If you’ve been missing me, it’s because I undertook an epic road trip with the wife and the twins these past two weeks. We traversed over 3,000 miles in a family quest out west, with Colorado as our focal point. Doc Holliday’s grave, Pike’s Peak, Maroon Bells, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Garden of the Gods were a few stops along the way.
It was as tiring as it was amazing. I thought it somewhat well-timed, too, as I couldn’t play DFS during the All-Star break anyway...but that sentiment shifted quickly with the wackiness of the trade deadline. I now feel like I’ve missed a year instead of two weeks. So what follows is my attempt to get caught up on things, my knee-jerk reactions to the following moves. I welcome your own takes in the comments—let me know what I missed (I know I missed something).
This player-specific edition of “Winners and Losers” makes the most sense for the fake game. And since this effort is taking the place of my waiver wire adds this week, I’ll include percentages so you know who you can add to those fake squads. Let’s hope your waiver wire isn’t as barren as the state of Kansas (seriously, anyone ever drive through there?!?). Those eastern plains in Colorado aren’t much better, either. Anyway, let’s do this.
Manny Machado (99% owned) and Brian Dozier (96% owned), Dodgers
These two moves are the epitome of the saying “the rich get richer.” Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Dodgers are now better—and while these digs aren’t as favorable as this pair’s previous home parks, the lineup is loaded for bear. I’d say it’s a push, but that feels stupid. These Dodgers should rake, and Dozier is due for a strong second half anyway (he had 21 second half dingers in 2017).
Chris Archer, Pirates (93% owned)
Sure, as a real life move this might be underwhelming for Archer. The Pirates resemble the Rays for all the wrong reasons. But this is a pitcher’s park and a team that is trying to contend, and Archer is moving from the AL to the NL, so getting to face the opposing team’s pitcher is another boost. For fake purposes, this is legit.
Mike Moustakas, Brewers (89% owned)
Maybe the Brewers are losers for not adding a starting pitcher, but Moustakas should enjoy his new digs just fine. His presence has bumped Travis Shaw to the keystone, at least for now. The Brewers also added Jonathan Schoop, so who knows what in the world they have going on at the infield position spots in the future. But no matter what comes, Moustakas and his power bat are thankful to be away from a terrible team and a terrible home park (for hitting). Milwaukee is a gigantic upgrade in team context and home park hitting environs. This is an epic move for “Moose.”
J.A. Happ, Yankees (84% owned)
He moves from Toronto to the Yankees, and is already an 11-game winner. With the strength of the Yankees offense and bullpen, it’s probable that Happ winds up a 20-game winner with great ratios and the best strikeout rate of his career??? Amen.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Phillies (83% owned)
This is a big win for Cabrera, whose presence will relegate Scott Kingery to utility work.
Cole Hamels, Cubs (74% owned)
A move from Texas to Chicago should be a boon, not to mention the “change of scenery” narrative.
Kevin Gausman, Braves (43% owned)
Moving from the AL to the NL and from the worst team in baseball to one of the best...this is a great thing for Gausman’s fantasy value.
Leonys Martin, Indians (7% owned)
Martin won’t be hitting leadoff for the Indians, but his run production is likely to get a boost in a superior lineup. Martin has been pretty average this year, but Cleveland desperately needs that level of production in center field. Rajai Davis may steal at-bats against southpaws, but Martin is the strong side of that pairing.
Brandon Drury, Blue Jays (2% owned)
He should play plenty with Toronto if his migraines are under control. The hot corner or the keystone, so the return of Josh Donaldson shouldn’t signify the end of the road if he’s playing well.
Brett Phillips, Royals (1% owned)
He’s still only 24 years old, and is an enticing power/speed combination player. The Royals don’t have anything else, so Phillips should play every day.
Tampa Bay Relievers
LOL at zero starting pitchers listed on their depth chart after trading away Chris Archer. The Rays will apparently ride out 2018 with their “opener” concept. So get ready to utilize Yonny Chirinos and the rest of them (I don’t even want to list them all). If you have a favorite opener in Tampa, please share in the comments. For my part, I’m not in a league where I’ve had to use any of them—though Chirinos was useful for a time before his injury.
Brad Hand, Indians (91% owned)
It looks like Cody Allen is still the man for saves in Cleveland.
Ender Inciarte, Braves (78% owned)
The Braves were coveting Adam Duvall last year, and they finally got their guy. He’s a logical platoon partner for Ender Inciarte, who should now sit against southpaws. This is basically Atlanta throwing in the towel on Inciarte righting the proverbial ship against lefty pitchers...at least for 2018.
Jeurys Familia, Athletics (73% owned)
He’ll likely be the eighth inning man in Oakland, so he’s no longer closing games with regularity.
Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox (57% owned)
Eovaldi seems destined for relief work when Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale return. Sure, ride him out for the time being, but his days as a starter are numbered and he isn’t taking the closer’s role from Craig Kimbrel. Tick, tock.
Joakim Soria, Brewers (43% owned)
He moves from closing in Chicago to a middle relief role in Milwaukee.
Zach Britton, Yankees (40% owned)
He vacates closing duties in Baltimore for middle relief work in New York.
Lou Trivino, Athletics (37% owned)
He was seeing the occasional save opportunity given Oakland’s recent hot stretch on nights when Blake Treinen was unavailable (due to closing out so many wins). Alas, it seems as though Familia will leapfrog Trivino as the eighth-inning bridge to Treinen. Even if Trivino doesn’t lose that role, he now has more competition.
Mallex Smith, Rays (17% owned)
This is a tough pill for me to swallow because Smith has carried my team in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational with regard to speed. But Tampa’s outfield suddenly looks crowded, with Tommy Pham a present threat and Austin Meadows an imminent threat. Of course, Kevin Kiermaier could experience another freak injury and make this situation far more palatable. And yes, Carlos Gomez is a loser as well, but hopefully you weren’t reliant on him for anything, anyway.
MEH (value stays about the same)
Eduardo Escobar, Diamondbacks (83% owned)
This feels like a lateral move to me. Arizona is a slightly better offense regarding runs, walks, and ISO...but these offenses are pretty similar overall (Twins had a slight edge in wOBA, .310 to .309). Still, Escobar fled the fire sale that is Minnesota so he’s in a better spot than if he had stayed. But it’s similar to where he was, so it’s a push for me.
Ian Kinsler, Red Sox (54% owned)
He’ll hit lower in the order, but it’s a better order. Another push, in my opinion.
Last but not least, I kept this player-specific. But it felt wrong not to chime in on Houston’s addition of Roberto Osuna. I agree with most of what I have seen—I agree that adding a player whose value is depressed due to a domestic violence suspension is just wrong. Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not a fan of the Astros. And by the way, major shouts to the Blue Jays for not putting this guy back on the field. Toronto also added a quality reliever in Ken Giles AND a pair of prospects. Major, major shouts to the Blue Jays. I am now a fan.