The trade of Scott Feldman to the Orioles signaled the start of the march towards the July 31st deadline and with that we get back to the roots of the Diamond Exchange: Transaction Analysis. Granted this may not be that exciting a trade deadline period. As Todd pointed out the other day via twitter, there really are only eight teams out of contention (Twins, White Sox, Mariners Astros, Mets, Marlins, Cubs, and Brewers) and the pickings from those teams slim with the remaining twenty-two teams looking to add talent. Many teams may go with what they have and the trade market, therefore, could remain quite active (and perhaps more active) once we get past the non-waiver trade deadline as teams reassess their changes to claim a playoff berth.
Consider this. Scott Feldman may be one of the players, let along best pitchers, and traded in-season in 2013. Before you open your FAAB wallets in a panic however, let’s break the former Ranger down. Feldman, 30, has transformed a bit over the years, using his cut fastball around as often as his regular fastball while mixing in a curve. The lefty no longer utilizes a change-up, but occasionally throws in a split-finger fastball. To his credit, Feldman has become a strikeout pitcher over the past three seasons with three straight years of K/9 above the 6.0 mark all while continuing to pound the zone with frequency and doing a good job keeping the ball on the ground (over 50 percent of the time this year). While these are the makings of a solid pitcher, worthy of note in all formats of play, Feldman’s .343 ERA has been heavily fueled by a .257 BABIP. Keep in mind that with nearly the same exact skills, Feldman posted an ERA above 5.0 in 2012. However, his skills still indicate a much better pitcher than that (2012 was fueled by a 61% left-on-base rate and .318 BABIP). Expect to spend in excess of $25 to acquire Feldman, if not in excess of $40 in redraft leagues. Feldman will take a spot in the Orioles rotation ultimately at the expense of Zach Britton who is likely to lose his spot upon the return of Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list.
Carlos Villanueva will be moving back into the Cubs’ rotation as a result. The 29-year old has had a fair season as a swing-man posting a 3.45 ERA along with a 6.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. A fly-ball pitcher, Villanueva has a long track record for giving up homers at high rates despite otherwise good skills and stuff (12.1 percent career HR/FB rate). In other words, this trait can lead to quite a bit of volatility from start to start, though to the righty’s credit, he’s only given up more than 4 ER in only one of his eight starts this season.
In exchange, the Cubs acquired Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta. Arrieta was subsequently optioned to Triple-A while Strop’s role as a middle reliever remains unchanged. Both pitchers are rather hard throwers, emphasis on “thrower”. Arietta, now 27, owns a career 4.0 BB/9 and had posted a 6.8 this year. Since the righty was a minor leaguer it has been suggested a move to the bullpen, given his frame and good fastball/slider combination, would be wise. For now Arrieta will be a Triple-A starter Strop, 28, has struck out nearly a batter per inning over his career, but walked over half that. 2012 was the first full season of his career in the Majors, posting a 2.44 ERA despite a 5.0 BB/9 rate and 83% left-on-base rate. Strop will not factor into high-leverage situations.
The Cubs swapped Carlos Marmol (and really just international signing bonus slots) to the Dodgers in exchange for Matt Guerrier. Marmol was outrighted to Triple-A immediately after being acquired where the Dodgers hope they can fix the former closer. Guerrier will pitch in his familiar role of middle relief for the Cubs. The righty has just 6 saves to his name over the 5-plus years of his career and will not be a significant factor for fantasy leaguers.
The Gimp Guide
Venters and Diaz’s moves to the 60-day DL were procedural in nature as room on their organization’s 40-man rosters was needed. Josh Willingham will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Willingham has had this procedure previously and this type of injury is non-career threatening and should not impact his offensive skills. However, as an already sub-par outfielder, this further pushes Willingham down the path of becoming an everyday DH. The move will allow the Twins to play both Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia, the Twins true long-term outfield, everyday.
Paul Konerko was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain. The move was not done retroactively even though the Sox’s first basemen had missed the last several games due to the injury. In other words, the Sox want him to get all the rest he needs. It is quite possible Konerko has been dealing with this issue longer than publicly known which would explain the righty’s sudden power outage. Adam Dunn has slid over to first base in Konerko’s absence.
Trevor Cahill should return immediately following the All-Star break when he recovers from a bruised hip. A replacement has not yet been named, though the ball may continue to go to prospect Tyler Skaggs.
Peter Bourjos will miss at least two to three weeks with a fractured right wrist, pushing J.B. Shuck into the left field/leadoff spot. Shuck is a disciplined contact hitter with above average speed and is a worthwhile flier in AL only leagues.
Activated – Nolan Reimold, Edgmer Escalona Alex Avila, Jose Tabata, David Price, Bryce Harper, Aaron Hicks, Luis Ayala, Matt Tuiasosopo, Henderson Alvarez, Mike Pelfrey, Everth Cabrera, and Wilson Ramos.
Fresh Catch of the Day
The following players were brought up to their respective club’s MLB rosters this week: Collin Cowgill, Josh Lindblom, Gonzalez German, Todd Redmond, Donovan Solano, Chaz Roe, Brett Oberholtzer, Dave Sappelt, Chris Rusin, Joey Terdoslavich, Brent Morel, Josh Phegley, Blake Tekotte, David Purcey, Danny Hayes, Greg Burke, and Dan Straily.
Collin Cowgill may share time with J.B. Shuck in left field in a platoon. Joey Terdoslavich has some impressive power, but for now will be utilized in a pinch-hitter and back-up role off the Braves’ bench. Dan Straily returned to the A’s rotation, allowing 0 runs in 7 innings and will be given every chance to hold onto it. Straily has produced a solid 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, but has seen his ERA suffer as a result of a 63 percent left-on-base rate, but also owns a suppressed .263 batting average on balls in play. So while Straily’s skills suggest improvement, still keep in mind that we are talking about someone with fairly average across the board stuff and a middle-of-the-rotation at best upside.
Hitting the Bricks
The following players were optioned, released, sent outright, or DFA'd by their respective clubs:
Zach Lutz, Chien-Ming Wang, Jair Jurrjens, Bryan Holaday, Danny Valencia, Hector Ambriz, Jordan Brown, Ryan Roberts, Shawn Camp, Chris Rusin, Kyle McClellan, Jhonatan Solano, Clayton Mortensen, Jordan Danks, Hector Gimenez, Tom Koehler, Nick Hagadone, Avisail Garcia, Carlos Marmol, Stephen Vogt, P.J. Walters, Brandon Lyon, Burch Smith, Cory Gearrin and Erik Davis.