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January 5, 2012

Resident Fantasy Genius

Crispy New Outfielders

by Derek Carty

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Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF | Acquired via Trade
Quentin was acquired earlier this week for minor-league talent and will slot into the middle of the order for San Diego. Unfortunately, while the Padres didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire him, he is a poor fit for the team, and his fantasy owners will not be made happy about the move. Going from one of the most favorable hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the least will destroy much of Quentin’s value. Because he hasn’t posted a batting average about .254 since 2008 (when he hit a healthy .288), power is all he has to offer, and now that may become scarce—think maybe 15 home runs this year, possibly 20 if he can manage to play an entire season healthily.

Perhaps more than anything else, though, this gives Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman an automatic “Go to bench, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” card. They’ll no longer be vying for playing time in left field in 2012, and right field is expected to be occupied by a Will Venable/Chris Denorfia platoon. That throws Blanks and Guzman back into the first-base mix. Yonder Alonso still has to be considered the favorite there, but this deal certainly doesn’t do him any favors either between Blanks, Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo nipping at his heels. The only guys actually gaining in all of this are the Padres number two and three hitters (Cameron Maybin? Chase Headley? Orlando Hudson?), who figure to score a few more runs with Quentin behind them.

In Chicago, this leaves Dayan Viciedo no doubt in the security of a starting role, and it probably does the same for Alejandro de Aza as they flank Alex Rios in center. Viciedo makes for a huge power sleeper this year, especially since he refined his approach and patience at Triple-A in 2011. De Aza, conversely, makes for a good speed sleeper, though it’s yet to be seen how aggressive new manager Robin Ventura will be on the basepaths. He’s unlikely to be Ozzie Guillen, but he won’t need to be to give de Aza some steal value.
Value Change: Big Loss for Quentin; Big Loss for Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman; Small Loss for Yonder Alonso; Big Gain for Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro de Aza

Coco Crisp | Oakland A’s | OF | Re-signed
We could look at the “re-signed” part and call it a wash, and we’d be close to correct; there’s no league change, no new ballpark, etc. However, the A’s have seen the entire middle of their order leave this winter—Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, and David DeJesus—which will leave Crisp with a cast of misfits trying to drive him in. As a top-of-the-order hitter who has trouble staying on the field, he needs as much help as he can get when he’s not in the trainer’s room. He’ll still help with batting average and steals, but even if he manages to play a full season, 80 runs is probably the best we could hope for. RBI duty will be left to question marks like Brandon Allen, Josh Reddick, Colin Cowgill, and Chris Carter.

The move sends Michael Taylor to Triple-A, but Billy Beane indicated that he wanted to see a dominating performance in Sacramento before he’d feel comfortable handing him a starting role anyway. So while Taylor topped the depth chart previously, it was unlikely he’d actually begin the year there.
Value Change: Small Loss for Crisp; Small Loss for Michael Taylor

Andrew Bailey | Boston Red Sox | CL | Acquired from A’s
It was no secret the Red Sox were not content with a mere Mark Melancon acquisition this winter, so they went out and got Andrew Bailey to close games for them. The move is a mostly lateral one for Bailey, getting a slight boost in save opportunities from a superior team and perhaps a slight bump in his potential health in joining a club with greater resources to put into their training and medical staff. Melancon’s value naturally drops in a set-up role, though it was likely he’d wind up there anyway. Still, with Bailey’s spotty health record, I wouldn’t have a problem projecting him for near double-digit saves.
Value Change: Small Gain for Andrew Bailey; Small Loss for Mark Melancon

Smaller Moves:

  • Jason Frasor rejoins the Blue Jays after being dealt in the Edwin Jackson/Colby Rasmus three-way deal this winter. He’ll help Casey Janssen and Darren Oliver set up for closer Sergio Santos and may very well be next in line for saves should Santos get injured or falter.
  • Fernando Rodney signed with the Rays, but don’t bother speculating on him as a closer in waiting. He closed as recently as last April for the Angels, but his days in the ninth inning should be over, barring extenuating circumstances. At the very least, Joel Peralta and J.P. Howell should be ahead of him in the pecking order.
  • Josh Reddick gets dealt to Oakland in the Bailey deal, where he’ll find a less forgiving park and a ragtag group of misfits as teammates. He will be all but assured of regular playing time, and could possibly slot into the middle of the order, but the rest of the move hurts him.
  • Ryan Sweeney gets dealt along with Bailey to Boston, where he looks likely to platoon in right field with a yet-to-be-acquired teammate. That’s about what he’d have gotten with Oakland, but the teammate and park boost should help. He’s trending downward, though, with a spike in K% this season and two straight seasons of just a single home run and steal, so his value will still be limited to AL-only leagues.
  • Lastings Milledge signed with a Japanese tea… oh, wait, he wasn’t going to be relevant anyway? Never mind.

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