What I never understood about the trading deadline is why wait until the last second to make a trade? Did the Padres really wake up on July 31st and think they suddenly needed a bat? Wasn’t this apparent on April 2nd? I understand you don’t trade for pieces if you’re out of it, but the Padres, for instance, haven’t been out of it all season, unless they assumed they weren’t contending when the season started. Maybe they wouldn’t have got Ryan Ludwick, because the Cards may not have been selling him in April, but they needed someone. Then there’s the other deals that remind me of my friend who buys things just because they are on sale. “Do you really need a 120 count box of chicken bouillon?” “No, but Shop-Rite was selling Chicken Bazillions for only $2.99.” So, in that vein, do you really need Matt Capps when Jon Rauch is serviceable? No, but we’ve been dying to shed these upside prospects and the price was right. Deep thoughts by Grey Albright, I suppose. Anyway, here’s what I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Lance Berkman – Traded to the Yankees. This is one of those moves that’s actually better for fantasy. In real baseball, adding Berkman to the Yankees lineup is like adding pecan sandies to a tray of chocolate chip cookies. Hey, if you like a pecan sandie, then go for it. I think you were fine with the chocolate chips. Let’s face it, leaving Houston helps anyone’s value. Berkman goes from between Keppinger and The Glue They Once Called El Caballo to hitting in an All-Star lineup. Hey, Runs and RBIs, nice to see you again. As I mentioned in the comments when the trade went down, A-Rod’s sitting at 16 homers, so don’t expect The Stadium They Built Next To The Stadium That Ruth Built to suddenly add 20 homers to Berkman. He’s still old and struggling. Value goes up, but only so much.
Ryan Ludwick – I always want to write Lyan Rudwick. Not sure why. Anyhoo, Ludwick goes to the Padres. This move is almost lateral for Ludwick. Maybe a slight nudgwick up on value. He wasn’t playing every day in St. Louie, but he wasn’t hitting in Petco either. That’s six of one, half dozen warning track fly outs. Ludwick seemed like he ran his course in La Russa Land, so the fact the Padres appreciate him might boost his confidence. It’s the Sally Field syndrome. Ludwick, “They like me! They really like me!”
Joel Hanrahan – Remind me not to pay attention to Buster Olney anymore. First he tells me Cliff Lee is traded to the Yankees then he says Hanrahan will be the closer only to watch Dotel get traded and Meek to enter the closer picture. Olney, you’re on notice. If you have room, you need to own both Meek and Hanrahananananan. The good news is they’re both solid. I do think Hanrahanananan is the first one to get saves. Meanwhile, Dotel’s a don’t own.
Aaron Heilman – With Qualls going off to the Rays, this should clear up who’s closing in Arizona. Now Heilman is not good, but they really can’t keep going to Gutierrez. With the season he’s had, Gutierrez shouldn’t even be pitching in the major leagues anymore. And if you were holding out hope Qualls would turn his season around, you can now safely take him off life support, Kevorkian. (Speaking of which, I watched the HBO movie with Pacino and Sarandon this weekend. Wow, Al and Susan got long in the tooth. This was like when you go back to your old high school to see your former teachers and they’re all so much older than you remember them and it’s very depressing. Then, just when you didn’t think it could get any worse, you run into the hot English teacher you used to have a crush on and she has short gray hair and she’s wearing slacks from Ross, Dress For Less and she coyly mentions how she just got divorced and you think you might actually have a chance now and that makes you want to vomit on the Philly fan who vomited on another Philly fan.)
Ryan Howard – Left the game after jamming his ankle. I’m holding a candlelight vigil that he avoids DL. As of right now, the x-rays were negative, which is positive. Hopefully he just misses a few days.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – I’d give a dollar to hear a Masshole pronounce Salty’s full name. Saltymochachino could be a sneaky dynasty pickup for those in deep leagues. For now, he’s bench depth for the Sawx.
Randy Wolf – Hit with a line drive on his wrist. He immediately left the game pist.
Ted Lilly – He’s been solid in away games this year, but terrible at Dodger Stadium over the last three years. That was facing the Dodgers and not the Padres, Giants and Diamondbacks. As long as the Lilly handles SoCal better than Snookie handles SoCo, this looks like a positive all around for him. Don’t think he gets much better than a mid-3 ERA going forward, but he’s a solid number three fantasy starter.
Ryan Theriot – Speed guys’ values don’t really change with a new environment. Terry-O do what he do, which is fine at MI.
Alex Gordon – 2-for-3 with his 2nd homer in three games and a 7 game hitting streak. It’s now or never time for Gordon and it looks like he’s going the now route. Grab him immediately.
