Today's trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals is stunning from a fantasy perspective. In it, the Reds dealt Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner to the Nationals for Billy Bray, Gary Majewski, Brendan Harris, Royce Clayton and minor leaguer Darryl Thompson.
Kearns looks to be breaking out four years after teasing the sabremetric world with a .315/.407/.500 2002 rookie season, and Lopez is following up his breakout 2005 campaign (23/85/15/.291/.352/.486) with another quality year (9/30/23/355 OBP). Ryan Wagner is a failed prospect with only hope-and-a-prayer value.
Nothing the Nats gave have any fantasy value. Proof? Only Royce Clayton was on a starting roster in my NL-only league and that was at a $10 salary (out of $260) after clearing waiver and losing the $3 draft day salary. In this deep 12-team league, Bray and Majewski are still in the free agent pool.
This trade looks like the kind everyone has received from that one owner in your league who tries to bury you with multiples scraps of players in return for your stud.
This assessment for fantasy purposes is irrefutable.
Now let me see if I can figure it out for the Reds from a real life value. Their bullpen has been non-descript at best. Two players held the 9th inning role and failed. This necessitated a trade for Eddie Guardado.
By itself, this strengthened the bullpen. Adding Bray and Majewski augments that. (The issue is whether that augmentation comes in the form of a couple extra egg whites per day or HGH.)
Billy Bray is a 23-year-old lefty reliever who still offers hope he can get out right-handed batters and is in his rookie season.
Gary Majewski is 26 in his second full-season and has done a good job of preventing the runners he puts on base (1.30+ WHIP) from scoring.
Both offer the Reds years of service time before free agency. Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez are free agents after the 2008 season, and both are going to see their salaries escalate via arbitration in each of the next two seasons - Kearns from $1.85 MM and Lopez from $2.8 MM in 2006.
Brendan Harris could turn out to be a decent utility player and offer the Reds another six-figure player for the next few seasons.
I don't like the rationale as the salaries of Kearns and Lopez are no longer exorbitant relative to free agents, but that angle does salve some of the wounds Reds fans must feel.