Fantasy Impact: Changes afoot in Oak-town

Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Here are the fantasy implications for some of Billy Beane's Hot Stove trades the last couple of days. Should fantasy managers (especially deep-leaguers) be intrigued?

Yesterday, I watched the 2013 GM of the Year, Billy Beane, spend $33M acquiring Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson. Ahem...that's Scott Kazmir (he-of-the-2012-Sugar Land Skeeters), and Jim Johnson (he-of-the-101-saves-in-2-years) whom Eno Sarris (@enosarris) appropriately noted:

However, Beane wasn't done because today he did the following:

Oakland A's send OF, Michael Choice and INF, Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers for OF, Craig Gentry and P, Josh Lindblom

Thankfully, in fantasy, we do not have to worry about inter-division rivalry, contracts, or which team won the trade. All we have to discuss are the fantasy implications. What exactly do these moves mean for your fake team?

1. Craig Gentry to OAK

Craig Gentry is a superb defensive CF (29.3 UZR/150) and he's got great wheels (24 SB/3 CS in only 246 ABs), but his lack of power would be miscast as a starting LF for Texas. Now, Oakland can have a nice platoon OF who can fill in admirably for Coco Crisp in CF when he pulls his groin and play some LF to allow Yoenis Cespedes to fill in at DH. Furthermore, the Rangers are already grooming Leonys Martin to be the man in CF for 2014, so Gentry really isn't needed. He will not merit shallow league consideration necessarily, but in deeper leagues I'd certainly consider him a stash. It's just a matter of time before Crisp goes DL, and this guy could carry a team in SBs by himself. (Also, SSS alert, Gentry's career numbers in OAK: .353/.389.441 in 34 ABs).

2. Michael Choice to TEX

Let's just say this, the Rangers have a gaping hole in LF, and Gentry was not the answer. Enter Michael Choice. Last year saw him breakout in AAA with a .302/.390/.445 slash line along with a .377 wOBA and 125 wRC+. He finally got his K-rate under 20% and upped his BB-rate to nearly 12%. While it remains to be seen how these numbers might translate at the MLB level (as he really doesn't have enough MLB data to make any conclusions yet), there is no doubt that, given playing time, Choice could have significant fantasy impact. Don't forget that Choice moves from the spacious Overstock.com Coliseum to the friendly confines of Arlington, and barring a FA acquisition by Jon Daniels & Co. you could be looking at the new LF-version of Nelson Cruz soon. This year expect a .240 BA, 20 HR, and a lot of Ks, which is not a bad 3rd/4th OF or UTIL guy. This seems to be the most fantasy-noteworthy move of the bunch.

The Prospects:

Chris Bostick -- I'll let Josh Sickles (@MinorLeagueBall) do his thing but suffice to say that the Rangers continue to compile MI talent, and Bostick could be a nice utility infielder who could provide some power.

Josh Lindblom -- An uninspiring bullpen arm for OAK in an offseason of bullpen-arm deals for Beane. Nothing to see here.

And here was the other deal:

Oakland A's send OF, Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres for RP, Luke Gregerson.

With Gentry in hand and Smith plugging up the DH spot it made sense to ease up the logjam that OAK has employed in the OF the last couple of years. Beane brings another bullpen arm in for next year to setup Jim Johnson.

1. Seth Smith to SD

Two things here. First, he's 31 this season and if you are starting Seth Smith as one of your top 3 options, that is bad. Secondly, though, deep leaguers take note. He's a career RHP-killer (wOBA .364, wRC+ 120, .843 OPS), and despite the drop in ISO last year, I still think he has value no matter the venue. Moving from OAK to SD is like going from a mini-van to the family-truckster--nice and roomy--so no changes there, but if you play in deeper leagues with daily transactions Smith is the guy that you want filling your UTIL spot against RHP.

2. Luke Gregerson to OAK

This is important for two reasons. One, if you are in a HOLDS league, Gregerson gets a bump. It's not like you'll go out and try to make a trade for Gregerson because holds hide under rocks in fantasy. However, pitching in front of some nice starters, with a spacious park (again), and JJ mopping up can't help but be good for him. Two...yeah, yeah, I know JJ has saved 101 games the last two seasons. I don't care. Read the tweet above and realize that closers have a short shelf-life, and LG is now a must-own JJ handcuff.

In all OAK has made some major changes to its roster. I can't help but empathize with ol' Billy though. For two years I played bridesmaid to the ultimate champion in my fantasy league. It got me a little itchy in the offseason to make a splash and really "go for it" the following year. Are you gonna pull a BB (Billy Beane) this offseason? Will any of these moves help your fantasy team in 2014. Opine below or @agape4argentina.

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