Welcome back, Razzballers, to the second iteration of Saturday Stove Deals, which has since been renamed The Saturday Morning Post, cuz this is comin’ to you on a Saturday morning and it’s a super original spin on The Saturday Evening Post. Pretty deep, eh? This is where I’ll be doing my bestest to recap the happenings of the MLB offseason each week, putting a fantasy angle on it all.
Since last time around, the stinky stuff has hit the fan. There have been more non-tenders than there are tenders at a Popeye’s. There have been befuddling trades. There have been trade rumors. There have been more signings with fantasy implications. And more!
It’s clear that there have been financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s up to you to decide if you really think it’s the pandemic or if it’s just a convenient excuse owners can make. I’m not here to sway you one way or the other on that front – I just do fantasy! But the types of names that have wound up on the market since my last post are rather surprising and probably wouldn’t be there in a regular ol’ non-pandemic world.
Be all that as it may, we can all agree that the 2021 fantasy baseball landscape is murky. Lots of new faces will be in new places. We had an NL DH last year but probably won’t this year. But then again maybe we will? See more on Buster Olney and the NL DH down below. And aside from the obvious, there’s yet another disease fantasy baseball pundits are all battling: Small Sample Size Syndrome. That’s not what my wife said, though, amirite?! *BRO FIVE*
Okay, here’s what I got for yinz this week.
Trevor May signed with the Mets for two years. Had a real nice 2020 and a whoppin’ 14.66 K/9. Dropped the walk rate from 9.8% to 7.3%. Best SwStr% of his career. Nice guy to have in holds leagues, I’d think. Always a chance Edwin Diaz implodes, too.
Mike Minor signed with the Royals for two years. Don’t love the dude in fantasy, especially pitching for the Oh, Boy-als, but he’ll get reps and could be a decent flier for ratios. Quietly put up a 7.94 H/9 and 9.85 K/9 last season.
Franchy Cordero and the Royals avoided arbitration. Normally I’m not going to bring up an avoided arbitration case, and I don’t have anything to say about him that Grey didn’t already say here, but I wanted to bring him up to reiterate Grey’s point of the huge return-on-investment upside here.
Matt Wisler signed a one-year deal with the Giants. Posted a 1.07 ERA, 35 K in 25.1 IP, and a 5.33 H/9 with the Twins last year. If his walks were even decent, he’d be damn near elite. Had three holds and a save as well, so he might be a nice asset in the right league.
Adam Eaton returns to the White Sox, signing a one-year deal. Looks like he’ll be the starting right fielder. Good fantasy value if he can stay healthy and hit atop the order. Alas, I can never bet on that with him. If you could ultimately scoop him off the wire or get him cheap in a deep league, then go for it.
Carlos Santana signed for two years with the Royals. 2020 was nothing like 2019 on the surface, but a lower than normal BABIP is to blame for some of that .199 AVG. Still drawing walks like a champ, so OBP leagues sure could use him, even if the average stays poor. Really 2019 looks like an outlier, and I wouldn’t trust him to get back up to that level. But again, nice cheap OBP league type guy. RosterResource has him slotted cleanup behind Merrifield, Mondesi, and Perez. KC is bad, but they did just get a little better if those three can even come close to repeating last season. Plus he’ll have Soler behind him.
Whooooole buncha good, fantasy relevant names are about to fill up this section. Ready?
Whew. All of these dudes are free agents now. Ain’t that somethin’? Duvall is coming off a HR-laden 2020 season, and maybe if the NL DH would stick around, so would he. Same goes for Schwarber. But Rosario getting cut loose? That one turned me all topsy-turvy. Alberto is like the best vLHP streamer/DFS add there is. Rodon and Namara have plenty to offer. These guys aren’t all All-Stars or anything, but it’s pretty crazy they all got cut loose at the same time. They’re not fringe minor leaguers; they’re legit names. Remains to be seen what we can realistically expect from them for the 2021 season.
Lance Lynn was traded to the White Sox!! That’s the kind of offseason content I signed up for! Sexy young Dane Dunning is headed to the Rangers, while the Sox have one of the best Top 3’s in the game now. Lynn was sparkling again in 2020 and has completely revitalized his career after some pit stops with the Yankees and Twins. He’s a bit older, but I see zero reason to believe he’s on a downward trend yet. Best H/9 since his debut season and best O-Swing% of his career last season. And now he has that boomin’ offense to bolster the fantasy value. (Side note: Dunning’s mom liked a tweet of mine once so I’m a stanboi of his now – but bias aside, don’t sleep on him too hard even though he’s gone to a worse team).
Nate Lowe got shipped in another deal for the Rangers, acquiring the first baseman from the Rays. Lowe was criminally underused in Tampa, so I’m excited to see what he can do in Texas. Potential excellent sleeper value here, methinks, but the K% needs real work. Hits the ball hard, had a 15.4% barrel rate in 2020, has shown good BB% throughout the minors, and straight REKT him some minor league pitching throughout 2018 and 2019. Keep him well within your sights come draft day.
Raisel Iglesias was sent to the Angels for next to nothing. Purely a salary move. With Hansel Robles getting non-tendered, the Halos have a new closer now. An excellent one. It was the best season he’s had: 4-3, 8 SV, 2.74 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 6.26 H/9, 34.1 K%, 5.5 BB%, and 18.6 SwStr%. Grey went deep into this in his Raisel Iglesias trade piece.
Corey Knebel was once one of the best RPs in the fantasy. Then he got hurt and missed all of 2019. Wasn’t good at all in 2020. So the Brewers dealt him to the World Champion Dodgers. Watch him get good again.
Kris Bryant‘s name has been tossed around in trade talks, but I dunno if anyone’s biting. Recently it surfaced that the Nationals’ interest is “tepid at best.” Verbatim how I feel about him for fantasy. I’ve always thought he was overrated; I get flack for it all the time. Even healthy, I don’t think he’s worth what people think he is in fantasy (save for OBP leagues, I guess). Maybe the Dodgers will bite? Justin Turner is a free agent now.
Like I mentioned up top, there’s really not much news one way or the other on the NL DH. I am personally a massive, massive fan. I can’t for the life of me understand why the AL has had it and the NL hasn’t all these years. Either get rid of it or give it to both sides. (The right answer is give it to both sides, cuz pitchers tryna hit is like me tryna hit – I don’t care what you purists say). Some of those non-tenders above will not find this to be good news. And one of the best sluggers in baseball, Nelson Cruz, still needs a home, and all he can do is hit. But everyone by now knows that teams have been told to operate as if no DH, but now ol’ Buster is throwing out that teams actually expect to have it?
I touched on this last week, but the Mets are probably going to get George Springer, according to Buster “Look Who’s At It Again” Olney. He would “bet his farm on it.” But, Buster (lol, I’m calling him Butt Buster now) also said the Phillies were shopping Zack Wheeler, and the Phils’ owner said that’s as false as can be, so take everything from Butt Buster with a giant grain of salt. Gettin’ salty with Butt Buster? Hmm…. Mets also still very much in the running for Trevor Bauer and James McCann. What a trifecta, if they can pull it off.