Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw break down the moves made at the trade deadline and the implications for your fantasy team.
Reds Trade for Jonathan Broxton
For the Reds, Jonathan Broxton simply provides depth and some closer experience. However, he is destined for a middle relief role with the club in front of Aroldis Chapman. The Royals get two quality arms in return and Greg Holland becomes the closer in Kansas City.
Rangers Acquire Ryan Dempster
With the Angels breathing down their necks, the Rangers had to do something before the trade deadline, especially with Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz lost for the season. Ryan Dempster had already been traded to the Braves but he rejected the move last week. He did, however, welcome a trade to the Rangers mere hours before the trade deadline. This is a move that will help Dempster quite a bit when you consider that he has won just five of his 16 starts despite a 2.25 ERA. His ERA is likely to rise in Texas, but I’m sure fantasy managers will welcome it with the additional wins due to the Rangers run support.
Shane Victorino Traded to the Dodgers
One of the better offensive outfielders in baseball, Shane Victorino ends his career with the Phillies now that he has been traded to the Dodgers. He gets plenty of steals, has some pop and reaches base often. However, in Los Angeles, he will likely lose some of that pop, which could keep his average down a tad. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 1999, Victorino owns a .357 average at Dodgers Stadium and will benefit from having Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the lineup.
Hunter Pence Traded to the Giants
This is the big surprise, as Hunter Pence is 29 years old and clearly in his prime. Though Pence has lost some of his speed this season, he does have some pop and is a line drive hitter. A move to the Giants could cost him some home runs, but at least he will play some meaningful baseball this fall. Regardless, overall the move hurts Pence’s fantasy value.
Yankees Acquire Casey McGehee
For a second straight season, Casey McGehee has struggled at the plate but he is a fine Ty Wigginton type player who can contribute in big moments. What this acquisition does is hurt the fantasy value of Eric Chavez, as three is now a crowd with Jayson Nix also taking some at-bats away while filling in for the injured Alex Rodriguez.
Pirates Acquire Gaby Sanchez
The Pirates had nothing to lose and now hope that a change of scenery will do some good for Gaby Sanchez. After two straight seasons with 572 at-bats and 19 home runs, Sanchez struggled mightily this season with just three home runs and a .202 average before being relegated to the minor leagues. The 28-year-old moves to a more hitter-friendly ballpark and a surprisingly better lineup to resurrect his career.
Cardinals Acquire Edward Mujica
Last year the Cardinals brought in relief help including Octavio Dotel and it worked out well for them. This year, the Cardinals have a bit more work to do but they will not let the bullpen be the team’s unraveling. On Tuesday, the Cards acquired Edward Mujica, a hard-thrower with solid control. He does surrender some home runs but is another quality arm to help bridge the gap to Jason Motte.
Pirates Acquire Travis Snider
Another cheap pickup for the Pirates, Travis Snider has some serious potential, but it just did not work out in Toronto. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is a fine place for him to establish himself and at 24 years old, he has some time to reach his potential. I see Snider as a potential 30-homer guy with more than 10 steals and a respectable average. He is the big bat that the Pirates would love to team up with Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen.
Blue Jays Trade Steve Delabar for Eric Thames
A feel good story in Seattle, Steve Delabar went from a coach to a player in a little over a year and has averaged well over a strikeout per inning this season. He provides the Blue Jays with the power arm that they expected to have in the injured Sergio Santos. His value takes a minor decline since he moves from the pitcher’s haven Safeco Field to the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Eric Thames makes the reverse move from Toronto to Seattle. There won’t be many complaints from Thames since he will likely get a crack at playing everyday with the Mariners. He has some power but really struggles when it comes to the strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Braves Acquire Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm
A .300 hitter for a second straight year, Reed Johnson is very much a utility player with no fantasy value. On the other hand, Paul Maholm has enjoyed his time in Chicago with a 9-6 record and a solid 3.74 ERA. He has surrendered a run or fewer in each of his last six starts. Maholm also boasts a 1.69 ERA in five career starts at Turner Field. Though the Braves only made this deal since Ryan Dempster rejected the trade to Atlanta, I do think this is a nice fit with Maholm as hot as any pitcher in baseball right now.
