Showing posts with label Trade Deadline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trade Deadline. Show all posts

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Big Finishes and Slow Fades

Whether you are in contention or rebuilding, the player movement around the trade deadline is bound to be of interest. The contending teams are hoping to see big names changing leagues while the re-builders are hoping that some fresh young talents find new roles on new teams while they can still be had cheaply. But as fantasy owners we can not count on MLB owners and general managers to create the influx of talent we are all hoping to see. We are forced to make the best of what is already available and that is the focus of today's article.

The Big Finish - these are the players I see as likely to be better down the stretch than they may have been in the first half of the season.

C - John Jaso, Tampa Bay Rays

Jaso was hurt on the first day of the 2015 season and didn't player again until just a couple of weeks ago. He is already off to a hot start. Jaso hits for average with only occasional power but for a catcher (where he still qualifies in most leagues) he is an excellent hitter.

1B - Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox offense has been embarrassingly bad this season after making some big moves over the winter months in hopes of putting a contender on the field. Instead most of the White Sox young players have disappointed or crashed altogether. Abreu has had a fine season thus far, though not on the blistering pace of 2014. There have been signs of the White Sox breaking out of their team-wide slump and I think a big finish for the entire team is in the cards. When they do, Abreu will be right in the middle of it.

3B - Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

Bogaerts has had a strong season thus far but I think it gets even better from here. While Bogaerts has been working on making better contact, he is also starting to hit the ball harder and I think we're about to see a power surge. He also has the speed to do more on the bases than he has thus far, though that may not be part of the game plan.

2B - Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

After an extremely slow start, Cano is finally cranking like an MVP should. Over the last three weeks he has hit .314/.368/.600 with five homers 15 runs and 14 RBI. You can probably get him on the
cheap from a disappointed owner out of the running.

SS - Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies

Hernandez was a decent infield prospect a few years back but has always been blocked by the Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley legacy. Now that Rollins is a Dodger and Utley's performance and health has declined to the replaceable level, Hernandez is getting his shot. Ruben Amaro has already made it clear that the job is Hernandez's to lose for the rest of the season. He is hitting for average and stealing bases. He is still available in a lot of leagues.

OF - Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres

After the first two months of the season it would be easy to call Kemp a bust in San Diego and the deal that brought him there a horrible one fot the Padres (and they may still be true). Howver, Kemp has looked a lot like Kemp since June 1st. I bet you can get him for a song from his non-contending owners.

OF - Michael Conforto, New York Mets

Conforto is not the strongest or the fastest prospect in the Mets system but he was their best prospect because he works and the Mets can be confident he will continue to work to be the best player he can possibly be. He should hit for average with decent power this season. I think he is destined to be a Mets favorite for the next decade.

OF - Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies

Odubal Herrera has already had a solid season in limited at-bats. As the Phillies trade off veteran bats, expect Herrera's playing time to increase and his stats to improve with more consistent at-bats. The former Mid-West league betting champ could become a .300 hitting, gold-glove worthy center fielder with 40 steal speed in the very near future.

SP - Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

Hamels is expected to be on the move soon. Returning to a contender should be the spark that pushes Hamels back into the top tier of major league starters. The no=hitter certainly won't hurt his trade value.

SP - Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians

Carrasco has had a solid season marred by some bad luck. The bullpen has let him down to a certain extent and his BABIP against has soared this season to a fairly ridiculous .341 which should fall steadily if there is any justice in the world. His 2.89 FIP tells the story.

SP - Jeff Samardzija, Chicago White Sox

A poor start to the season and an under performing lineup have been a bad combination for Samardzija owners. But of late he is pitching well and I think the opportunity to play for a contender down the stretch and build value for his upcoming free agency will drive him forward.

MR - Kevin Seigrist, St. Louis Cardinals

Unless disaster strikes Trevor Rosenthal, Seigrist is unlikely to gain a closer role this season. But the Cardinals are winning so much and Seigrist has been so good that he is a worthy pickup in any league. He will probably add another half dozen saves down the stretch of the Cards keep winning.

MR - Ken Giles, Philadelphia Phillies - Giles is not perfect, he still walks a few too many and his BABIP is high. But Giles is the clear next-in-line as closer for the Phillies when Papelbon is traded.

CL - Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies

Papelbon has had another very good season on a lousy team. He has been adamant amount moving on to a contending team and the Phillies seem likely to grant his wish. Papelbon's value should only improve on a better team.

Bonus Prospects to Watch:

Corey Seager SS Los Angeles Dodgers - The consensus best prospect still in the minors is ready.

Hector Olivera 3B Los Angeles Dodgers - Olivera just needs to stay healthy and Justin Turner slows down.

Ketel Marte SS Seattle Mariners - A potential stud shortstop with a real bat needs to stay healthy and a shot will come.

