Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Reactions to trade deadline moves

by Todd Zola, on August 1, 2013 @ 13:40:00 PDT


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Today the Knights are going to turn lemons into lemonade. Yeah, now we know why it's called a DEADline, but just because there was limited activity when the clock struck 4 p.m. EDT on July 31, that doesn't mean there aren't a few fantasy baseball implications.

Let's rank the pitchers in their new homes -- Ian Kennedy, Bud Norris, Matt Garza and Jake Peavy

Perry Van Hook

Garza, Peavy, Kennedy, Norris

Lawr Michaels

Chicago Cubs OF Junior Lake
Cubs to stick with Lake in 2nd half?

I think all things considered, it all works out pretty even. Though I like Garza best, due to a combo of age, experience, and team (and, Texas has become very good at managing their arms). Then Peavy, whom I like playing on a veteran team who will likely be better behind him than the other colored Sox, then Kennedy who moves from Chase Field to PETCO Park but will have little support, and then Norris. Though, I also think on a good club that has focused on pitching so long, Norris easily has the most upside.

Nicholas Minnix

1. Peavy -- The move from the Cell to Fenway, which suppresses home run output for LHBs, is a huge plus for this fly-ball hurler, who's displaying the most exciting K/BB of the three.
2a. Garza -- It's pretty much the opposite, for this righty, but he'll be productive because he's pretty good anywhere.
2b. Kennedy -- Not just because of the ballpark, given his struggles with the home run, but quite a bit because of the San Diego Padres' outstanding record in the category of "pitcher reclamations." Could be a pretty good September for this righty, if Darren Balsley has a say. Tough to pick between him and Garza, but Garza is already pitching pretty well, so he's a safer choice.
4. Norris -- Even if he'd moved to PETCO, he wouldn't have climbed ahead of any of these guys, for me. The downgrade in home yard cements it. Rick Adair could help him make some marginal improvements, at least, though.

Rob Leibowitz

I'd go with Peavy, Garza, Norris, Kennedy. Peavy out of the launching pad that is Chicago is a nice thing. Garza has good command, misses bats, and keeps it on the ground, so the park conditions shouldn't factor as much as they might other pitchers. The deal, in theory, should help Kennedy given the dramatic change in park conditions, but I am rather leery of him given his all-season-long command issues and wonder if there is a hidden injury lurking here. However, given a low LOB% and elevated HR/FB, there is some room for gains. Norris, on the other hand, is already pitching over his head and is more likely to decline as the season progresses than improve.

Todd Zola

1. Peavy -- Small but significant uptick possible in ratios plus better offensive support.
2. Garza -- Slight concern over park but bigger concern that the general mood in Texas will be a concern. I won't compare it directly to what happened to Boston in 2011, but the winning atmosphere is deteriorating.
3. Kennedy -- Agree with Rob that the park effect alone is not enough to fix things, but if a confidence boost comes along with it, Kennedy could be helpful down the stretch.
4. Norris -- Perceived as a big K guy but is sporting a K/9 well below league average. He's still facing a DH in a slightly favorable hitter's park so I see similar ratios with a couple more wins.

What player(s) not directly involved in a deal was (were) helped the most?

PVH: Likely Will Middlebrooks, who could be back manning the hot corner in Boston soon, and Andre Rienzo, who takes Peavy's spot in the White Sox rotation and could give you some cheap strikeouts.

LM: Jeff Samardjza, whose name was bantered, then dismissed by the Cubs front office. Theo Epstein is a smart guy, and he knows how to build a team, and keeping his ace tells everyone I have some quality and am willing to hold and build around it. Meaning guys like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo can feel confident a team will be created around them.

NM: Man, hard to say, many possibilities. Most intriguing is probably George Springer, if the Houston Astros promote him soon. I'd say Avisail Garcia, but I wouldn't trust the Chicago White Sox to develop my photos. Actually, Junior Lake probably has the best combo of opportunity and intrigue. Plenty of opportunities in Houston and in Chicago these days. Andre Rienzo is interesting, too. Oh, and Jim Henderson, because he's a closer again.

RL: Perhaps Junior Lake. He gets a full-time gig and has double-digit power/speed potential though he's also a high-risk, aggressive hitting type who could easily fail. I prefer Andre Rienzo as a winner, taking over Peavy's spot for the remainder of this year and perhaps claiming it for 2014 as well. It's also only a short matter of time before George Springer gets promoted. There is nothing standing in his way in the Astros' outfield.

TZ: I guess I'm not as convinced as my colleagues that Springer will get a call-up before September. I think the Astros want to see what they have in Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and especially Brandon Barnes (whom I like) before turning to Springer. I like the Lake and Rienzo calls. A move that flew well under the radar was Cleveland acquiring Marc Rzepczynski from St. Louis and the subsequent demotion of Vinnie Pestano. I know Pestano has been dealing with injuries but he's pitched better lately. To me the message is clear: Cody Allen is the closer of the future and is a guy I want in keeper formats.

