Well, we had some big names traded over the last few days and several more should be changing uniforms today. I got my run in earlier this morning, so here are my thoughts on the fantasy impact of some of the trades that have already happened, and some that COULD happen.
Matt Kemp to the Braves for Hector Olivera
On the surface of this deal, you have to ask why do the Braves want Matt Kemp? They are in rebuild and he is a soon to be 32 year old outfielder, who still has power, but is a liability in right field. Then you saw what the Padres received in return, Hector Olivera, who is currently in the minors after serving his suspension for domestic abuse. More than likely Olivera will be DFA’s by the Padres, as there are very few teams who want that type of player on their roster. I won’t get into the contracts here, but the Padres are saving some cash in this deal by trading away the three years left on Kemp’s deal.
Kemp will play left field in Atlanta, with Ender Inciarte/Mallex Smith in center field and Nick Markakis in right field. Here is more from Mark Bowman from MLB.com:
"We look at this as probably the first piece of starting to look at what we're going to do this winter, as far as adding other pieces into this mix," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said Saturday night after acquiring Kemp from the Padres.
Now that the Braves have targeted Kemp to serve as their primary left fielder, they will continue looking at the possibility of trading either Ender Inciarte or Nick Markakis. It seems more likely that they would keep Inciarte to team with Mallex Smith and Kemp to serve as their primary outfielders heading into the 2017 season.
So, the Braves will continue to be active in the offseason, and could move a player or two today, including reliever Jim Johnson, who is pitching much better of late and has saved six games since Arodyz Vizcaino was placed on the disabled list.
Kemp will serve as a veteran presence in the middle of the Braves lineup, but will not help them in the field.
Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians, or not
By now you have heard about Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy being traded to the Indians for some prospects, but yesterday we learned that Lucroy vetoed the deal. And for good reason. The Indians have catcher Yan Gomes on the disabled list and the plan was for Gomes to be the Indians starting catcher in 2017, with Lucroy playing catcher, first base and DH. For fantasy purposes, that would have been an ideal situation for Lucroy owners, but not for his market value on the free agent market. Lucroy will be a free agent at the end of the 2017 season, and the Indians plan would hurt his market value as a catcher, as he is one of the best in the game. I don’t blame him for vetoing the deal. Lucky currently has the third highest fWAR among all qualified catchers right now, and is hitting .299-.359-.482 with 13 home runs, 48 runs scored, 50 RBI and 5 stolen bases. A move out of Miller Park may hurt his fantasy value a bit, but he is a very good hitter, so I see the impact being very limited.
Even though he vetoed his deal to the Indians, there is still a real chance he will be traded by 4:00pm today. On that, why did MLB move the deadline to 4:00pm today? I don’t recall reading about this. Anyway, the teams that appear to be involved in talks for Lucroy include the Rangers and Dodgers. The Rangers need pitching more than hitting right now, but adding Lucroy is an upgrade over their current catcher, Robinson Chirinos.
The Dodgers interest is.....interesting, since they already have a very good catcher in Yasmani Grandal. Here is more from FoxSpoorts' Ken Rosenthal, via the Twitter:
I guess it is possible the Dodgers would have included him in a deal for a starting pitcher, Chris Archer or Chris Sale. The Dodgers have a huge need for a starting pitcher or two, a HEALTHY starting pitcher. The Dodgers new front office isn't prone to give up a ton of talent, via prospects or major league players, for a rental. Adding Archer or Sale would be right up their alley, as both are controllable for at least the next three years.
The cost to acquire either starter would probably involve top pitching prospect Julio Urias. While I would love the see Urias remain a Dodger, the team is a contender and adding an ace with Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list for the foreseeable future.
Chris Sale to the Dodgers or Red Sox?
So, it appears the Dodgers are doing their best to land an ace starting pitcher. And who can blame them, They have a ton of prospects and are in dire need of an ace starter.
Here is more from Phil Rogers at the Chicago Tribune:
Rogers also mentioned Jose DeLeon is a person of interest in Sale trade talks.These names are the Dodgers top prospects, so it is no surprise that the White Sox are discussing them.
What would an offer for Sale look like from the Dodgers? it would start with Urias, and add in one of first base prospect Cody Bellinger or outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, second base prospect Willie Calhoun and a lower level prospect. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if the offer looked like this:
That is the likely cost for Sale.
The Red Sox are also actively pursuing Sale, as they had conversations deep into the night on Sunday night. Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski is known for trading prospects for ace starting pitchers and Sale is an ace, but will probably cost them both Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi. That would be a steep price to pay for Sale, especially with both Moncada and Benintendi inching closer to a major league call up.
There might be good reason for Sale to the Red Sox happening. Here is more from Rosenthal, via Twitter:
For some reason, I see Dombrowski dealing his prospects for Sale by 4pm today. He was brought in to build a World Series team, so the pressure is on. Having to deal two of the best prospects in the game for Sale would be tough to swallow for Red Sox fans, but Sale has one of the best contracts in the game.
We will learn more by 4:00 today.
Jay Bruce to the Mets?
A few days ago, it appeared that Reds outfielder Jay Bruce would be a Dodger, but apparently that is not the case, as the Mets appear to be focusing on him to improve their struggling lineup. Last year, GM Sandy Alderson traded Michael Fulmer for a few months of Yoenis Cespedes, and the deal was a win-win for both teams, as Cespedes helped the Mets get to the World Series, and Fulmer was called up to the big leagues a few months back and has pitched like an ace ever since.
The cost to acquire Bruce would probably include one of the Mets recently drafted pitching prospects, or Zach Wheeler. A Bruce for Wheeler deal was discussed last July, but never happened, so maybe the Mets hitting struggles will push them to deal Wheeler, who is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Adding Bruce would create a logjam in the Mets outfield, and they would be left without a true centerfielder. Bruce would play right field, with Yoenis Cespedes in left field, and a Michael Conforto/Curtis Granderson platoon in centerfield. Not ideal, but adding Bruce's bat is needed at this point.
I imagine outfield prospect Jesse Winker will replace Bruce in the Reds outfield at some point, but the Reds may opt to bring up Scott Schebler instead, with Winker a September call up.
Andrew Miller to the Indians
Well, the long-rumored Andrew Miller trade rumors finally became a reality on Sunday morning, as the Yankees dealt their lethal lefty closer to the Indians for Indians outfield prospect Clint Frazier, pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. Frazier is a power hitting outfielder who was recently promoted to Triple A by the Indians. Prior to his promotion, Frazier was hitting .276-.356-.469 with 13 home runs, 56 runs scored, 48 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances. He recently moved ahead of Triple A teammate Bradley Zimmer in some expert prospect rankings, and the Yankees, according to reports, LOVED him. Sheffield made 19 starts for the Indians High A affiliate, going 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning. He does have a problem with the free pass, but that is something he can work on in the Yankees system over the next few seasons. Heller is a relief pitcher, currently pitching in Triple A. Jeff Passan from Yahoo reported yesterday that Helller is a future closer and could replace Miller as soon as this season.
Miller moves to Cleveland where he will replace Cody Allen as the Indians closer, but makes the back of their bullpen that much stronger. The Indians have a real chance to go far in the playoffs this season, and Miller will help them get there. The Indians rotation is one of the best, if not the best, in baseball, so adding Miller was a necessary move no matter the cost.