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Saturday 24th Feb 2018

Saturday, August 3 – 2:58 PM

At least I didn’t save a ton of FAAB dollars in my NL-only league for the trade deadline in hopes that there would be a few impact players going from the AL to the Senior Circuit. Listen, I make my fair share of terrible decisions when it comes to managing my fantasy teams, in hindsight, of course. Good thing I got this one right. Why pass up an opportunity to get immediate help from the waiver wire simply because of what might happen? Turns out that among the handful of noteworthy trades completed over the past week or so, most were intra-league swaps while the rest were NL to AL moves. So without further buildup, let’s take a look at the key players changing uniforms.

Alfonso Soriano

You just knew the Yankees had to do something about their lineup. I mean, it was getting to be a joke already. Bronx Bombers? Really? The Yanks have hit the second fewest home runs among AL clubs and rank third to last in runs scored. While the addition of Soriano will not all of a sudden transform the team back into an offensive juggernaut, it certainly can’t hurt. From a fantasy perspective, I actually think that Soriano is a bit underrated. Maybe it’s because he’s no longer the sure-fire first rounder who was a yearly 40/40 threat. Maybe it’s because of the hefty contract. This is a guy who can still put up strong power numbers. 32 homers last season and on pace to finish with 27 longballs this year. What’s not to like? Now that he’s hitting behind Robinson Cano, there’s a lot to like. If Soriano is your third outfielder in a 12-team mixed league, you’re in fine shape.

Matt Garza

Normally, I would be concerned about any pitcher moving from the NL to the AL and into the hitter’s haven known as the Ballpark in Arlington. But, in the case of Garza, I’m not all that concerned. The 29-year-old righty has the stuff to succeed anywhere and did spend the first five seasons of his big league career in the AL, including three with the Rays in the hard-hitting AL East. So far, it’s been smooth sailing for Garza, who sports a 2.82 ERA through his first three starts with the Rangers. Yeah, he will throw in a stinker every now and then, but overall, Garza owners will be pleased with what they get.

Jake Peavy

Last season, the oft-injured Peavy managed to avoid the DL entirely. This season? Not so much. But when he has pitched, he’s been pretty good, save for a mediocre 4.28 ERA that is mostly a result of an inflated home run rate. If Peavy can do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, his ERA will drop significantly, and while Fenway Park isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise, it’s a lot more forgiving than U.S. Cellular Field. All in all, Peavy owners should consider this a net win.

Ian Kennedy

I’ve already devoted too much diary space to Kennedy this season, so I won’t bore you with the tragic tale of how I drafted Ian in four of my five leagues and how I’ve spent every day since early-April regretting it. OK, that’s enough. The bottom line here is that the last time I was this optimistic about Kennedy was following his first outing of the season, a gem vs. the Cardinals. Goodbye, Chase Field. Hello, Petco. If this doesn’t at least partially solve his issues, I don’t know what will. An extreme fly-ball pitcher who serves up too many homers now in San Diego can only be a good thing, right? But then there’s the issue of his increased walk rate and an ERA that is more than a full run higher than it was last year. Is that all going to magically change now? I doubt it, but hey, it can’t get much worse for him. If he was dropped in your mixed league, go ahead and pick him up. Just don’t expect any miracles.

Bud Norris

Although Norris’ 2013 campaign hasn’t been a huge disappointment, it hasn’t been as promising as many of his owners had hoped. His ERA is solid and his WHIP, though uninspiring, is in line with his career averages. But what happened to those strikeouts? After all, Norris’ exceptional strikeout rate was the main reason for his emergence onto the fantasy landscape in the first place. No longer a member of the worst team in baseball, Bud will benefit from increased run support, so his value does get somewhat of a boost. But, unless he starts whiffing batters at a higher rate, he’s no better than a spot-starter in mixed leagues.

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