After an insane final day of trading, we’re finally past the non-waiver 2014 MLB trade deadline. The dust is still settling, but it’s time to examine some of these blockbuster deals and sort out which teams won and lost, and which fantasy players will be impacted the most by all the trades. Personally, I love the trading deadline and this was one of the most active and interesting I can remember.
A’s get: Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes
Red Sox get: Yoenis Cespedes
Holy crap. This was the deal that basically got things started, and what a whopper. The A’s effectively give up on a legit candidate to lead the league in HR in the future (he already won the HR derby twice!) in exchange for a platoon power bat and a Jon Lester rental. The A’s are clearly all-in this year, and have assembled a ridiculous rotation that few teams can match. It’s an interesting move for Oakland, who must have finally decided that this was their time – the A’s and Billy Beane are usually a ‘build for the future,’ type of organization. I love this trade for the Red Sox, as their random collection of OF’s clearly wasn’t cutting it, and they weren’t certain if they could resign Lester anyway. Cespedes should see a power boost changing stadiums from spacious O.co to Fenway. He’s under team control through the end of 2015. Gomes is mostly a throw-in here, but Lester should certainly enjoy great success hurling in pitcher-friendly Oakland, supported by a much stronger Oakland lineup. The acquisition of Lester probably boots Jesse Chavez from the A’s rotation, and Cespedes probably takes the place of Brock Holt in the Boston outfield. More on that Boston outfield in a moment.
Trade Winner: Red Sox
Fantasy Winners: Jon Lester, Yoenis Cespedes
Fantasy Losers: Brock Holt, Jesse Chavez
Cardinals get: John Lackey, Corey Littrell, Cash
Red Sox get: Allen Craig, Joe Kelly
The Red Sox make another solid move to bolster their OF, buying in on a struggling Allen Craig and also bolstered their cache of young pitching by acquiring Kelly on the cheap as well. Apparently the Sox were have been playing fantasy sports, because they certainly did buy low on two players with high upsides here. The Cardinals effectively get John Lackey for this year and next (he has a super-affordable $500K option for 2015) which can be seen as another strong move to improve their rotation. The Sox decided to go into full on sell mode here, and used the Lackey option as a bargaining chip. Ben Cherington has certainly had an interesting first few years as Boston GM, and you have to mostly give him high marks so far.
Kelly will probably start immediately and joins Boston’s slew of young, controllable SP, while Craig should start in the OF at Fenway soon. It will be interesting to see who loses playing time to get Craig in the lineup – Boston has quite the logjam now with Ortiz at DH, Napoli at 1B, and Cespedes, Bradley, Victorino, Holt, Daniel Nava, and Craig in the OF. I’d bet on a starting unit of Cespedes, Craig, and Bradley. As with Cespedes, Craig should get a boost by heading to hitter-friendly Fenway. Lackey’s ROS outlook also improves, as he moves to the NL and gets to pitch for a much better team. He should be a strong play for the remainder of 2014. Perhaps the biggest winner here is Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras, who should become an immediate fantasy must-add. He’s one of the best pure hitting prospects in the game, and will now receive everyday at-bats. I’m expecting a monster stretch run from Taveras and the Cards.
Trade Winner: Red Sox
Fantasy Winners: Oscar Taveras, Allen Craig, John Lackey
Fantasy Losers: Shane Victorino, Joe Kelly,
Tigers get: David Price
Mariners get: Austin Jackson
Rays get: Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly, Willy Adames
I think we can all agree that David Price was the biggest trade chip on the table for 2014. He’s a former CY Young award winner, has had multiple 200K seasons, and owns a career WHIP under 1.20 which pitching in the AL East. He’s a stud, which is why I keep looking at this trade and thinking the Rays got flossed here. The Red Sox had set the market for SP a few hours earlier with the Lester deal, so how did the Rays manage to move a much more accomplished started for what seems like so little? Willy Adames is a prospect, but we know quite a bit about Smyly and Franklin; the future will tell, but neither have enjoyed consistent success to this point. The Tigers have paid dearly (SP + CF + prospect) but they’ve assembled the most ridiculous rotation I’ve ever seen, and immediately become the prohibitive favorites to win the AL Central, if not the AL as a whole.
The pitching in the forthcoming A’s – Tigers Championship series is going to be insanity. Price is also under team control for next year, although I’m not certain how the Tigers can afford all of their aces moving forward. I think the sneaky winner of this trade is the Mariners, however, who gave up only a minor-league guy they were down on, and in exchange got back a legit major-league CF and leadoff man in Austin Jackson. His ROS prospects probably take a slight downturn, however, as the M’s are a clear lineup downgrade offensively. An interesting winner not involved in this trade appears to be Rajai Davis, who would be my guess to play CF and receive every day at bats with Jackson out of town. He should be worth a long look in mixed leagues moving forward.
Trade Winner: Mariners
Fantasy Winners: David Price, Rajai Davis, Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly
Fantasy Losers: Austin Jackson
Yankees get: Martin Prado
Red Sox get: Peter O’Brien, PTBNL / Cash
With their season lost and offers on the table, the Diamondbacks decided it was time to sell a slumping Martin Prado to the Yankees. Prado should play right field for the Bombers, thus demolishing Ichiro Suzuki’s remaining fantasy value. He can also play multiple infield spots, and thus offers some versatility as well. Arizona and New York are both hitter friendly, but even so I’d give Prado a bit of a fantasy upgrade here. The DBacks receive power-hitting C prospect O’Brien in exchange, who could eventually replace an aging Miguel Montero. Just goes to show you the Yanks are always buyers at the deadline, even when they’re only 3 games over .500. I love this move for the Diamondbacks, who unloaded an aging veteran (and the $22 million remaining on his contract) and got something useful back.
Trade Winner: Diamondbacks
Fantasy Winners: Martin Prado
Fantasy Losers: Ichiro Suzuki
Nationals get: Asdrubal Cabrera
Indians get: Zach Walters
For Nats fans, this trade was followed by a sigh of relief. I’ve grown rather tired of watching Danny Espinosa be an automatic out at the bottom of the Washington batting order. With Ryan Zimmerman out for an extended period, Espinosa had been forced into regular at-bats, and the results were painful. Cabrera can play 2B, 3B, and SS and is also a switch hitter with proven success and very little split difference. He might hit a bit lower in the order for the Nationals, but I feel like the fantasy result here is pretty much a wash. The Indians weren’t contending anyway and have hotshot prospect Francisco Lindor coming up to take over the SS job next year. Cabrera is a rental, but a good one, and he came cheap – rumor has it the Indians are paying his way for the rest of the year. In exchange they got Walters, a versatile prospect with power who could contribute as soon as 2015. This seems like a swap that benefitted both teams, but I believe the Nationals won this trade by getting a former All-Star to help with a run at October.
Trade Winner: Nationals
Fantasy Losers: Danny Espinosa
O’s get: Andrew Miller
Red Sox get: Eduardo Rodriguez
The swap of a middle reliever for a prospect isn’t game changing and probably wouldn’t be news except that it is indicative of the rebuilding tact the Red Sox took. Miller was one of the most sought-after names on the trade market, and the fact that the Sox dealt him within the division, to rival Baltimore, shows that they’ve packed it in on 2014 and are retooling for 2015. It also shows that the Orioles believe they’re a strong contender to come out of the AL Least, and they got the lefty they’ve been coveting. For Miller, the Sox got back a top-75 prospect arm in Rodriguez. Neither of these players are really on the fantasy radar for this season, unless you’re in a league that counts holds.
Trade Winner: Red Sox