Luis Severino SP New York Yankees - The Yankees best prospect is ready for the big leagues.

Robert Stephenson SP Cincinnati Reds - He is still developing but should get an opportunity if the Reds trade off their impending free agents.

Derek Law RP San Francisco Giants - His recovery from TJS seems to be complete and he could be a dominate reliever down the stretch.

Carl Edwards RP Chicago Cubs - He still walks too many but if the Cubs are still in it down the stretch he could be a big arm in the bullpen.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Examining the Reasoning Behind the Jake Peavy Deal

As fantasy owners we are almost always interested in the trades that happen between major league rosters. We get especially excited in the days leading up to MLB's Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. We want and expect to see big names and major loves that will radically change the face of Major League Baseball teams and the fate of our fantasy squads. Unfortunately the deadline deals rarely match-up with our great expectations. This year's deals were not an exception.

By far the most interesting deadline deal was the three-team deal between the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox gave up young defensive shortstop Jose Iglesias (to Detroit) and a trio of prospects ( infielder Cleulius Rondon and pitchers Francelis Montas and Jeffery Wendelken) and received starter Jake Peavy from the White Sox and reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers. Chicago received the Boston prospects and young outfielder Avisail Garcia from the Tigers.

Jose Iglesias is a good fit with the Detroit Tigers for a few reasons. If the Detroit Tigers have a weakness it is in their infield defense. Iglesias can provide the Tigers with Gold Glove quality defense at shortstop and even second and third base if necessary. Over the last few seasons, Iglesias has become a much better contact hitter with improved patience at the plate. It does not show in his walk rate but it does appear in his swing rates and his declining strikeout rate. Iglesias has close to zero power (2.2 HR/FB% and .079 ISO) but is becoming the type of player that can find ways to contribute (or at least not be a huge negative) in a lineup full of sluggers while contributing vastly increased defensive range. He still swings at too many pitches, especially outside of the strikezone. He is also unlikely to keep batting .330 or maintain his .379 BABIP but he should be able to hit for a decent average, at least for a power lacking defensive dynamo.

Iglesias' most significant contribution to the Tigers in 2013 is likely to be as the player who replaces Jhonny Peralta during his coming PED suspension. Peralta has yet to test positive for anything illegal or against the rules at this point. However, Bud Selig is determined to punish anyone linked to rumors of wrong doing via the BioGenesis scandal. So in effect, Peralta is being punished for not testing positive while being linked to BioGenesis. No, it is not meant to make sense. Peralta is likely to miss most of the remaining season. It is possible he could be around for the playoffs but it is difficult to see that happening if Iglesias is successful over the next two months. Peralta is a free agent after the 2013 season and could very well finish his career with the Tigers watching from home.This could mean Iglesias is the shortstop of the future for the Detroit Tigers.

The Red Sox were already in good shape heading into the season's last two months.They were playing well with a solid lineup, starting rotation and bullpen all contributing. The Red Sox also have a loaded farm system which is loaded with enough quality talent to allow them to deal their former shortstop of the future. But if you look closely you can see why the Red Sox felt they wanted another veteran starter.

Jon Lester is their ace in theory but recently went through a rough period similar to last season's disaster. Lester seems to have recovered relatively quickly but he does not inspire great confidence in Boston fans nor the team's management. Clay Buchholz finally seems to be the ace-level starter he was once projected to become but his track record of success is not long and his recent shoulder discomfort is worrying.

Peavy has a history of durability problems but was great in 2012 when he contributed 219 innings in 32 starts. Peavy is recently returned from a few weeks on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his ribs. It is expected that this injury has contributed to a slight decline in his velocity relative to 2012 and some rust in his command since his return. But his elbow and shoulder are both strong and not an issue at this point. He has solid velocity in the low 90's and excellent control. He has a very solid strikeout rate and induces a fair number of ground balls when necessary but also allowed quite a few homers pitching in Chicago's homer friendly stadium. Fenway should be a little better for Peavy's stats and his fantasy owners. Most of all he has pitching experience that the talented youngsters on the team can use in this group's first run into the playoffs.

The White Sox had and still have an aging roster and a high payroll that does not provide much bang for the bucks. Avisail Garcia is the best prospect the White Sox acquired but is still very much a work in progress. More than anything else the White Sox are looking to load up their farm system and clear payroll so that the new management team can rebuild the roster with younger and more cost effective talent. Garcia could see a small power boost playing in Chicago but his lack of patience and over aggressiveness will limit his impact on fantasy rosters and in the White Sox lineup. Garcia is only 22 years old so he has plenty of time to develop the skills necessary to become a solid major league outfielder.

