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July 29, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Pre-Deadline Trade Roundup

by Marc Normandin

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With the trade deadline fast approaching, teams are starting to make deals at a faster pace. Just yesterday we had a few swaps with some fantasy impact, and rumors are that Roy Oswalt-to-Philly is in the works and could be completed at any moment. Let's take a look at what's gone done recently.

Not that anyone owns Garret Anderson at this point—he's nigh unrosterable in an NL-only league where you can only draft Dodgers—but trading for Scott Podsednik should kill off Joe Torre's usage of the vet (the operative word here is "should"). Podsednik has a lot of fantasy value in standard roto leagues thanks to plenty of steals and two straight seasons where he has managed to keep his batting average above .300, but there are some concerns. When Manny Ramirez returns from the disabled list, Podsednik is not going to be a full-time player any longer, and will most likely assume Anderson's role of being a part-time outfielder meant to spell the others. He also has far less value in leagues that use net steals (SBCS) thanks to 12 caught stealings.

As a singles hitter, playing in the pitcher parks in the NL West shouldn't hurt him too much, and the more offensive-oriented parks won't make him look much different either. He's not a bad pickup in NL-only leagues for the moment, but the time which he is worth something is limited thanks to a glut of Dodger outfielders that are superior to him and will pick up the playing time in the future.

As for the Royals, this makes Alex Gordon a more viable option since there are fewer players to swipe playing time, and Mitch Maier should get a shot at picking up plate appearances again (though his value is limited even in AL-only leagues).

Jhonny Peralta is sticking in the AL, and even in the same division, so the change to his value is minimal. The Indians didn't exactly surround him with an imposing lineup to boost his RBI or R totals, so heading to the depleted Motor City isn't as problematic as you may think, though Comerica is considered a pitcher's park. He is what he's always been—a below-average third baseman for fantasy purposes who has little value when he can't slot in at shortstop as well. He's shortstop eligible this year, but unless you're in an AL-only and dying for one he's probably not going to help you much, which was pretty much the line on him heading into 2010.

Jayson Nix should pick up more plate appearances in Cleveland with Peralta's departure, but don't expect to get into a fight with your league mates to acquire him: Nix is hitting .224/.297/.413 this year, and has a career line of .211/.295/.379 over 511 plate appearances. His career .238 BABIP is low and could rebound, but we're also talking about an infielder who strikes out far too often for the amount of power he possesses. Give him 50 points of BABIP just to be charitable and he looks much more solid, but he has to show he can actually do that before I trust him outside of a bench spot on a deep AL-only roster.

While not 100 percent official yet, Roy Oswalt looks like he's heading to Philadelphia in exchange for J.A Happ and prospects. We'll focus on the swap of Happ and Oswalt, since the prospects are projects who don't have any present-day fantasy value. Happ should benefit from heading to Minute Maid Park from Citizen's Bank Park, though any aspirations you had about him winning games with a powerful offense behind him should be left back in Philly. Oswalt, on the other hand, may feel a twinge of regret each time he sees a flyball clear the fence that may have stayed in the yard in Houston, but  that will be rectified when W's show up next to his name in the box score with more regularity.

Ignore Happ's 15 1/3 inning sample from 2010—he's a league average pitcher who should be putting up an ERA of 4.30-4.50 or so. He's not a sexy option in mixed leagues, but he won't kill you in NL-only. He may whiff around or just a bit under the league average, but you can put up with him if he can keep the ball in the park. Given he's a hardcore flyball pitcher, that's a tough proposition, but even with Minute Maid's propensity for homers it's a friendlier place to pitch in those regards than CBC (right-handed hitters benefit nearly equally at the two parks, but Happ should be able to shutdown left-handers better in Houston than in Philly).

Oswalt, on the other hand, may see his numbers against left-handed hitters take a hit, but he's got much better stuff (as well as better strikeout and walk rates) than Happ and can afford to give up some homers while still putting up a quality performance. I don't think he's quite the option from a peripheral perspective that he was in Houston, but if your league uses wins you should be able to cancel out any damage done to his ERA. Of course, if you have other needs and are set in pitching, now is a good time to try to deal Oswalt given that information.

Related Content:  J.A. Happ

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: Worth the... (07/28)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spot... (07/28)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spot... (07/29)
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Premium Article Changing Speeds: Forty... (07/29)

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