However, the biggest winners were the Tigers' pitchers, especially worm-burners Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. Everyone likes to go to the ball yard early to catch batting practice. Jose Iglesias makes you want to watch fielding practice, he's that good (and fun to watch).

What player(s) not directly involved in a deal was (were) hurt the most?

PVH: Either Jarrod Dyson or David Lough in KC if the Royals are going to play Maxwell every day.

LM: I think Justin Morneau might have been able to stretch and help a contending team, and he no longer gets to showcase his stuff in any kind of limelight.

NM: Also hard to say. I'd guess that Boston's acquisition of Peavy is more a reflection of their concern about Clay Buchholz's health than their confidence in Felix Doubront to continue to pitch so well. That's all TBD, though. Anywhere a new starting pitcher has gone, that's where those most hurt are, probably. No big bats moved. I guess the Oakland Athletics didn't have much faith in Eric Sogard.

Philadelphia Phillies 3B Michael Young
Phils may not move Young after all

RL: Possibly Felix Doubront if Clay Buchholz can find his way back to health. Jason Hammel similarly will have no rotation spot to come back to when activated from the disabled list. Vernon Wells will become a full-time bench player when Curtis Granderson comes off the DL for the Yankees.

TZ: Those who picked up Brandon Workman for his two-start week may have a different Boston pitcher in mind, but at least he's sticking around and moving to the bullpen. I'm with Perry, I was looking forward to seeing what Lough could do the last couple of months.

You know we're not done, there will be a waiver move or two. Who do you feel is most likely to be moved in August?

PVH: Adam Dunn (to Texas).

LM: Alex Rios or Morneau. It has to be great to be hot on the heels of Kelly Shoppach and Carlos Pena, though.

NM: Just don't see why the Philadelphia Phillies shouldn't move Michael Young for whatever they can get. Ruben Amaro Jr. isn't exactly a genius, though. Trying to remember who else ... someone from the Seattle Mariners, too, they hold the cards with the bats, it seems. Mike Morse may just need to prove that he's healthy. Pending suspensions and the standings will help to determine who feels more pressed to make a deal in August.

RL: A reliever or three of modest quality. Maybe Michael Young, Justin Morneau, Mike Pelfrey. In other words, middling free-agents who will be targets of excessive, saved up trade deadline intended FAAB.

TZ: My colleagues have this covered pretty well. However, I do think it will be interesting to see how many claims are made by those on the fringe of the playoffs, if for no other reason than to keep top teams from getting stronger. I realize they may be stuck with the salary, but in some cases it could be worth it. The original team may then opt to pull the player back. For instance, there is no way Michael Young makes it all the way to the Red Sox.

With the slow deadline, will you adjust how you approach FAAB next season AL- and NL-only leagues?

PVH: My FAAB spending in AL- and NL-only leagues is defined by team needs/injuries rather than by trying to guess what might be available in a crossover trade -- people who "saved" their FAAB this year suddenly don't have much to buy. (Sneaky play in NL-only leagues depending on retention rules will be to buy Mike Olt when he comes up later in the year.)

LM: No, not yet.

NM: Not really. I don't consider what happened one year an indicator of what will happen the next, unless it's related to the way teams value players on the trade market. Every year is different. The players rumored to be available this year just aren't quite as exciting as those in previous years. The freedom to trade compensatory picks, money allotted to international signings and things like that would seem likelier to help than to hurt the prospects of trade frequency. It can't hurt to pursue the players who move earliest, though, since they have the most time to help you -- just one more factor to consider when you bid. But, I wasn't broken-hearted that I didn't get Scott Feldman in AL LABR, for instance.

RL: No. I do not limit my spending based on the time of the year. I focus more on, if talent becomes available, go get it. This is especially the case in leagues where you can acquire FAAB via trades and especially keeper leagues that do this. You can always add additional FAAB via trades later as a throw-in or sweetener.

TZ: I'm going to come right out and say it -- yes, I am going to alter my approach to FAAB spending ... sort of. Here's the deal. I respect and believe in the politically correct answers supplied by my colleagues. Perry and Rob are right -- you react to the situation at the time. Lawr and Nick are right -- you don't have a knee-jerk reaction to one season. But sometimes you need to stay ahead of the curve. It doesn't always work out, but there's only one way to find out if what you sense is true and that is to jump in the deep end. My sense is the later Super Two deadline is keeping prospects in the minors just a little longer and they are just a little bit better when they are promoted. Of course if I have an April injury I will address, but I am going to make a conscious effort to take advantage of the early June call-ups since I don't believe this is a one-year phenomena.

Hmm, that sounds like an interesting topic for a Round Table.

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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