Trade: In Line 4 The Win | Long Ball to LF

In Line 4 The Win sends: SP Matt Moore ($9)
Long Ball to LF sends: SP Mike Leake ($14), 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I don’t mean to open this on a negative note, but my first thought upon seeing this deal was “wow, two pitchers I really don’t like.” I’m not really sure what it is, but neither Leake nor Moore have ever been guys I’ve been interested in on any level at all, really.

Leake is, to me, the definition of an okay emergency seventh starter. He’s got a career 4.24 FIP, a HR/9 of 1.13, and he barely strikes anyone out. He’s useful here and there, but it’s tough to predict when those games will be.

In Moore’s case, it seems like he’s still living a bit off the roto hype of 2012, when he had a solid first full season with a sub-4.00 ERA on a good Rays team. In 2013, he was a hot “sleeper” because he’d get wins and a presumably low ERA. But in our league, his linear weights just aren’t that enticing. He’s posted a 4.06 FIP and a 0.99 HR/9 in his career, which is meh on both fronts, while striking out 8.51 batters per nine and walking 3.99.

To me, these two pitchers are identical. Moore strikes a couple more batters out per nine than Leake, but he also walks a couple more to wash away any positive effect. Moore’s a year and a half younger, so I guess there’s “upside” at play, but he also pitches out of the tough AL East while Leake gets to throw in the NL, where half the teams are rebuilding.

I really don’t mean to be such a downer. It’s just… seriously, if you made me list five pitchers pre-auction that I would be completely out of the market on, these two guys would’ve made the list.

Having said all that, as a trade, this is fine. The pick is negligible — I feel like anything later than a 2nd rounder won’t carry much value — so essentially what you’ve got is a pick your poison move. Two identical guys but I like yours and vice versa, so let’s do it. And even with their flaws, as I said, both guys are solid as rotational depth. You won’t feel terrible starting Leake on a Sunday as your seventh. Back end starters like that are worth something (at least this is what I’ll keep telling myself as I attempt to sell Mat Latos, who isn’t all that dissimilar from either of these two guys).

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really do not have much to follow up after Bailey’s thoughts. The one thing I want to hit on is that the projections systems still have Leake as the better pitcher. He has to face the Cubs and Pirates more often, and that sucks, but otherwise he’s in the NL which is great. I think Leake has startable starts available, and I’m not a big fan of Matt Moore except in emergency.

The draft pick is weird.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Capital City Ironmen

Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: CF Clint Frazier (minors), 1B/2B/SS Ryan Flaherty (FA)
Capital City Ironmen send: 2B/3B Martin Prado ($4), SP/RP John Gant (minors)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I love this deal for Dusty. Martin Prado has been good. He fills two positions that makes Prado’s floor look a bit higher. Prado is decent enough to fill in the utility role as well. John Gant is an interesting prospect, he’s close to the majors, he’s a pitcher, could he make the jump? Sure! Or maybe not, whatever.

Clint Frazier is tough to lose, he was a prospect on my target list on the draft, and post draft, but he¬†does¬†not appear to a transcendent talent. He’s 21, he’s primed, but he could still be another away. Frazier could turn into a replacement level fantasy outfielder, or be a decent one, who knows. I know that’s such a cop out with prospects, but that is the point of their value in fantasy is it not?

Prado could go on for 3-4 years being useful to various teams. Frazier could go on to be anywhere from nothing to extremely useful for a whole career. How do you weight that value? This trade marks the first one that I can recall that a betterish prospect gets traded for something for today. Sure Gant’s value is there somewhere, but that’s like trading lottery one cost slightly more, has better odds, but either one ultimately could be worth more. Is Bailey selling already?

Andrew’s thoughts: When I acquired Chris Coghlan a while back, it was in part to give myself the flexibility to do something like this eventually. At the time I thought my pitchers would be healthy and team competitive, so I didn’t anticipate trading a vet for a prospect, but here we are.

