Sunday, August 3, 2008

Manny to Hollywood and more trade impacts

Now that the MLB trading deadline has come and gone, let's review the major deals from a fantasy perspective:

Manny Ramirez to Dodgers: I don't see Manny's value taking much of a dip in L.A. The change of scenery should bring out the carefree knucklehead we're used to seeing, and although the breakup of baseball's most feared duo (Manny and David Ortiz) hurts both players a bit, both should continue their slugging ways.

Jason Bay to Red Sox: Bay is no Manny, but he's an All-Star-caliber player, and he'll certainly benefit from playing in Fenway Park with a much better supporting cast than he had in Pittsburgh. He was in the midst of a really nice bounceback year, and he's already taken a liking to life with the Sox (homer, three RBIs, six runs scored, three walks in three games).

Craig Hansen, Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss to Pirates: Three of the four minor leaguers Pittsburgh acquired in their big three-team deal will get immediate playing time with the big league club. Hansen will be in the mix in the Pirates' bullpen and could be their closer of the future, a job he didn't have much chance of taking from Jonathan Papelbon in Boston. Save-scavengers take notice. Moss has a bright future as the Pirates' everyday left fielder, though he's probably a year or two away from making real fantasy contributions. LaRoche, once considered the Dodgers' third baseman of the future before falling out of favor, now holds that distinction in Pittsburgh, where he'll man the hot corner across the diamond from his big brother Adam. He's definitely worth adding in NL-only leagues if he's not owned already, but beyond that, take a wait-and-see approach as he gets his first real shot at regular playing time.

Ken Griffey Jr. to White Sox: Junior's uneventful tenure in Cincinnati comes to a close as he finally gets dealt to a contender. It's a shame he's no longer an elite player and no more than a third or fourth fantasy outfielder at best, but there's a chance a pennant race and the opportunity to play centerfield again gives his bat a little extra life for the next two months. The deal also means less playing time for the fading Paul Konerko as Nick Swisher moves from center to first base.

Ivan Rodriguez to Yankeees: We've seen Pudge change addresses a few times before with no problem, and the relocation to New York's powerful lineup shouldn't affect him much. While no longer a top-level fantasy catcher, his near-.300 average is more than adequate, and he's right on target for the same kind of numbers we've seen from him the past few years in Detroit. Nothing to worry about here.

Kyle Farnsworth to Tigers: Detroit had to upgrade the back end of its bullpen with Todd Jones faltering in the closer's role, replacement Fernando Rodney following in his footsteps and Joel Zumaya being an injury risk. Farnsworth's struggles in big spots are well-documented, but the fact remains he's a strikeout machine (averaging a K per inning this year) and could see save opportunities before long.

Mark Teixeira to Angels: Big Tex's move to L.A. means the Angels finallly have a serious hitter to plant in the middle of their lineup and give Vlad Guererro some help. Teixeira is a notorious second-half player, and we should see a slightly better average from him down the stretch to go with those home runs.

Casey Kotchman to Braves: Kotchman, one of the young talents the Halos have been hesitant to part with the past few years, will step in as Atlanta's everyday first baseman, and though he's a decent player, his limitations as a power hitter make him no more than a middle-tier first baseman in mixed leagues.

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