Even with the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching, the Major League Baseball offseason has continued to provide plenty of story lines to unpack. Trade rumors, players being designated for assignment (DFA) & free agent speculation has the fantasy baseball news cycle abuzz.
Let’s dive in.
Seattle Mariners & San Diego Padres Talk Big Trade
It seems that the Mariners are officially open for business following the trade of staff ace, James Paxton. Since the Paxton trade, the question for Mariner fans, myself included, has revolved around how many roster foundation players Jerry Dipoto plans on moving this winter. It appears that answer includes one or both of Jean Segura and/or Mike Leake. From a real life baseball standpoint Leake is a fine player. He even has value in deeper fantasy baseball leagues. That said, Jean Segura is clearly the more relevant fantasy asset between the two and we’ll focus the analysis on him.
It was not a foregone conclusion that Segura would be moved this winter because of a contract extension ($70M/5 years + 1 option year) just signed this past year. Entering his age-29 season there is little doubt that Segura will continue to perform at an above-average rate. Fantasy owners hoping to build their roster around power/speed combo players should be looking to acquire Segura in 2019 regardless of where he calls home.
2019 Steamer Projection: 671 PA | 77 R | 12 HR | 61 RBI | 20 SB | .278 BA | .324 OPB
Going from the San Diego Padres back to the Seattle Mariners in this rumored deal would be 1B/3B/OF Wil Myers. Prior to 2018, Myers had enjoyed back-to-back productive fantasy seasons.
Wil Myers 2016 & 2017
Myers missed 80 days due to numerous disabled list stints in 2018. When on the field, Myers was continuing to display a power/speed combination that is not typically available at the corner infield positions. A trade to Seattle would, in theory, place Myers back at first base, which could keep the 28-year-old healthier and in the batter’s box more in 2019. Remember, Myers was playing first base for the Padres before they signed Eric Hosmer to take over the position. Wil Myers will begin the 2019 season with dual position eligibility (3B/OF) so adding first base eligibility would only further enhance his overall fantasy baseball value.
Tampa Bay Rays - C.J. Cron DFA
Cron had somewhat of a breakout season in 2018 for the Rays. After failing to reach 500 plate appearances in a season entering 2018, Cron found consistent playing time with the Rays (560 plate appearances). Team need was not the only driving factor behind Cron’s increased playing time. Simply put, Cron earned the additional playing time by making harder contact at the plate more consistently. This process began in 2017 when Cron was still a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
C.J. Cron Underlying Power Metrics
|2014||Angels||24||253||11||11.5 %||33.7 %||46.4 %||32.0 %||21.5 %|
|2015||Angels||25||404||16||10.1 %||27.4 %||33.8 %||38.8 %||27.4 %|
|2016||Angels||26||445||16||11.0 %||32.3 %||33.5 %||37.1 %||29.4 %|
|2017||Angels||27||373||16||13.2 %||35.8 %||47.2 %||30.9 %||22.0 %|
|2018||Rays||28||560||30||13.9 %||39.6 %||45.4 %||33.5 %||21.1 %|
The fantasy implications of this deal will not be known until Cron is either traded or signs with a new team in the coming weeks. If Cron were to sign with a team that had at-bats to give, along with a favorable home ballpark, Cron makes for a great late round flier to put at either corner infield or utility.
Washington Nationals Sign Kurt Suzuki
It probably says something about the catcher pool in general when a 35-year-old catcher signing becomes rather noteworthy, but this is the world fantasy baseball players find themselves in. Truth be told, Suzuki has been an above average offensive player the previous two seasons (127 & 108 wRC+, respectively). Selecting Suzuki at your draft or auction will not garner much praise, however, double-digit home runs and a batting average that won’t sink you from either your first catcher or an early second catcher should be welcomed with open arms.