For the Oysters,¬†Prado should be a good, inexpensive piece. Prado’s the definitive boring but productive player and starting at $6 in 2017, he’s got a couple years of good value left in him. Dusty can slot him into two positions, freeing up the versatile Josh Harrison to slide around elsewhere. What this move really does is boost his second utility spot, since he no longer has to play match-ups and lineup cards with guys like Sean Rodriguez, Ben Paulsen, and Ryan Howard.

He’s been absolutely lights out lately, including a streak of five straight games with multiple hits. But I also expect some regression from him, as he’s currently sporting a .440 BABIP that’s led to a .398 average and a .433 on-base percentage. He should still be good the rest of the way, but this was a good opportunity to sell at his peak.

For me, I feel like getting a¬†top-25 prospect in all of baseball is a big win in a year where I’m struggling to score points. In February, Baseball Prospectus pegged Frazier as the 23rd best dynasty league prospect, slotted between Rafael Devers and Austin Meadows. Frazier was the 39th guy off the board in our minor league draft and I remember thinking at the time that it was too low. Some guys that went ahead of him that I don’t think should have: Tim Anderson, Willson Contreras, Brady Aiken, and Anthony Alford.

With Prado gone, I can plug in either Coghlan, Chase Utley, or¬†Howie Kendrick at 2B and shouldn’t see too precipitous a drop.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Long Ball to LF

Long Ball to LF sends: SP Anibal Sanchez ($4)
Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: 2B/SS/3B/LF Jose Ramirez (FA)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I still believe in Anibal Sanchez in that something will click and he could be fixed kind of way. He battled injuries last year while being useful when he was available. High strikeouts while getting deep into games was his calling card. Now days he’s padding his stat line with walks and homers, not ideal.

Utility men are useful but lose-able. I think this is a good deal for both teams. I’d rather have Anibal, but that’s more less because I’m a whore for pitching. Both teams can walk away from this deal a winner.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†This is a fine trade for both sides.

Anibal Sanchez used to be very good but it’s now debatable whether or not he’s even serviceable. For the Oysters, he slots in as a wait and see emergency starter.

Jose Ramirez isn’t special as a slap hitter that makes consistent contact, but he plays a bunch of positions so there’s value as a utility man. As of typing this, he’s a 4.02 point per game, 1.064 point per plate appearance hitter. That’s essentially average. Average is good.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: 2B/3B/SS Cesar Hernandez ($3), 1B/OF Ben Paulsen ($3)
Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: SS Brandon Crawford ($14)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Well when you get Francisco Lindor, clearly you don’t need Brandon Crawford anymore. So you give him away. Hernandez has some value from being a strong backup at three positions. Do not confuse him with actually being good. Paulsen is fine, he hits in Coors.

Double Stuff win themselves a likely top ten short stop candidate, even in a field that has risen to the occasion. If Crawford ends up just being top 16, they ended up paying two bench pieces for a starting player. It’s a winning deal. I doubt any of these players have any long term value.

Andrew’s thoughts: I like this one for the Double Stuffs. As Jordan said above, two utility bench players is worth it for a starter. I don’t like Crawford much at all, but for $14, he’s more valuable to a roster than Hernandez or Paulsen.

This is sort of a weird follow up to Dusty’s other deal. He basically bought someone here (Paulsen) who plays the same spots as Hanley Ramirez but not nearly as well, so he acquired someone his previous deal made superfluous, and downgraded his back-up to Francisco Lindor from Crawford to Hernandez.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Long ball to LF

Long ball to LF sends: SS Francisco Lindor ($40) & 1B/LF Hanley Ramirez ($15)
Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: SP Kenta Maeda ($21)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really don’t like shipping off Kenta Maeda here. Five starts into his short MLB career so far, and he’s been better than advertised. 38 points per start. He’s efficient, able to get deep into games and strike hitters out. He also is quite fun to watch, which probably has less value in fantasy that I give it for.

Maeda just had his worst start where he finished with 27 points. His pitch counts have been well managed and there’s just so much to like about him. Even if Maeda gets hammered by greed dollars, he’s still keepable at under $50. I hate sending him away for anything less tier 1 ace return.