Here are the deals leading up to the deadline that you may interest you: (from ESPN)

• The Baltimore Orioles acquired SP Bud Norris from the Houston Astros for DH L.J. Hoes and SP Josh Hader. (July 31)

• The Kansas City Royals acquired OF Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros for SP Kyle Smith. (July 31)

• The San Diego Padres acquired SP Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RP Joe Thatcher, RP Matt Stites and a 2014 competitive balance round B draft pick. (July 31)

• The Boston Red Sox acquired SP Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox and RP Brayan Villarreal and OF Avisail Garcia from the Detroit Tigers and sent SS/3B Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Garcia, RP J.B. Wendelken, SP Francellis Montas and SS Cleuluis Rondon to Chicago. (July 30)

• The Oakland Athletics acquired 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Los Angeles Angels for SS Grant Green. (July 30)

• The Atlanta Braves acquired RP Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels for SP Cory Rasmus. (July 29)

• The Tampa Bay Rays acquired RP Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox for players to be named or cash. (July 29)

• The Detroit Tigers acquired RP Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for OF Danry Vasquez and a player to be named. (July 29)

• The New York Yankees acquired OF Alfonso Soriano and cash from the Chicago Cubs for SP Corey Black. (July 26)

• The Baltimore Orioles acquired RP Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers for 3B Nick Delmonico. (July 23)

• The Texas Rangers acquired SP Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs for SPs C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm, 1B Mike Olt, and a player to be named. (July 22)

We can still expect to see some fairly big names moving during the waivers period. Alex Rios, Mike Morse, and Michael Young are some of the bigger names on the market and they could change the shape of some close races in both fantasy and MLB.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fuentes to Twins, Rodney to Close, Walden the Future?

The Los Angeles Angels have sent left-handed closer Brian Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later. Fernando Rodney will assume the closer role for the Angels. Fuentes will see some save chances for the Twins but as their sole healthy left-hander, Fuentes will often be used in platoon situations.

"He'll be setup and probably occasionally close if I use [Matt Capps] too much," Gardenhire said. "He gets lefties out pretty [darn] good, plus he can close, too, another very, very good arm out in the bullpen with experience. He should help us out."
The Angels insist that trading Fuentes does not indicate they are giving up on the season. They're right, it doesn't. But it is a good move for a team with little chance of winning and a bullpen loaded with younger and superior talent. It also helps that the Angels are expecting a very good player in return.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins said the club will "soon" receive a "prospect with upside" as part of the trade and thanked Fuentes for his two seasons with the club. It's still unknown how much of Fuentes' salary will be picked up by the Twins, as there is $1.89 million left on his contract this season.

Reagins and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the move doesn't indicate they are giving up on this season and building for next season, as veteran reliever Fernando Rodney will serve as the club's closer the rest of the season, and young relievers Michael Kohn and Jordan Walden have impressed so far.
Walden, who has received a lot of attention lately for his gun-busting fastball, is a future closer candidate. He has awesome stuff but failed to develop as a starter. He is now considered a full time relief pitcher by the Angels. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jordan Walden has reached as high as 102 mph with his fastball.

“These guys are just cutting their baby teeth right now,” Scioscia said. “They’re taking baby steps, but I think they’ve shown great poise on the mound for youngsters coming up. Becoming a Major League pitcher is a process and this is the first steps of it, but they’ve certainly taking that step and meeting the challenge head-on.”
Fantasy owners should hang on to Brian Fuentes if they are still in need of saves. Fuentes may not get many but his overall numbers should improve as he becomes more of a platoon specialist. Fernando Rodney may be available in shallower leagues and is worth picking up for those in need of saves. Rodney is also the likely closer to start the 2011 season as well. Jordan Walden has a bright future in the Angels bullpen and I see him becoming the full-time closer in 2012. He is an excellent speculation pick for those in re-building mode.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Fantasy Perspectives of the Deadline Deals

These are all the trades that took place leading up to the MLB Trade Deadline. Your feedback and contrary opinions are welcome in the comments section.

Kansas City Royals traded 3B Alberto Callaspo to Los Angeles Angels for RHP Sean O'Sullivan and LHP Will Smith.

Alberto Callaspo is not a great baseball player but for fantasy purposes he has his uses especially in deeper leagues. He is a strong contact hitter but not very patient, and has very little power. The move to the Angels is good for him. He fits their aggressive, exciting brand of baseball. He should see regular playing time (until the end of the season at least) at third base. He'll hit for a decent average and his steal rate may pick up a bit. Do not expect any more power.

Sean O'Sullivan should have a better chance at the major league success as a Royal. He is essentially a finished product and a little better than his performance stats. He has a nice fastball that sits in the low 90's with okay movement. The fastball is complemented by a 12-6 curveball with an improving break. He has an excellent change-up with a huge speed difference from his fastball. He profiles as a middle rotation starter but would be an excellent reliever if the Royals chose to go that route with him.

