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MLB Hot Stove Update: Corey Kluber, Nomar Mazara, Yoshimoto Tsutsugo, and more!

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Heath examines the Hot Stove with a fantasy baseball slant.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

In case you’ve been living under a rock—or focusing on fantasy football—here are prominent MLB players with their new locales in parentheses:

Gerrit Cole (NYY), Anthony Rendon (LAA), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), and Zack Wheeler (PHI). Okay, so Strasburg didn’t switch teams, but he could’ve done so, so I included him.

We still have some big pieces to fall, namely Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, Nick Castellanos, and Marcell Ozuna. But now that you’re caught up on the big ticket items, let’s dig a little bit deeper.

Rangers trade RP Emmanuel Clase and OF Delino DeShields Jr. for Corey Kluber

Kluber turns 34 in April, and he’s coming off of an injury-shortened 2019 campaign. It’s fair to wonder if we’ve seen his best days already, though recent injuries could explain his decline in velocity. The real story here is that the Rangers now have a legitimate starting rotation, one that also includes Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Kyle Gibson, and Jordan Lyles. The other piece of fallout is more room in the Indians rotation, as it looks like Zach Plesac will now begin the year as the fifth starter. He’s a guy who will likely begin the year on our streaming radar, at least. As for Kluber, he was the SP19 in early Pitcher List mock drafts. I’d rather roll with Luis Castillo (SP15) or go down to a guy like Tyler Glasnow (SP25).

DeShields Jr. joins what now looks like a crowded and annoying outfield in Cleveland. Outside of Oscar Mercado, I’m not really looking to any of the rest—Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, and Jordan Luplow should clog up the final two spots along with DeShields Jr.

Emmanuel Clase will turn 22 years old in March, and he’s coming off of a small sample debut last year in which he managed a decent 22.3% strikeout rate and 2.31 ERA over 23 13 innings. His average fastball velocity was 99.3 mph, so it’s safe to say he brings the heat. With Brad Hand slotted in as the closer, this isn’t a place we’d go to for saves...making Clase irrelevant in most leagues. At least for now.

White Sox trade for OF Nomar Mazara

Mazara turns 25 in April, and fell a little bit of playing time short of his fourth straight 20-homer season. As a fantasy outfielder, he’s fine. If you’re looking for encouragement for a breakout, you can cite the rising hard hit rate: 28.7%, 32.6%, 37.5%, 45.3%. Mazara should man a corner outfield spot and have an everyday role. He’s a candidate to take a seat on occasion against southpaws, but I don’t think that will happen too much. Mazara has managed to bat .234 (1 HR), .228 (1 HR), .240 (7 HR), and .220 (6 HR) in his four seasons against lefty pitching...and I think the Sox would prefer to have his power bat remain in the lineup. Leury Garcia doesn’t offer power (only 4 career homers vs. LHP) and Adam Engel is merely a fourth outfielder who isn’t a threat with the bat. With Garcia currently penciled into the starting center field role, I don’t see anyone taking away time from Mazara. Early Pitcher List ADP data saw him drafted as the 64th outfielder, at pick 274 on average. That’s in the same range as the oft-injured Wil Myers, the 37-year-old Shin-Soo Choo, and the jobless Domingo Santana. I’d rather take Adam Eaton around pick 250, but if he were off the board I wouldn’t mind chasing the floor mixed with the upside of youth in Mazara.

Brewers sign LHP Brett Anderson

Anderson is a ground ball specialist who will turn 32 years old in February. I could have sworn he was 35. Anyway, Anderson has a career 4.05 ERA, which is tolerable. His career 56.8% ground ball rate is very good, too. His 16.2% career strikeout rate is miserable, though—and the last three years he’s been descending (15.1%, 14.1%, 12.1%). He’s a fine add in real life for the Brewers, who seem opposed to the idea of adding a true ace to their staff. The strategy seems to be amassing bunches of decent innings, using eight or nine starters. Anderson fits the bill.

Brewers sign RHP Josh Lindblom

He’s 32 years old, any perhaps this year’s version of Merrill Kelly? Kelly tossed 183 13 innings in 2019, amassing a 4.42 ERA and 7.76 K/9 in Arizona. Kelly was signed after pitching for the SK Wyverns of the KBO league. Lindblom has pitched for the Doosan Bears for the last two years, and went 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA over 194 23 innings last year. Kelly was a legitimate streaming option at times, and maybe Lindblom falls into some similar value. It’s nice to know he’s got a solid floor ahead of him with innings I suppose. I’ll have to dig into his repertoire soon to see what we’ll be getting.

Rays sign Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo

Tsutsugo is a lefty power bat who should play the outfield and perhaps get a few at-bats at third base (as well as DH). Here’s a good look at the state of the Rays roster, brought to you by our own DRays Bay.