Long ball gets an ace, and they send off some overprice pieces. You’re not a baseball fan if you’re not aware of where Hanley Ramirez‘s value stands. So far this season, he’s not walking, striking out more and the power isn’t making up for it. A .696 OPS for a first basemen is not good enough. The Red Sox have a problem on their hands. Hanley was overpriced in the auction is certain to be dropped at the end of the season. While he does provide some what consistent low bar production, he’s a throw in for this kind of deal.

Francisco Lindor is the presumed prize coming back. He’s been good. Not great, but good. Andrew’s already written about positional adjusted values. Short stops this year have been all good. Lindor’s 5 points per game should have been top 5, but right now its 10th. Aledmys Diaz, Jean Segura, and Zack Cozart are names you should not expect to hold on to finish ahead of Lindor, but they are there now. Guys like Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Starlin Castro, and Corey Seager should not be surprising. If all the sudden short stops are a deep enough position, there’s just no prize here. Guys like Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt, Asdrubal Cabrera have all been better than average for years past. They’re all basically free. If you can get a player who’s an everyday guy without punting the position you are golden. If we knew what we knew now in the draft, I have to imagine that Lindor is going for $25-30. That isn’t insignificant. He’s good, but that perceived value is just gone when the 2nd and 3rd tier of a position show up.

Dusty has really won many trades in this league so far, and this was not one of them. Lindor replaces Jose Ramirez in the line up. It is an improvement. But, now Dusty is one less ace short in a world where you cannot have too many.

Johnny couldn’t cash this check fast enough in my opinion. He gets value for a player he didn’t need. Dallas Keuchel wasn’t enough to carry the rotation, adding Maeda to that makes his pitching staff leagues better. Fantastic move.

Andrew’s thoughts: I know Dusty really likes Lindor and has a solid pitching staff with or without Maeda, but I’d rather have the pitcher here.

For starters, Lindor is probably overpriced. He’s young and a shortstop¬†though, so hooray, $40! I just don’t like his price — or Hanley’s, for that matter — and think Maeda’s a bargain. Anything can happen, of course. Maeda had some questionable medicals and he’s just making his first run through the league, so maybe we’re seeing the best he has. Even still, I wouldn’t view this as a “sell high” in a league where pitching is at a premium. To me, Lindor and a potentially finished Hanley aren’t a big prize.

But hey, who knows? As I said, Dusty still has pitching and now his offense should be slightly improved, salaries be damned.

Side note: Dusty previously traded Hisashi Iwakuma for Khris Davis, then abruptly cut Davis because he was underperforming through less than 20 games. Just thinking aloud here, but would you rather have Davis on your roster or Hanley? I think most would say Hanley. He’s got the longer track record and qualifies at an extra position. And that isn’t a bad answer. Point is, is the gap between Davis, who was cut flat out, and Hanley, who was a key piece in dumping off a really good starting pitcher, really that big? I don’t think it is.

Trade: Who’s Your Haddy? | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Steven Wright (FA)
Who’s Your Haddy? sends:¬†1B John Jaso ($1)

Jordan’s thoughts: Steven Wright is a 31 year old starting pitcher who has shown flashes of being useful mixed with a whole lot of reasons to explain why he does not get drafted in a 480 player draft. So he gets picked up in free agency. As we all should know with slightly-below-average pitchers their values fluctuate up and down like the mood swings of a love sick teenager.

Wright has made four starts. He’s averaging 36.38 points per start. It is April, it is early, and this has some incredible potential value. Wright has been a tier 1 starter over four starts. He could continue this all season, it could go on for a half season, or for another start or two. The potential value is real.

So Wright gets flipped for John Jaso. The former catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates now at first base has been worth quite a bit himself. 6.12 points per game would likely see him end up in the top 20 hitters in the league. He’s walking more than he strikes out and hits with some power. He has been incredibly consistent.