Will Smith has three average pitches and typically gets the most out of them on the mound. He has pitched for four different minor league teams at three different levels so far this season and will soon add a fifth team. The Angels like him a lot and he fits into the Joe Saunders mold as a pitcher who has the skills to pitch in the majors even with just average tools.

Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Dan Haren to Los Angeles Angels; Los Angeles Angels traded LHP Joe Saunders and RHP Rafael Rodriguez to Arizona Diamondbacks and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes traded LHP Patrick Corbin to Visalia Rawhide.

Dan Haren is an excellent pitcher with only one major flaw. He allows too many homeruns. He has always had this problem but his high strikeout rate and low walk rates have masked this problem. Until he encounters bad luck with his hit rate anyway. The great news is that the parks in the AL West should be more help than hindrance when it comes to homers. The Angels have a nice defense and should put Haren in a position to succeed.

Joe Saunders will have a rougher time adjusting to pitching in Arizona. He just doesn't have the stuff that dominates. He is rotation filler at best. Now that he has left the winning environment of the Angels he will probably lose some of the wins that padded his fantasy value. Owners should pass on adding Saunders.

Rafael Rodriguez is an average middle reliever. He has very little fantasy value.

You have probably read or heard someone say that the Diamondbacks traded Dan Haren for nothing. They are wrong. Patrick Corbin is the prospect that gets this deal done for the Angels. Corbin has a nice sinking fastball that has been improving in velocity every year as he adds pounds onto his lanky frame. The pitch sits in the low 90's and scouts love his potential. He also throws a slurve that has been called a potential plus-pitch by many different sources. He has also has shown an excellent change-up which he needs to feature more. While Corbin's fantasy stats have been underwhelming, he has a 3.90 K/BB which illustrates his excellent command. He also induces tons of groundballs (just under 50 percent usually) with his great sinker. This is the player to watch in this deal.

Cleveland Indians traded 3B Jhonny Peralta to Detroit Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps traded LHP Giovanni Soto to Lake County Captains.

Jhonny Peralta has shown good power potential in the past but has failed deliver in recent seasons. Still, he is a useful player in AL-only leagues and that useful only improves as an Indian. He certainly started out with a bang - blasting two homers in his debut. The interesting question is whether the Tigers will be wiling to put him at shortstop when Brandon Inge returns to the lineup. If they do, Peralta's value will increase significantly.

Giovanni Soto (I've seen it spelled a few different ways but I believe this is the correct version) is a young pitcher with potential. He is years away from helping the Indians win. He has an okay fastball with good sink which helps him induce groundballs. He throws six or seven pitches but will need to focus on a few to succeed at the major league level. He is a decent prospect but will not have fantasy value for quite a while.

Kansas City Royals traded LF Scott Podsednik to Los Angeles Dodgers; Los Angeles Dodgers traded C Lucas May to Kansas City Royals and Great Lakes Loons traded RHP Elisaul Pimentel to Burlington Bees.

Scott Podsednik is having a strong season for someone with his skill set. He still doesn't get on base very often and has zero power. But he is hitting for a good average and wreaking havoc on the base paths, despite being a fairly bad base stealer. In most fantasy leagues he is useful. That use should continue in Los Angeles at least until Manny Ramirez returns to the lineup. Judging by the way Joe Torre used Juan Pierre, Podsednik should continue to see regular action off the bench and in spot starts.

Lucas May has very good intangibles according to scouting reports. He is a leader on the field and all that stuff. He was drafted as a shortstop and briefly moved to the outfield before the Dodgers decided he would make an excellent catcher. May has adapted well to the position and projects as an average defensive backstop. He has good power and improving discipline but still strikes out too much. he may eventually have a few years as a major league starting catcher but he looks more like a career backup.

Elisaul Pimentel has an average fastball and a good changeup. He is rather old to be pitching in A-ball but he is still a decent prospect. He a fair number of groundballs and a ton of infield flies. He should eventually be a major league pitcher but whether or not he is a special one is the question. At this point the answer is unclear but probably no.

The real value in this trade (combined with the unfortunate David DeJesus injury) is in allowing Jose Guillen to move into the outfield. This frees up the DH spot for Kila Ka’aihue or Billy Butler whichever they prefer. It also opened up left field for the return of Alex Gordon who looked like the player he was supposed to be while playing in Omaha. Gordon and Ka'aihue are the players to watch.

Baltimore Orioles traded 3B Miguel Tejada to San Diego Padres and San Antonio Missions traded RHP Wynn Pelzer to Bowie Baysox.

Miguel Tejada should provide the Padres with a solid right-handed bat off the bench. He may see time at both shortstop and third base with Everth Cabrera struggling. Tejada has limited power at this point but is still a skilled hitter.

