With the trade deadline in full swing, division races are an afterthought for many. As teams begin to position themselves as buyers or sellers, a cookie cutout of playoff races starts to take shape. If the San Francisco Giants are sellers, the National League West, much like the National League Central and National League East become two-team races. Although the Phillies may have something to say about that.

The sellers are plentiful, and the asking price, especially for superstars is at record levels. When the Seattle Mariner traded for Luis Castillo, the market was reset, slowing the pace considerably. What we thought was a steep price for Juan Soto or Frankie Montas, may have been low. Add Josh Bell, Pablo Lopez, Wilson Contreras Carlos Rodon, Ian Happ, Trey Mancini, and others, and it is anyone’s guess what the next 30 hours will look like.

For this reason, I am avoiding some players in my daily lineup. Josh Bell and Tarik Skubal will sit today, in the event today ends up being a travel day, should they be dealt. With the trade deadline fast approaching, I cannot take that chance.

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Andrew Heaney, SP: DK: $9,500 / FD: $9,400 – No longer a belly itcher, Andrew Heaney has filled in nicely. He has been nothing short of fantastic. Heaney enters Monday’s matchup with a 0.47 ERA and a .0879 WHIP. If you are familiar with his career you know this is out of character. Whatever Dodgers Pitching Coach, Mark Prior has tapped into, it is working. He faces the San Francisco Giant’s 23rd ranked offense. The usual rivalry will not pack the same punch against the .500 Giants, who are said to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Spenser Watkins, SP: DK: $5,900 / FD: $7,000Spenser Watkins will start against the Texas Rangers. Watkins has been very good in his last seven games, with an ERA just a hair above 3. Watkins finished the month of July as one of the best pitchers in baseball with an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of 1.09. The Orioles may luck out and miss Corey Seager. Seager has been hobbled with a bruised leg.

Christian Vazquez, C: DK: $4,500 / FD: $2,500 – Selecting a catcher in 2022 is like picking the best Cuba Gooding Jr. movie from the last decade. This is a safe play because he will play. Vazquez carries the tag of C/1B, which is especially useful on days like this. Half of the catching options split time, and Monday is the ideal off day for many. Especially if Thursday was a play day. Vazquez has been good as of late. Batting .333 in his last seven games. It should be noted the Red Sox recalled catching prospect, Ronaldo Hernandez, which may mean Vazquez could be on the move. Have a backup handy, and as is customary near the deadline – double check rosters, even after submission.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B: DK: $4,500 / FD: $3,700Anthony Rizzo is starting to pick it up after his worst month ever as a big leaguer in May. A bad June followed, but he is figuring it out now. Three of his last five games are multi-hit games. For context, in the ninety games previous, Rizzo only had eleven multi-hit games. Eeek! Okay, so Tony is warm. We like this. He is hitting after Aaron Judge, and we love this. Why anyone is pitching to Judge is beyond me. Rizzo will continue to see pitches and get opportunities behind Aaron Judge.

Jake Cronenworth, 2B: DK: $4,300 / FD: $3,300Jake Cronenworth has hit Antonio Senzatela well, going 7 for 14 in his career against the Colorado Rockies starter. Senzatela enters Monday with a 4.90 ERA in his last 15 outings. The San Diego Padres are positioned nicely for the second half. They are actively seeking upgrades at the deadline and barring any setbacks, Fernando Tatis Jr. will rejoin the team before the postseason. Jake has hit a measly .259 in his last fifteen games, but he hits Senzatela very well. Solid value for the price point.

Manny Machado, 3B: DK: $4,900 / FD: $4,000 – Another Padre who hits very well against Antonio Senzatela. We ourselves a bit of a bargain here due to Manny Machado’s semi-slump of late. Manny is hitting a dismal .213 in his last fifteen games, and while he has had his share of back luck and hard-hit outs, the strikeouts have accelerated. There is no matter slump buster than a familiar face. One that Manny Machado hits .400 against in 20 at-bats. I am expecting a huge night from Machado.

Francisco Lindor, SS: DK: $5,600 / FD: $3,600 – What is not to love with this selection? Lindor is hotter than a three-dollar pistol, coming off consecutive 3-hit games, and Patrick Corbin is possibly the worst starting pitcher in the National League, maybe in all of Major League baseball. Certainly, the worst starting pitcher in the National League East. Francisco has seen Corbin a lot, hitting .261 lifetime against the lefty. The headlines will be fixated on any developments with Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Fans will also be focused on Max Scherzer returning to Washington. In a very low-pressure, layup setting, Lindor should eat.

Anthony Santander, OF: DK: $4,900 / FD: $3,300 – Few players are hitting the baseball as well as Anthony Santader is. Not only is he hitting the ball well, but he is also piling up extra base hits, and driving runners in. he is hitting a robust .444 with 3 dingers and 7 RBI in his last seven games. In his last fifteen games, he’s hitting .339 with 14 RBI. Nearly one RBI per game. The switch hitter figures to see plenty of pitches to hit from the Texas Ranger’s right-handed starter, Jon Gray.

Alex Verdugo, OF: DK: $3,300 / FD: $2,500 – If you are leaning on most or all my picks you are going to need to find a cheap addition to fill. Here is that fill. Granted it is an exceedingly small sample size, only five at-bats, but Alex Verdugo is batting .400 against Houston Astros starter, Luis Garcia. Verdugo is batting fifth in the lineup, riding a five-game hitting streak, and hitting .321 in his last seven games. Verdugo is not a big RBI guy, but with few walks and only 11 strikeouts in the month of July, he is a big swing and make contact guy. He is a cheap add, and the timing is good.


I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Heavy rain projected in Cleveland. Game time may be pushed back, but they should get it in. Light rain in Houston. The skies should be clear just prior to game time.


Doing Lines In Vegas

 My picks: Mets -1.5, Yankees/Mariners Over 9, Diamondbacks +1.5


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