So two really hot players who a month ago were basically worth nothing, get flipped and they potentially could both be really valuable. Or a month from now they’re both back on the waiver wire. Baseball is hard to predict.

Andrew’s thoughts: I fundamentally like John Jaso as a player and do not like Steven Wright as a player, so…

Thus far, everything about Wright’s season screams fluke to me. His FIP is almost a full point better than his career average. He’s striking out almost two more hitters per nine innings. His HR/9 is 0.77 points below his career’s rate.

Maybe what we’re witnessing is a breakout. It’s totally possible. But I doubt it.

Jaso, meanwhile, is just doing what he does. His OBP and wOBA are up slightly from his career norms, but just slightly. He’s striking out way less than normal, but NL pitchers will probably adjust and start getting more K’s from him. Whatever. He’s a career .362 OBP guy. As a first baseman, he offers sub-par power, but he’s a fantastic fit as a UTIL in our league.

I usually lean pitcher, but I want Jaso here. It’s not an unfair deal though.

Trade: Preseason Double Stuffs | We Talk Fantasy Sports

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Ian Kennedy ($6), 2B Rougned Odor ($22)
We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Tai Walker ($27), CF Odubel Herrera ($2)

Jordan’s thoughts: Have you seen what Ian Kennedy has done recently? He scored 43 last week despite giving up a homer. He want 7 deep and struck out seven. The strikeouts seem be working for Kennedy since signing with the Royals this offseason. He looks incredibly good. Two starts is hardly a sample size for a reasonable change in value, but at $6 and after two starts, this seems like a good buy.

Odor on the other hand has had a rough go in 2016 thus far. He’s not getting walks, the base hits will come, but they are not here yet. While there’s reason to believe the 22 year old will find his own and continue to grow as a MLB hitter, its unlikely that he is a keeper at season’s end for $24. He can fill the hole for now, but next year you want him at a lower price.

I really like Tai Walker a lot. Obviously I’m a biased Mariner fan who cannot get over Walker’s stuff. His first two starts this year have been alright, going six innings in both, four strikeouts a piece. Not awesome, but not terrible. He’s 23 and potentially still an ace. He was a top prospects not long ago. I like Walker to get better as he continues to learn how to pitch through an inning. I watch a lot of him, and I believe he relies on his stuff more than he needs to. If he can put it together he will be electrifying.

Herrera has been hot this year. 5.96 points per game for the Philles so for this year. You have to like that he’s walked 12 times in 13 games, has three extra base hits and a stolen base to boot. If the walk rate is legit, then Herrera is a big threat to be very valuable in this league.¬†Last year he got on base 34% of the time, a slight improvement is not unlikely, and there is reason to believe his batting average can come up.

This trade is harder to break down than most. I would much rather have the Walker/Herrera side, but the arguments that Odor (being much better than this) and Kennedy (being legit again) hold their own. Likely I see Walker being better than Kennedy, and Odor being slightly better than Herrera, but not by much. Win for the oreos.

Andrew’s thoughts: I think Taijuan Walker and Ian Kennedy may just be the same guy when all is said and done. They’ve both struggled some with consistency. Kennedy because of walks and homers, Walker because he’s young and young guys tend to be rollercoaster ride performers. I certainly don’t think Kennedy is $21 worse than Walker, particularly not pitching in front of that Royals defense. I’m not even sure Walker has more “upside” than Kennedy. Kennedy’s always been a high strikeout guy and he’s had some stud seasons — see 2011 and 2014 — so if he can resolve the walk/homer issue, there’s no reason to think he can’t make a huge leap. He’s only 31. He’s not old.

If you consider the pitchers roughly equal, then the Roughned Odor versus Odubel Herrera contrast is what makes or breaks the deal. And for me, I want Odor, though his $22 kinda stinks (hahahah get it?!).