Wynn Pelzer is a groundball pitcher (over 50 percent) and fairly deceptive. However, his control has been erratic. He has a great fastball that sits in the low to mid 90's. Many scouts seem to see him as an average starter at best but as a superb relief pitcher and closer candidate. That's a transition he could make very quickly.

Houston Astros traded RHP Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia Phillies; Philadelphia Phillies traded LHP J.A. Happ to Houston Astros; Clearwater Threshers traded Anthony Gose to Lancaster JetHawks and Lakewood BlueClaws traded SS Jonathan Villar to Lexington Legends.

The Philadelphia Phillies made up for their mistake trading Cliff Lee before the season by acquiring Roy Oswalt. Oswalt is still a pretty good starter but has shown signs of aging in recent seasons. His durability and stamina is not what it used to be. Still, he should be an asset to the Phillies rotation.

J.A. Happ had an excellent rookie season for the Phillies but most scouts still see him as an average or just slightly above average starter. I think he may be a bit better than that but it will take a lot more innings before we'll know for sure. He uses average stuff and a deceptive delivery to get outs. He induces a fair number of groundballs and quite a few infield fly balls. He is a useful starter in fantasy leagues of all sizes.

Anthony Gose, who is all tools and no skills at this point
was immediately sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for first base prospect Brett Wallace. Gose is often called a potential Carl Crawford clone but I really don't see it. His one above average tool is speed and he is a terrible base stealer at this point. However, it is worth pointing out that the Blue Jays front office LOVES him. They insist that they also also loved the major league ready Wallace but that Gose as a center fielder was a rarer commodity.

Wallace moved right into the Houston Astros major league lineup at first base. He should eventually hit for good to great batting averages and solid power in the 20-30 range annually. He isn't a defensive asset but that matters little to fantasy owners.

Atlanta Braves traded RF Mitch Jones to Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mitch Jones is one of those guys with such great power that you can't help but wonder what he could do if given a shot at the major leagues. Unfortunately, despite the Pirates inexplicable trade for Jones, he has over his ten seasons in the minors established that he is a poor hitter without on-base skills. He could always have a hot streak but he has no long term fantasy value.

Florida Marlins traded 3B Jorge Cantu to Texas Rangers; Texas Rangers traded RHP Omar Poveda to Florida Marlins and Frisco RoughRiders traded RHP Evan Reed to Jacksonville Suns.

Pauly covered this trade here.

Washington Nationals traded RHP Matt Capps to Minnesota Twins; Minnesota Twins traded C Wilson Ramos to Washington Nationals and Fort Myers Miracle traded LHP Joe Testa to Potomac Nationals.

You may remember a preseason post where I told you that Jon Rauch has horrible luck when it comes to keeping a closer job. Pauly covered this briefly but I want to elaborate just a bit. Wilson Ramos was not having a statistically good season in the Twins organization but he projects as a strong offensive catcher that can hit 20-plus homers per season. That is of immense fantasy value.

If only Joe Testa was actually named Joe Tesla, then I could say he had electric stuff and it would be funny. Testa actually has pretty average stuff. He was undrafted out of division one Wagner College. He may not throw fire but is very deceptive and gets about a strikeout per inning. He also induces a ton of groundballs and infield flys (that combination I love so much). He is at least a year and probably more from making an impact in fantasy leagues. But I like him, a lot.

Here's Jim Riggleman on the closer situation in Washington:

"We feel like Drew [Storen] is the logical guy to take it on, but we don't want to put all that on him right now," manager Jim Riggleman told "If he is throwing good in the eighth, and decided to leave him out for the ninth, depending on who's coming up, that'd be good. But if [Tyler] Clippard or [Sean] Burnett or [Joel] Peralta throwing good, (we'd do that), or we might let Peralta get the first out, let Burnett face a batter. We'll have to mix and match."

Pittsburgh Pirates traded RHP Octavio Dotel to Los Angeles Dodgers; Los Angeles Dodgers traded RHP James McDonald to Pittsburgh Pirates and Chattanooga Lookouts traded LF Andrew Lambo to Altoona Curve.

Octavio Dotel is a solid relief pitcher. He'll be pitching behind Jonathan Broxton now which essentially eliminates any chance he had of finishing the season as a closer. He may still get the occasional save but his fantasy value from here is minimal in all but the deepest leagues.

Say what you want about past moves but the Pirates management cleaned up in this one. James McDonald and Andrew Lambo were both considered top prospects a year ago. McDonald has been okay in relief and not very good in limited starts. But he clearly has not received an extended opportunity. The Pirates are perfectly suited to give him exactly that. McDonald represents the potential front line starter (at least for teams like the Pirates) that they've struggled to develop in Pittsburgh.

McDonald has a mid-90's fast ball that he can push higher at times and a great change-up. He has a pair of breaking balls with nice potential but which need a bit of work. He is an excellent pick-up for your re-building fantasy team or someone to stash on your bench. I like him a ton and I'm excited that he will finally get the opportunity that he deserves.

