For any baseball fan, the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline can be quite stressful. If your team is in contention, failing to add a star player in exchange for a bunch of prospects who you may or may not have heard of is simply unacceptable. On the other hand, if your team is out of the postseason race, the front office better know what it's doing when it comes to prospect evaluation.
For fantasy owners, the trade deadline comes with even more stress, as performance projections in addition to roles can change. Hitters who were receiving everyday at-bats might be relegated to part-time duty, or vice versa. Relief pitchers who were racking up saves might no longer be racking up saves, which pretty much makes them useless from a fantasy perspective unless your league uses Holds as a category. I happen to be a Drew Storen owner in two leagues. Fortunately, Tout Wars isn't one of them. While Storen owners are bummed out, Ken Giles owners are thrilled. As much as you might try to anticipate these moves weeks in advance by stashing players who could see a boost in value (Arodys Vizcaino, for example), there's simply no way to predict this stuff, which is why late-July can be such a frustrating time.
Like most of the other teams in the league, my Mixed Auction Tout Wars squad felt the effects of the trade deadline developments. Actually, the positives outweighed the negatives, but I'll start with the one major negative because more than 24 hours later, it's still annoying me. And by now, I really need to get over it.
Jim Johnson traded to Dodgers
Four saves from a $7 FAAB investment isn't bad at all, but it could've been so much more. To the average fan, Johnson's inclusion in the three-way swap between the Dodgers, Marlins and Braves might seem insignificant, but for me, it could prove to be the difference between winning the league and falling short. There are a few candidates for saves on the waiver wire this week, but with only $13 left to spend for the season, I can forget about it.
Cole Hamels traded to Rangers
For top-tier starting pitchers, a change of scenery tends to be either highly beneficial, as is usually the case with a move from the AL to the NL, or neutral. Overall, I don't see Hamels' value changing much as he goes from one hitter-friendly park to another. Maybe his ERA takes a small hit, as he will now have to deal with the DH, but a far superior supporting lineup increases his win potential. I'm calling this a wash.
Brandon Moss traded to Cardinals
Moss is a player who I targeted in all of my leagues this year, fully convinced that a 30-plus home run season was a distinct possibility now that he would no longer be playing half of his games at cavernous O.co Coliseum. Instead, the streaky Moss has yet to put together any sort of prolonged hot streak. That said, the power potential is still there, and the Cardinals front office boasts a strong track record when it comes to reclamation gambles. I just have a feeling that a fresh start on a contending team will do him some good. I guess it's one of those Lawr Michaels/Zen things.
Mike Leake traded to Giants
After going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in May, Leake has gotten into a nice groove, and he's coming off an exceptional month of July (4-1, 1.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP). Leake will now have the luxury of pitching his home games in spacious AT&T Park as opposed to the home run haven that is Great American Ball Park. He needs to be owned in most mixed leagues.
No, I do not own Carlos Gomez. I don't even own Gerardo Parra. So what am I talking about? Well, I do own Khris Davis, who has played sparingly since returning from the DL, sitting against most righties. With Gomez and Parra now out of the picture, Davis will once again be an everyday player, and that means he's worth a roster spot in most mixed leagues and a starting spot in deeper formats. Don't count on a high batting average, but the power is real, and if my $2 FAAB pickup can provide me with 7-8 homers from here on out, I'll gladly take it.
Ian Kennedy remains a Padre
Whew. I had my doubts that the Padres would hang onto Kennedy, who is set to become a free agent this winter. But this non-trade means that the home run prone righty will continue to be provided with the best possible opportunity to succeed. We're talking about a guy who has already allowed 23 homers through 19 starts this season despite making ten of those starts in Petco Park. Even more perplexing is that 14 of those 23 homers were served up in San Diego. Kennedy has pitched extremely well since the beginning of June, however, registering a 2.80 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Any trade, particularly a trade to an AL club, would have been bad news for his fantasy owners.