Rick Ankiel – Since Bobby Cox doesn’t have much time left, it makes sense the Braves are looking towards the immediate future. And by immediate future, I mean August. Ankiel will split time in the outfield, which will hurt his value, but he wasn’t helping his value much anyway.
Martin Prado – Fractured his pinky and will probably be DL’d on Monday. Alfonseca would’ve just grown a new digit. If you need short term help, Infante should see the majority of the playing time.
Blake DeWitt – 3-for-4, 1 RBI. His Mom was hot, but he’s an end of the lineup hitter with little power or speed.
Aramis Ramirez – Just when you thought he turned the corner, he goes and turns another corner to end up back where he started with thumb problems.
Cristian Guzman – I’m embarrassed to say this, but in leagues where I need runs and average, I actually grabbed Guzman. In one league, I’ll be blahtooning him with Desmond. In another, him and fahgettaBartlett. When you punt MI, these are the choices you need to make. Guzman should have value until Kinsler returns, which may not be until the end of August. Yes, Kinsler’s out for a while and didn’t do shizz when he was playing.
Edinson Volquez – 5 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 6 Ks. The one earned run and win hide the 5 walks in five innings, which isn’t a great sign moving forward. He’s just as risky today as he was on Saturday.
Stephen Strasburg – ESPN reported Strasburg threw with no pain. They’ll be reporting later when Strasburg ‘goes to drop a deuce.’
Francisco Liriano – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks. I feel like his season has gone relatively unnoticed. He has 150 Ks in 136 IP. That’s the 3rd best K-rate in the major leagues. His xFIP is 2.92, which is the best in the majors, just above Halladay and Johnson.
Daniel Hudson – 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks. The Haren move was questionable for the Diamondbacks, but they redeemed themselves with this get. I love Hudson in NL-Only leagues and keepers. Wouldn’t surprise me to see January Grey write a sleeper post about Hudson for 2011. Gets the Padres next and has mixed league matchup appeal.
Adam LaRoche – 3-for-6, 6 RBIs with two homers. His cuckoo clock must’ve alerted him it’s August.
Dexter Fowler – Robbing what would of been Alfonso Soriano’s 2nd homer of the day, Fowler knocked hard against the wall. As he was carted off the field, I began to look for replacements for him. My guess is a 15-day DL stint.
Jeremy Hellickson – First let’s see what Stephen had to say when he went over him, “Hellickson has a lively low 90’s MPH fastball that tops out at 95, a curve that is thrown between 77 and 79 mph, and a solid changeup…. Overall, he has been able to keep a good K-rate, above-average control, and is keeping the ball in the park fairly well. A middle of the rotation pitcher is a definite reality.” That was prior to his 2010 minor league season, but not much has changed. In 117 2/3 IP of Triple-A this year, he has 123 Ks, only 35 walks and a 2.45 ERA. He’s getting the well-deserved start today vs. the Twins. That’s the good news. And there’s a lot of it. I’ll be tuning in to watch him pitch. The bad news is he doesn’t have a spot in the rotation. After the start, he may be sent back down until September.
Gavin Floyd – 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 5 Ks. After the game, Ozzie said, “Don’t even get me started on Caucasians.”
Jorge Cantu – I already went over the Cantu trade, but since then it was revealed that Cantu would platoon with rookie, Mitch Moreland. The Rangers need a rookie lefty in the lineup at all times? Very confusing move. Feel like it’s taking righty/lefty splits too far. Either way, this hurts Cantu value, which was margin already.
James Shields – 7 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks. If you started him vs. the Yankees, you deserved this start. But you probably didn’t so now you hate him even more than when you were starting him and he was putting up a near-5 ERA. He’s totally messing with you. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
Jeanmar Gomez – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 2 Ks. He had a 5.70 ERA in the minors. That’s a red flag with a skull and crossbones on it.
Chris Perez – Will now take over full-time closing duties for the Indians. He’ll be a Brain Freeze in this afternoon’s Closer Look, but he could perform like a Donkeycorn the rest of the way. Oh, and for people who understood that last sentence, thanks for reading. Pour some out for the people who read Donkeycorn and were like, “What the eff is this guy talking about? I’m going back to ESPN.”
Jake Westbrook – Scary thing is this, Westbrook, Kearns and Wood is what the Indians had to trade. Even Houston had Oswalt and Berkman. Maybe Duncan can do the voodoo that he do, but I wouldn’t grab Westbrook outside of NL-Only leagues until I saw him go.