Andrew Lambo has all the tools to be a great player. He got in a little trouble by failing a minor-league drug test (marijuana - whatever...). He has been mediocre the last two seasons at Double-A Chatanooga but at least showed a slight improvement this season. I think the change of scenery will do wonders for his attitude and get him excited again. Lambo was one of my favorite fantasy prospects a year ago and I still like him a lot.

Washington Nationals traded 2B Cristian Guzman to Texas Rangers and Frisco RoughRiders traded RHP Ryan Tatusko and RHP Tanner Roark to Harrisburg Senators.

We all know Christian Guzman at this point. He makes good contact, hits for a decent average, little power, okay speed, mediocre stats, useful in deeper mixed leagues. He added a little position flexibility this season and will play regularly at second base for the Texas Rangers as the replacement for the injured (shocking!) Ian Kinsler.

From the Newberg Report:

Neither Tatusko nor Roark was a top 30 prospect here, and may or may not show up near the end of such a Nationals list this winter. I had them at 72 and 58 in the Rangers system this past off-season, respectively, though Tatusko in particular has had a breakout season that probably vaulted him past Roark and into fringe prospect status, something he wasn’t prior to 2010. In his last six Frisco starts, during the time of year when AA clubs hand out more scout credentials than any, Tatusko has gone 4-1, 1.34, averaging nearly seven innings a start. He’s allowed only two home runs in 100 innings this season and has generated groundouts 1.67 times as often as flyouts.

He’ll have a chance with Washington. It wouldn’t be surprising, if he continues to fare well over the final month-plus of the minor league season, to see Tatusko added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster this winter. That wouldn’t have happened here.

I’ve asked Tatusko, who has written the Back Fields Diaries for the Newberg Report the last two seasons, if he wants to issue one final entry. I’ll let you know what he says.

For the many of you who have written me, disappointed that Texas traded him, I’d suggest you ought to be happy. He’ll have a better shot at a big league career now, something that was more of a longshot here, and he did an outstanding job of putting himself on the map and turning himself into an asset that helped make yesterday’s trade deadline deal possible. This is good for his career.

Roark, who went 10-0, 2.70 for Bakersfield in 2009 (primarily in relief) and had a brief look in Frisco, returned to the RoughRiders this season and kept getting better, posting a 5.06 ERA out of the bullpen in April, a 4.43 ERA in the rotation through June, and a 3.51 ERA in six July starts (again, presumably with lots of scouts on hand). He has ordinary stuff, but tends to get results with it, and like Tatusko he’ll have a much better shot of getting to the big leagues with his new club.
Texas Rangers traded C Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston Red Sox; Lowell Spinners traded RHP Roman Mendez to Spokane Indians and Greenville Drive traded Christopher McGuiness to Bakersfield Blaze.

Also From the Newberg Report:
... some interesting observations today from Bob Hersom of, who quotes Oklahoma City manager Bobby Jones as saying of Saltalamacchia: “He’s different. I don’t know how many friends he had in the clubhouse, but he was never disruptive and never a jerk. I mean, he’s just in his own little world.” Jones added, however, that Saltalamacchia worked his tail off in AAA.

Most reports have suggested that Saltalamacchia had gotten past the yips while with Oklahoma City this spring, but after hitting early on (.377/.424/.623 in his first 14 games), he went cold, hitting .258/.290/.455 in May and .179/.291/.343 in June.

Epstein’s comment: “He’s someone we hope we’re buying low on right now, as he’s battling a few different issues.”

Houston Astros traded cash and 1B Lance Berkman to New York Yankees for Jimmy Paredes and RHP Mark Melancon.

Lance Berkman grew up a Yankees fan and loved Don Mattingly. As a Yankee fan that makes me very happy. It takes a special kind of player to excel in New York and the ones that actually want to be there do better. It also helps that he is close friends with Andy Pettitte. The transition shold be a smooth one for him.

Berkman is still struggling with the knee injury he had repaired just before the season started. It has sapped most of his power from the right side of the plate. Joe Girardi has indicated that Berkman is unlikely to play everyday and will be platooned. However, since the Yankees will not be using him from his weak side, Berkman's stats should actually look better in fewer at-bats. Berkman is a free agent after this season unless the Yankees decide to use their option but that looks unlikely.

Mark Melancon
was once considered a potential replacement for Mariano Rivera as closer of the New York Yankees. That talk had faded and the tag-line now reads: future closer of the Houston Astros. Melancon throws a mid to high 90's fastball and a great 12-6 curveball. He has an acceptable change-up but doesn't use it enough. He should be a very good reliever for the Astros no matter his role.

