When playing fantasy baseball, in roto keeper and dynasty leagues, you as an owner always want to get the best return when dealing one of your top fantasy players, whether he be a hitter or a pitcher. That is no different than major league general managers, especially the sellers, as it is more than likely they are dealing a player in the last year of his contract. The expected return depends on the needs of the team on the other side of the trade, and sometimes, we see teams overpay for rentals.
David Price to the Blue Jays
Blue Jays get: David Price
Tigers get: Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt
The Blue Jays get the ace that they need to push them into the wild card race. Today, they sit six games behind the Yankees in the AL East, but are only one game behind the Twins in the American League Wild Card race. One would assume the additions of Troy Tulowtizki and Price should make them a favorite in the wild card race, but the cost of two months of Price seems to be extreme to me. The Tigers did very well in this trade, getting three left handed pitchers that they can control for at least the next six seasons, and possibly longer depending on when Boyd and Labourt are ready. Norris made his Tigers debut yesterday in Baltimore, giving up one run in over 7.1 innings. He has struggled with his command this season, but ESPN's Keith Law recently ranked him as his 15th ranked prospect in his midseason Top 50 prospects, and here is what he wrote about him:
Norris' control abandoned him in the majors to start the season, but since the start of June, he has been throwing more strikes and walking fewer guys while in Triple-A, including a current streak of five straight outings with two walks or fewer. I've said before that I don't think he'll ever have above-average command, but with his raw stuff, he shouldn't need to have it to be a top-of-a-rotation starter.
Matt Boyd, another left-hander, has also gotten a look at the Major League Level this year, and it was not good (14.85 ERA, 11.17 FIP, 3.74 xFIP in 6 2/3 of an inning). Boyd has spent most of this year in Double-A, and he has a 1.10 ERA and 2.62 FIP there. He has also appeared in Triple-A for 39 innings this year and he has a 2.77 ERA and a 3.49 FIP.
Labourt is another left-hander who throws plenty of heat with a solid slider and curve and has a mid-rotation ceiling if everything comes together for him, but he is several years away from contributing at the big league level.
The move to the Blue Jays has zero impact on the fantasy value of Price, as he remains one of the top 10-12 starters in the game, and is primed to receive an offer near or exceeding $200 million in the offseason.
The move to Detroit benefits Norris, who moves from a hitters park to a pitchers park and could learn from some of the veteran starters in the Tigers rotation.
Cole Hamels to the Rangers
Everyone felt that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would botch the Cole Hamels trade, but I think he did very well in this deal. He added several solid prospects to the Phillies farm system, and due to the fact that most interested teams weren't going to deal any of their top prospects for Hamels, Phillies fans have to be happy with the return here.
Rangers get: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, cash
Phillies get: Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Jake Thompson, Matt Harrison
In return for the next three to four years of Hamels, the Phillies get five young prospects, three of which are pitchers, their catcher of the future and an outfielder who has shown growth at the plate this season. The Phillies received five of the Rangers top 20 prospects in this deal, and now their farm system has much more depth behind shortstop J.P Crawford, recently promoted starter Aaron Nola, speedy outfielder Roman Quinn and pitcher Franklyn Kilome who is getting positive reports this season. Their farm system has much more depth after this deal, and that is all you can ask for when rebuilding. Just ask John Hart and the Braves.
Williams and Alfaro probably have the most upside of the five prospects they received, but both need more work in the minors. Alfaro is currently rehabbing an ankle injury and is out for the year. He has excellent power, a 70 grade arm, but horrible plate discipline which needs work.
Williams, on the other hand, has shown growth at the plate this season, improving his strikeout and walk rates. Here is what FanGraphs' Kiley McDaniel wrote about him in his recent Scouting the Prospects in the Cole Hamels trade piece:
Williams is another interesting prospect, and among the most polarizing young players in the minors entering the year, but his improved performance has most scouts with whom I spoke on the same page regarding him. The headline tools here at 70 raw power (potential for 30 homers) from the left side, huge bat speed and 55 foot speed, along with an advanced feel to square the ball up. Williams' problem is that he's been so physically talented for so long that he hasn't needed to have better at-bats and see more pitches, because he could still make consistent contact in the minors, have good numbers and get promoted doing what he was doing. Essentially, he could make a big strikeout rate (29% in High-A last year) work in the minors because he would put up a huge BABIP (.391 last year), but those solid minor-league lines (.292/.343/.491 last year) would degrade as the BABIP dropped in the big leagues against better pitching and defenses.
Williams is hitting .299-.357-.479 with 13 home runs, 21 doubles, 4 triples, 56 runs scored, 45 RBI and 10 steals in 18 attempts in 97 Double-A games this season.
McDaniel goes on to say that of the three pitching prospects the Phillies received, Thompson has the most upside, as he has a #3 starter ceiling but if things don't work out as a starter, he could be a nice back end of the bullpen pitcher who may be best suited as a closer, so those of you in dynasty or deep keeper leagues should grab him if you can.
Like Price, Hamels fantasy value doesn't change, as he is an ace starter and one of the top 12-15 starters in the game right now.
Those of you in dynasty or keeper leagues should take a look at Williams, Alfaro and Thompson if available in your league. All three will see time in the big leagues in the next year or two.
Carlos Gomez to the Astros
The Mets failed to finalize a deal for Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and the reasons differ depending on who you ask, ranging from a hip injury to Gomez's contract to Zach Wheeler's medicals. That didn't stop the Astros from jumping in and upgrading their outfield by dealing for Gomez. Here are the details of the deal:
Astros get: Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, international bonus slot
Brewers get: Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, Josh Hader, Adrian Houser
The Brewers did well in this deal, even though they gave up the last year and a half of Gomez and three years of arbitration eligible Fiers for four prospects.
The Astros get a center fielder to pair with George Springer and Jake Marisnick/Preston Tucker for this year and next, and Fiers to fill their #4 spot in their rotation behind Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Colin McHugh for the next three seasons.
The Brewers get one of the better hitting prospects in the game in Phillips. Phillps was recently promoted to AA after hitting .320-.379-.588 with 15 home runs, 19 doubles, 7 triples, 68 runs scored, 53 RBI and 8 stolen bases in just 66 games in High A. Before the deal, he was hitting .321-.372-.463 with a home run, 8 doubles, 4 triples, 22 runs scored, 18 RBI and 7 stolen bases in just 31 games. So, yeah, the guy can hit.
In addition the Phillips. the Brewers received Santana, who has big time power, but struggles to make contact. In 40 big league plate appearances this season, Santana struck out 41% of the time, while walking under 5% of his plate appearances. He might be a AAAA hitter, who travels between AAA and the big leagues, but if he can improve the plate discipline, he could have some fantasy value as soon as this season.
Gomez's fantasy value doesn't change much, but he has had a down season at the plate, and isn't running much, so maybe there is something to the hip injury. The guy fantasy owners should be looking at is Brett Phillips, who headlined this trade for the Brewers and should see time in the Brewers outfield for years to come.
For more on the prospects in each of these trades, make sure you check out Minor League Ball.