Herrera was quite a breakthrough last year as a Rule 5 pick and has been even better this year. It’s super early, but he’s got a .366 wOBA, a 22.6% walk rate, and his ISO is up .025. All of that is good, but again: small sample. Either way, this was a 3.9 win player in 2015, so he’s quite good. That he only went for $2 at auction suggests he was viewed as a fluke, but his start to 2016 hints at maybe that being fallacy.

Odor, meanwhile, posted a March/April wOBA of .250 that sunk to .153 in May of last year. He’s at .284 two weeks into 2016, so he’s actually starting better than he did a year ago. But once the calendar flipped to June, Odor was a monster. His month-by-month wOBAs from June 2015 forward: .443, .405, .354, .304. Those are some superstar numbers. (To be fair to Herrera, he had a .415 in July.)

To me, this looks like a young player who makes adjustments. Maybe he’s just a slow starter. But the talent is in there.

Really though, Herrera and Odor are about as equal to one another as Walker and Kennedy, and the cash difference is there too. They play different positions, so for their acquiring teams, they can afford to make theoretical lateral moves if it means eliminating positional needs.

For next year, Kennedy’s price advantage over Walker is more alluring to me than Herrera’s advantage over Odor. I’d want the cheap pitcher.

So I think I prefer the Kennedy/Odor side myself, but it’s really close.

Trade: TBD | Team Hydra

TBD sends: LF,CF Kevin Pillar ($5)
Team Hydra sends: P Kyle Gibson ($7)

Jordan‚Äôs thoughts:¬†Here is finally a trade that I feel pretty strongly about the results. I think Kevin Pillar is a fine player. He’s a borderline starter in CF and in LF. He plays everyday. All of this is fine and good. But, he’s really not really a prize. He’s started this season off with a slow 3.05 points per game average. There’s not a lot to love. Granted Team Hydra has been spending the last two weeks trying to replace AJ Pollock with about anything that moves.

The reason I’m so down on Hydra for making this swap is that I believe Kyle Gibson has a lot to offer. Gibson had 16 starts last year where he pitched over 30 points. Touching 56 once. He did have two meltdown starts, but his floor is relatively high with potential to be good or even great. This is the kind of pitcher in my opinion that has a gross amount of value because he is serviceable in basically any week you need him, but he profiles as a guy that can improve slightly and be a consistently good pitcher.

This isn’t to say that Pillar can’t do the same things in center, but I just don’t like getting a borderline hitter for a pitcher who can score you points. Injuries make you do funny things, but I think this trade was desperate by the wrong team.

Andrew’s thoughts: I’m with Jordan. I don’t like it much for Hydra.

The context is really important: TBD had six starts heading into Sunday, so they needed to quickly acquire a seventh or just go without. In my experience, teams who have an extra start on Sunday think this gives them leverage to deal, when usually it just leads to a hasty move.

As Jordan mentioned, Kevin Pillar is fine. He hits atop a strong lineup and his defense will keep him in there. Sometimes, just playing every day carries weight. But he’s not particularly good hitter, posting just .310 wOBA last year. That needs to improve significantly for him to be anything other than a serviceable bench option.

Kyle Gibson, meanwhile, is as boring as they come but considerably more valuable. If a league average starter scores you between 24-25 points per start, Gibson’s been above that two years running. He averaged 25.39 in 2014 and 26.38 last year. He’s not setting the world on fire and probably doesn’t have much more development to do, but a slightly above average pitcher is significantly more useful than an average at best outfielder.

On Sunday, Hydra dropped Austin Jackson, who plays CF/RF and had a .305 wOBA last year. He’s older than Pillar, but the profile is almost identical. So in a roundabout way,¬†you could argue that Gibson was just erased from Hydra’s roster and centerfield was left exactly as is.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Rocky Mountain Oysters

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: C Blake Swihart ($14)
Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: C JT Realmuto ($9)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Deals like this just do not seem to happen very often. HLR dealt with the news of Swihart being sent down to the minors by shipping him off to another team. He replaces his backup catcher with a guy who in pre-season was projected to be a borderline fantasy starter. There¬†is no real reason to love Realmuto. There¬†is no real reason to dislike him. He’s an everyday catcher who does okay.