The New York Yankees signed Jimmy Paredes out of the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2006. He was considered a polished defensive shortstop. He is a switch-hitter with excellent power potential as he grows older and bigger. He has good speed and enjoys stealing bases although he still needs some work on technique. He is a bit old for his levels but still has an extremely high ceiling.

San Diego Padres traded Corey Kluber to Cleveland Indians; Cleveland Indians traded cash and RHP Jake Westbrook to St. Louis Cardinals; San Diego Padres traded Nick Greenwood to St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Cardinals traded RF Ryan Ludwick to San Diego Padres.

The Padres add a right fielder with power to their lineup. Ryan Ludwick is a good hitter with nice power that will not look quite as good at Petco Park. He should still be very productive hitting behind Adrian Gonzalez he just isn't likely to hit homeruns at the same pace.

Jake Westbrook is exactly the type of veteran groundball pitcher that excels under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan. I like him a lot in the National League.

Jon Jay will take over as the Cardinals regular right fielder. Jay has often been referred to as a fourth outfielder because of a lack of plus speed or power. The reason I usually avoid labeling players as a number three starter or fourth outfielder is because sometimes they exceed their scouting reports. Scouts didn't like Dan Haren much (and apparently still don't) but look at him now.

Jay is an excellent contact hitter. He could take more walks but his average has typically been high enough that his OBP's are also strong. He is a strong defensive player so that will help him stay in the lineup when he isn't swinging such a hot bat. The 2010 Baseball Prospectus put it like this:
In the Cards' constellation of near-ready outfield possibilities, Jay might be the one whose star burns both the most steadily and the least brightly.
They forgot that sometimes slow and steady wins the race.

Prospect Scouting Reports from The Sacrifice Bunt

Corey Kluber goes to the Indians in the three-way deal and is without a doubt the better of the two prospects shipped away by the Friars, a Padres 4th round selection in 2007. His main weapon is a low 90’s fastball that is complimented by a slider and change. Over his minor league career he’s consistently proven himself able to strike people out, boasting a robust k/9 of 9.5. His sustained ability to miss bats as he progresses up the system is a good sign for the Indians, and his 2010 k/9 with AA San Antonio of 10.0 is outstanding. In fact, Kluber leads the Texas League in strikeouts with 136 in only 122.2 innings.

This year has been the best of Kluber’s career, as he’s dropped his bb/9 to 2.9 and given up about a hit an inning. Throughout his career Kluber’s 4.29 ERA has somewhat betrayed his outstanding peripherals.

Nick Greenwood is the player the Padres shipped to the Cardinals to complete the deal. Drafted in the 14th round last year, Greenwood is simply organizational depth. A pitchability type lefty, he shows an uninspiring 6.1 k/9 as a 22 year old in low A Fort Wayne, with a 4.15 ERA. Although he enjoyed a nice debut in Eugene last year, he seems just a throw in with little projection, at best he’ll be a middle reliever. His greatest traits are his control and his left handedness, that’ll be what keeps him moving through a system.

Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Chad Qualls to Tampa Bay Rays.

Chad Qualls has had a rough season but he is a good relief pitcher that can help the Padres. His fantasy value will be minimal with Rafael Soriano handling closer duty.

Boston Red Sox traded RHP Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco Giants and Richmond Flying Squirrels traded Daniel Turpen to Portland Sea Dogs.

Ramon Ramirez has had a couple of decent seasons but is a mediocre middle reliever without any fantasy value.

Baltimore Orioles traded LHP Will Ohman to Florida Marlins for RHP Rick VandenHurk.

Wil Ohman and Rick Vandenhurk are both good middle relievers without much fantasy value.

Cleveland Indians traded RHP Kerry Wood to New York Yankees.

General Manager Brian Cashman really likes Kerry Wood. He spoke about his resurgent stuff after his most recent DL stint ended. Wood takes on the set-up role for Mariano Rivera and should be pretty good at it assuming he can stay healthy. The PTBNL the Indians receive will depend on how healthy Wood remains the rest of the season and into the playoffs. Unfortunately, unless disaster strikes (knock on Wood) Wood will not see many save opportunities.

Chicago Cubs traded LHP Ted Lilly and 2B Ryan Theriot to Los Angeles Dodgers; Los Angeles Dodgers traded 2B Blake DeWitt to Chicago Cubs; Chattanooga Lookouts traded RHP Kyle Smit to Tennessee Smokies and Great Lakes Loons traded RHP Brett Wallach to Peoria Chiefs.

I have no idea what the Dodgers hoped to accomplish by trading Blake DeWitt and acquiring Ryan Theriot. If DeWitt was the price for Ted Lilly I guess that's okay but it's hard to believe they couldn't have kept DeWitt and used prospects to acquire Lilly. DeWitt is not a great player but he's younger, cheaper has more power and a higher ceiling.

