to Birmingham England (known to the locals as the Detroit of the UK) and then west to San Francisco before settling in NYC. He pays his bills working in finance making sure the 1% remains on top. When he is not selling his soul and unable to look himself in the mirror, he spends his time writing mean things about sports while his dog, Sweet Dee, silently judges from her spot on the couch. He is very biased and never wrong. He would also like to thank Rotowire for never changing their NBA League Pass and MLB.TV passwords from that year when he was an NBA Beat Writer for the Nuggets for some reason.

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