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July 31, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Chris Denorfia is in the News!

by Mike Gianella and Jeff Quinton

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

SEATTLE MARINERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired OF-R Chris Denorfia from San Diego Padres in exchange for CF-S Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen [7/31]

Against lefties, the Mariners have started either Stefan Romero or Endy Chavez in left field as of late. They have not been good or even average. Stefan Romero has been more productive than Chavez across the entire triple slash and has only managed a .213/.239/.306 against southpaws this year. Chris Denorfia will thus be a considerable upgrade. While he is only putting up a .253/.311/.326 against lefties in 2014, he did put up .284/.355/.479 in 2013 and .337/.390/.500 in 2012. Is the 34 year old Denorfia declining? Very probably, but even his declined state will be a big improvement for the Mariners against left handed pitching. —Jeff Quinton

Fantasy Impact

Chris Denorfia

Moving out of Petco helps Denorfia somewhat, but he moves from one crowded outfield to another. Granted, fighting Endy Chavez for playing time isn’t a tall order, but most of Denorfia’s power comes against left-handed pitching, as he has two home runs in his last 474 plate appearances against right-handers. Some of this is due to the graveyard that is Petco, but Denorfia is mostly an AL-only asset in fantasy going forward.

Endy Chavez, James Jones

Both Chavez and Jones should see a slight downtick in playing time with the Denorfia acquisition. Jones is more of a fantasy asset than Chavez and potentially takes more of a hit, although he still should be able to get some steals off of the Mariners bench. Chavez was shaky in AL-only to begin with and can safelybe dropped now. —Mike Gianella

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired CF-S Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen from Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF-R Chris Denorfia. [7/31]

Almonte in 2013 had one of those seasons that convinces a team's leadership that they're going to get real value out of a prospect previously seen as a future backup at best. Between Double- and Triple-A, he set career highs in home runs and walks, and nearly achieved the classically beautiful .300/.400/.500 slash line. That earned him a promotion to the majors, where he held his own at the plate and showed good range in center field, and he had an outside shot at taking the starting job this year. This year, though, it all fell apart. His power output more closely resembles his Napoleonic physique, and while his speed still provides for good outfield range, he has been sloppy and error-prone. He's patient but doesn't draw walks, and struggles to make contact. Might have a good year or two in his peak, but more likely the fifth outfielder you get confused with some other fifth outfielder.

Meanwhile, Jason Parks passes this along on Kohlscheen:

Kohlscheen is a very large man, but doesn't always pitch with the velocity of a very large man. I've only seen him a handful of times, but he was low-90s; steep as all hell because of the size/arm length; didn't see a plus breaking ball; assume he gets by because he can work the lower zone with a good sinking fastball delivered from a 6'6'' righty. Maybe a middle reliever but he doesn't do that much for me.

Sam Miller

Fantasy Impact

Abraham Almonte

Almonte is likely to be promoted from Triple-A to fill Denorfia’s slot, so gets an instant bump up in fantasy. However, Almonte could not have moved to a worse fantasy situation than he is moving to in San Diego. He is technically going to replace Denorfia in the “wrong” side of the platoon, although it is possible that the Padres give him regular at bats to see whether or not he is a viable option in 2015 and beyond. He is going to lose a moderate chunk of his power in Petco.

Alexi Amarista

Amarista is the outfielder most likely to lose at bats to Almonte in the short term, although he is merely a fill-in while Carlos Quentin is out and was barely viable in NL-only anyway. —Mike Gianella

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here
Jeff Quinton is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

Related Content:  Seattle Mariners,  San Diego Padres

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