Ryan Theriot has zero power and is a fairly weak hitter. He has good speed and steal bases and that is just about everything he contributes to a fantasy team. He does have a reputation as a gutsy scrappy type and Joe Torre will probably love him.

Ted Lilly seems less than enthused about the trade to the Dodgers. I can understand that. The Dodgers are a contender but no one expects them to win the World Series. That kinda sucks if you have finally settled onto a team you like playing for in an area you like. That said, I don't expect Lilly to give anything but his best to the Dodgers. He'll provide a decent strikeout rate and excellent control. Dodger Stadium is a better pitching environment and Lilly should win more often, hopefully.

The Prospect Reports are from ( a fantastic site you should be visiting)

Brett Wallach (SP, Chicago Cubs)

The son of former major leaguer Tim Wallach, Brett is new to pitching, and is still several seasons away from seeing any major league time. Wallach is currently 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA and 9.8 K/9 ratio in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League. He has to prove himself against better competition in a more challenging environment, but Wallach could rank as one of the Dodgers’ Top 10 prospects headed into next season. Dynasty league owners should leave Wallach alone for now, but he may have value as a No. 5 or No. 6 fantasy starter in three or four years.

Kyle Smit (RP, Chicago Cubs)

Smit is an organizational arm who is mostly devoid of any current or future dynasty league value. It’s possible he could eventually reach the majors as a middle reliever, but he’s unlikely to ever be relevant for fantasy purposes.

Detroit Tigers traded Wilkin Ramirez to Atlanta Braves.

Wilkin Ramirez is a tool-laden former top prospect. His problem is he lacks skills. He strikes out far too much and he screws up in the field and running the bases. But he is only 24-years old and he has great tools. A teaching organization like the Braves (not to disparage the Tigers) may be able to shape him into a major league asset. In 2008 at Double-A Erie, he had a .303/.371/.522 slash with 19 homers and 26 stolen bases (12 caught stealing) in 433 at-bats. It shows you the type of player he could still become.

Kansas City Royals traded CF Rick Ankiel and RHP Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta Braves; Mississippi Braves traded LHP Tim Collins to Omaha Royals and Atlanta Braves traded CF Gregor Blanco and RHP Jesse Chavez to Kansas City Royals.

Rick Ankiel is an okay player with good power. He will play regularly in center field for the Braves and will probably be excited about the chance to play for a contender again. He is a great add in NL-only leagues and an okay add in most mixed leagues.

Kyle Farnsworth has carried the closer potential sign everywhere he's played but he won't even be in the mix in Atlanta. That makes him a middle reliever with good stuff but just okay results.

Gregor Blanco is a good defensive center fielder with some speed and not much power. He has been called a prospect but I don't think too much of his future.

Jesse Chavez is a middle reliever with a good fastball but no fantasy value.

Tim Collins
is short but that has not stopped him from dominating the minors. This year at Double-A (combined stats) he has a 15.35 K9 with just a 3.35 BB9. He has been traded twice this season but the Royals are a great team for him. They have opening all over their pitching staff and can't afford to discriminate against short pitchers that get outs. He looks like a 2011 rookie of the year candidate.

Cleveland Indians traded LF Austin Kearns to New York Yankees for PTBNL

Austin Kerans was once projected to be an MLB superstar. It did not happen. But he is still relatively young and obviously hoped that he would be sent to a team that would allow him to play every day. It has to be a fear of guys like this that they will become typecast as role players rather than everyday players. Which is even after listening to Kerans say all the right things about being happy to come to New York and having a chance to win, you could still sense his disappointment. Kearns was hitting for a solid average and nice power playing part-time with the Cleveland Indians. Fantasy owners can expect more of the same.

Pittsburgh Pirates traded SS Bobby Crosby, RHP D.J. Carrasco and RF Ryan Church to Arizona Diamondbacks for cash, C Chris Snyder and SS Pedro Ciriaco.

Okay, I honestly have no idea why the Diamondbacks wanted Bobby Crosby and Ryan Church. D.J. Carrasco is at least a decent middle relief option. None of three have any fantasy value unless Carrasco suddenly becomes the closer. In that bullpen it is at least a possibility, however stupid.

Pedro Ciriaco is a good defensive shortstop with speed on the bases. He has zero power and doesn't get on base enough to have a fantasy impact. He seems like a nice bench option who can contribute as a pinch runner. Depending on his usage he could have some fantasy value but that seems unlikely.

The Pirates made another great deal here. They took useless pieces and turned them into a catcher that can hit and play decent defense. They don't need him, they already have Ryan Doumit but with so many teams once in the hunt for Snyder I am certain they can trade him again for much more than they just spent on him. They should give the Red Sox a call.

Pittsburgh Pirates traded LHP Javier Lopez to San Francisco Giants for RHP Joe Martinez and LF John Bowker.

Another trade of middling players without much fantasy value.