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BY ROB SHAW
The 8th pick of the 2003 draft, Paul Maholm finishes his Pirates career with 53 wins and 73 losses in 185 starts. He did not carry much momentum at season’s end, as he lost his final five decisions as the opposition hit .355 against him following the All-Star break.
The Cubs are hoping that the southpaw will perform at a higher level outside of Pittsburgh similar to former Pirates hurler Jon Lieber, who excelled with the Cubs. The big question is whether Maholm has the making of an above average pitcher.
Prior to the All-Star break Maholm dominated, limiting the opposition to a .227 average and a .298 OBP. The problem here is that a larger sample size is the 2010 season and the opposition hit .303 against him then.
A move to Chicago does not seem like a career-saver for the 29-year-old veteran. In fact, he will have enough pressure on him simply to stay in the starting rotation.
Despite a run of six straight seasons with 11-plus wins a few years back, Jason Marquis is not considered one of the better hurlers in baseball. After some success including an 8-5 record and 3.74 ERA through 20 starts with the Nationals last season, the New York native did not fare as well when he was dealt to the Diamondbacks. Marquis imploded with a sky-high ERA of 9.53 in three starts.
The main problem for Marquis is that he is simply too hittable. The opposition hit .291 against him prior to the All-Star break and that’s when things were going well for him. He is a junkball pitcher (46% of his pitches are off-speed), who eats innings and gives his team a shot at staying in the game.
The good news is that Marquis moves to a pitcher’s park in Minnesota, which should help keep the ball in play and lead to more outs. While he could reach double digits in wins once again, his fantasy value remains limited due to his lack of strikeouts and soaring WHIP.
The Rays have been known for taking underachieving relievers and making them a part of an elite bullpen. The latest hurler to be added to the mix is former Tigers closer Fernando Rodney, and his potential is sky high.
Rodney has been solid in the past, racking up 37 saves for the Tigers in 2009. However, last season was a step in the wrong direction as he walked more batters than he struck out for the first time in his career. Rodney has a high velocity fastball, and he can be unhittable at times. In fact, last season the opposition mustered just a .224 average against him all season, but because of his wildness, his ERA ballooned to 4.50.
Part of the issue last season was that Rodney was not 100% healthy. This season he should be able to bounce back, and with the Rays pitching tutelage working in his favor, a fine ERA and many strikeouts is very realistic. Regardless, without saves his fantasy value is limited.
By R.J. Anderson //
Biggest Surprise: James McDonald
No secret to regular Bloomberg Sports blog readers, is a favorite ’round these parts. McDonald is worthy of the endearment thrown his way because of his stellar strikeout rate (8.32 K/9 IP). His playable 4.09 ERA is backed by a 3.19 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, a stat that runs along the same scale as ERA but strips out the impact of defense, park effects and other factors beyond a pitcher’s control). McDonald was acquired for a half season of a non-elite reliever, a technique Billy Beane described as “Building a Closer” in Moneyball.
Biggest Bust: Charlie Morton
One of the keys in the Nate McLouth deal, Morton’s 2010 season never opened the Pleasantville gates. Good build and strong velocity make Morton a pitcher scouts like, but his stuff ha yet to translate to strikeouts in the big leagues. After returning from the disabled list, the occasional big strikeout game disappeared too, making him virtually unwatchable. He’s better than the abysmal 8.11 ERA he’s posted this season, but there are many pitchers with a lot more potential, even in deep leagues.
2011 Keeper Alert: James McDonald
McDonald should get his first shot at a 200-inning season next year, which could translate into lots of strikeouts and solid ratios, even if the win total might falter playing for the rebuilding Pirates.
2011 Regression Alert: Paul Maholm
Maholm is a groundball-heavy pitcher who relies heavily on his infield defense taking fieldable balls and converting them into outs. Unfortunately, the infield defense did not do a worthwhile job this season, and thus, Maholm wound up with an ERA over 5. If the Pirates address their hole-filled defense this off-season, expect Maholm to bounce back and make for a nifty sleeper.