With the trade deadline looming, many moves were completed yesterday as MLB teams gear up either for a championship push or for the future. The bigger names dealt included Cliff Lee, Freddy Sanchez, Ben Francisco, Ian Snell, and prospect Tim Alderson. Today, we’ll break down what each deal meant to the trade-happy teams, and we’ll try to make sense of the fantasy landscape moving forward.
Philadelphia acquires Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco.
Cleveland acquires Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald and Jason Knapp.
The Phillies make a much-needed trade to solidify their rotation, and the combination of Lee, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton should be very scary come October. Lee doesn’t have drastic home/away splits, although with him being primarily a flyball pitcher, we can expect to see a few fly out of Citizens Bank Park. Don’t let that deter you from acquiring Lee though; many more pitchers have success moving from the American League to the National League than do the opposite. Expect him to maintain the excellent K/BB ratio and put up a low-3.00 ERA the rest of the way. Francisco went from an intriguing option to a bench player, so you can safely forget about him for now.
Cleveland picks up several ML-ready prospects from Philadelphia, as well as a potential impact arm that’s a few years away. Carrasco had an excellent 112/38 K/BB ratio in 114.2 IP at Triple-A; ignore his bloated ERA, because he’s ready to provide some help to a major-league rotation. Marson is good defensively, but at best, he’ll keep the catching equipment warm for Carlos Santana for a year. Donald has struggled after entering 2009 as a top prospect. Knapp has a huge ceiling, but anything can happen in a few years.
Moving Francisco and Lee means that Cleveland has holes in its rotation and outfield. Fausto Carmona is being recalled to take Lee’s slot in the rotation. He’s actually been quite good since going down to 2009, but ask the Carmona owner in your league about his first half and you’ll know to stay away, at least for now. The open OF spot could potentially go to top prospect Matt LaPorta, who found his swing in Triple-A. If he brings it with him to the bigs this time, he could be that impact bat down the stretch that fantasy owners crave.
Seattle acquires Jack Wilson and Ian Snell.
Pittsburgh acquires Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin, and Aaron Pribanic.
After jettisoning Yuniesky Betancourt, the Mariners have been in the market for a shortstop. With the newfound organizational emphasis on defense, they decided to trade for Wilson. Fantasy owners know to stay away from Wilson. The intriguing piece for Seattle is Snell, a supremely-talented player that had had enough of Pittsburgh. The feeling was mutual. While Snell wasn’t going to make it with the Pirates, he could emerge as a top-line starter and a fantasy force in Seattle. Keep him in mind as a 2010 sleeper.
Pittsburgh replaces Wilson with Cedeno, a defense-first SS that won’t help fantasy teams either. Jeff Clement is the intriguing option here; once a highly-touted catching prospect, Clement failed to impress as a DH in the majors. He’s been solid in the minors, so he could be the mix for some time at 1B eventually, or even at catcher if the team wants to play Ryan Doumit in right field again. All three of Adcock, Lorin, and Pribanic should eventually find their way into the Pirates rotation. If even one of them sticks long-term, Pittsburgh made a great trade.
San Francisco acquires Freddy Sanchez.
Pittsburgh acquires Tim Alderson.
San Francisco was very desperate to fill their hole at 2B and overpaid to bring Freddy Sanchez into the fold. While he’s a solid hitting second baseman, he’s not worth the prospect the Giants gave up — not by a long shot. Expect Sanchez’s value to hold steady or slightly decline with the Giants.
In a coup for the Pirates, they acquire Alderson, the Giants’ second-best pitching prospect (behind Madison Bumgarner). He has a monster curveball and has been holding his own in Double-A, although he’s just 20 years old. He could easily be the future ace of the Pirates staff, and Pittsburgh has positioned themselves to have a very good young team in a few years. With a hole in the middle infield, Pittsburgh could look to promote Brian Bixler, or Luis Cruz, although Ramon Vazquez, a non-fantasy entity, whill likely start. There is speculation that the Pirates could go after Eric Young Jr of the Rockies, who would provide a ton of speed to the lineup.
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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