Swihart in 6 games this year went 5/18 with no extra base hits, but did add 4 walks. Getting sent down does not help Swihart’s case for future stardom. In the draft both of these catchers were likely overpays, and both do not appear keep-able in any real sense. With that said, does Swihart now being green flagged, does that change anything?

RMO can probably afford to drop their 15th prospect and cross their fingers. Perhaps Swihart comes back and has a great finish to this 2016 campaign. But its a two edged sword. He’s $14 going on $16 to keep. If he gets ridiculously hot, he’s a easy target for greed dollars. $16 would put him in to top 7 for paid catchers. There is just likely better options, and while HLR did not get much in return for him, I do not think he lost anything either.

Andrew’s thoughts: This is sort of like trading two nickels for a dime. In the immediate sense, Realmuto’s clearly more valuable. He plays for a major league team, while Swihart… who knows. There are rumors he’ll be demoted, lose playing time, switch positions. It’s just a mess.

That’s the thing about young catchers. They almost all develop their defensive game first, then work on their hitting. So they rarely hit the majors capable of hanging with big league pitching. It takes a while before these guys do anything fantasy relevant. That development is part of the reason Swihart is getting sent back down — except it’s the opposite for him. His defense and game calling needs work. So basically, his offensive game thus far is at least somewhat indicative of what he is. And that is serviceable but mostly meh. His offensive production is fine for a catcher, but if he becomes an OF or 1B, he’s instantly worth next to nothing. Obviously his bat isn’t done developing either, but you get my drift.

I¬†agree with Jordan that neither of these guys have super attractive long-term prices and so yeah, give me Realmuto, who I can at least rely on today. Derek Norris went for $5 and Francisco Cervelli went for $7, and those guys were top six catchers a year ago. So that you’re already paying more for Swihart and Realmuto, I just… I don’t know what you’re paying for? I suppose with Swihart more so than Realmuto, you want him because “upside,” but I’m also not sure what that ceiling really is. Unless it’s Buster Posey, it probably doesn’t matter at the catcher position. The gap between catchers is so slim that whether you’re the second best catcher or eighth best catcher is almost negligible.

It’s a fair deal though. Or at least justifiable from both sides. There’s nothing wrong with it. Without an in-season cap you don’t have to do anything with Swihart until next season, but if he gets demoted, I’m not sure paying $16 next year is even an option at which point, why not just hold onto the 2016 contributor in Realmuto?

Trade: Capital City Ironmen | In Line 4 the Win

Capital City Ironmen sends: C Jorge Alfaro
In Line 4 the Win sends: 2B/LF/RF Chris Coghlan ($4)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†-This move struck me as a curious one when I first saw it. I’m not super familiar with Alfaro, but catching prospects are the lowest form of prospects available. So the cost is pretty low. I like players like Chris Coghlan. He covers you at three positions and if he’s facing off vs a lefty, he’s good enough to stick at utility on a daily basis. I like this deal a lot for Capital City they gain a low risk medium reward bench player for a prospect. it’s a win.

Andrew’s thoughts: I like Chris Coghlan a lot. Coming into 2016, he had a .358 wOBA against right-handed pitching over his previous 781 at-bats. That’s, like, really good. Particularly from a 2B. The bonus with Coghlan is that he’s also got LF/RF eligibility and has started a game at 3B this year, which means four more and he’ll have that unlocked. I’ve got a few decent outfielders that each qualify at just one corner spot, which means having to spend extra roster spaces on back-ups. It may not happen immediately, but adding Coghlan at least opens up some better opportunities for flexibility as the season goes on.

Meanwhile, Jorge Alfaro is a guy that just sort of fell into my lap on draft day, so I didn’t feel super connected to him. And obviously I don’t place a ton of value on catchers. His power and K’s profile makes him risky, but all prospects are. If he can make it to the majors without being converted to the outfield, the power alone could make him a league average catcher, which is valuable given that he’ll have cost control status.