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August 1, 2006

Fantasy Focus

Trade Deadline Review, Fantasy Style

by Peter Schoenke

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The trade deadline has come and gone, and now it's time to figure out what it means for your fantasy teams. Here's a quick rundown of all the trades since Tuesday and the players for whom you need to put in quick or large free-agent bids.

Players who may not have been owned in every league who saw their value jump due to a trade:

1. Ryan Shealy (1B) KC: Hopefully the Royals give the RotoWire Top 100 Minor League Prospect the playing time he couldn't find in Colorado behind Todd Helton.

2. B.J. Upton (3B) TB & Joel Guzman (??) TB: Both may finally get regular playing time with Julio Lugo traded. It will be interesting to see where the Rays, loaded with outfielders, slot Guzman, who has been moved around quite a bit this year.

3. Francisco Cordero (P) MIL: Takes over the closer role for a struggling Derrick Turnbow.

4. Willy Aybar (3B) ATL: Everyday third baseman and leadoff hitter until Chipper Jones returns (which could be six weeks).

5. Wilson Betemit (3B) LAD: Finally gets an everyday job with the Dodgers.

6. David Dellucci (OF) PHI: Gets regular playing time with the trade of Bobby Abreu.

7. Xavier Nady (1B) PIT: Likely your everyday starter at first base for the Pirates.

8. Nelson Cruz (OF) TEX: Cruz's initial role with Texas will be the right fielder against left-handed starters.

9. Cory Lidle (P) NYY: He'll get wins in the Yankees rotation.

10. Todd Walker (3B) SD: Who cares about his defense at a position he hasn't played in years if he gets regular at-bats? His increased playing time could help those in NL-only leagues.

Don't forget to put a free-agent bid on these commonly-owned players if your league doesn't keep players traded across leagues:

1. Carlos Lee (OF) TEX: Bid the max as the All-Star moves to a better hitting environment.

2. Bobby Abreu (OF) NYY: May not steal as much with the Yankees, but should hit more home runs in Yankee Stadium.

3. Kevin Mench (OF) MIL: Gets regular duty in left field for the Brewers.

4. Ron Belliard (2B) STL: Takes over the everyday second-base job for the Cardinals.

Here's the full breakdown:

Trade: Los Angeles Dodgers get Julio Lugo; Tampa Bay Devil Rays get 3B Joel Guzman and OF Sergio Pedroza

Quick Judgment: The Devil Rays get a decent return for a player who wasn't in their long-term plans.
Fantasy Implications: Lugo soon qualifies at second base and his offense may slip slightly in Dodger Stadium. Bigger implications are for the Devil Rays. Top prospect B.J. Upton was called up and likely gets regular playing time.

Trade: Dodgers get RHP Greg Maddux; Chicago Cubs get SS/3B Cesar Izturis.

Quick Judgment: Is Maddux really going to make a difference over two months? Fantasy Implications: Maddux improves slightly pitching in Dodger Stadium. Izturis gets more playing time, but that may not add enough pop for all but the deepest NL-only leagues.

Trade: New York Mets get RHP Roberto Hernandez and LHP Oliver Perez; Pittsburgh Pirates get OF Xavier Nady.

Quick Judgment: Hernandez is a reasonable stop-gap after Duaner Sanchez went out for the year with a shoulder injury.
Fantasy Implications: Nady could get regular at-bats in Pittsburgh, boosting his fantasy value.

Trade: New York Yankees get 1B/OF Craig Wilson; Pirates get RHP Shawn Chacon.

Quick Judgment: Any living prospect or a player to be named later would make more sense for the ever-rebuilding Pirates.
Fantasy Implications: Wilson's fantasy value went from slim to none as he's likely reduced to pinch-hitting duty.

Trade: Padres get 2B Todd Walker and cash; Cubs get minor-league RHP Jose Ceda.

Quick Judgment: Walker may be an upgrade at third base, but can he really field the position?
Fantasy Implications: More playing time for Walker if he can hold his own in the field.

Trade: St. Louis Cardinals get RHP Jorge Sosa; Atlanta Braves get minor-league RHP Rich Scalamandre.

Quick Judgment: That the Braves got anything for Sosa is a major coup.
Fantasy Implications: None.

Trade: Texas Rangers get RHP Kip Wells; Pirates get minor-league pitcher Jesse Chavez.

Quick Judgment: Sad that this represents an upgrade in the rotation for Texas, but at least they didn't give up much.
Fantasy Implications: Move to hitter-friendly park hurts Wells' value, but may be worth a shot in deeper AL-only leagues.

Trade: Rangers get DH Matt Stairs; Kansas City Royals get minor-league RHP Joselo Diaz.

Quick Judgment: Not a big boost for Texas, nice move to get an upside arm for the Royals.
Fantasy Implications: Stairs moves to a hitter-friendly park, but his playing time likely decreases as he splits DH duty with Mark DeRosa. Of course, he was probably going to play less in Kansas City anyway with younger players coming up from the minors and Mike Sweeney possibly returning from a perennial back injury.

Trade: Colorado Rockies get LHP Jeremy Affeldt and RHP Denny Bautista; Royals get 1B Ryan Shealy and RHP Scott Dohmann.

Quick Judgment: Both teams traded players that were not in their plans and get some upside in return. A fairly even deal.
Fantasy Implications: Shealy's value soars as he likely gets regular playing time. The other pitchers will all need to prove something before garnering consideration in any fantasy league.

Trade: Detroit Tigers get 1B Sean Casey; Pirates get minor-league P Brian Rogers.

Quick Judgment: A lateral move at best, as Casey isn't much of an improvement over Shelton.
Fantasy Implications: Chris Shelton was sent to the minors and his short-term fantasy value goes bust. (Oh, that trade you could have made in May!). Casey gets regular playing time for AL-only leagues.

Trade: Cincinnati Reds get LHP Rheal Cormier; Philadelphia Phillies get RHP Justin Germano.

Quick Judgment: This is the kind of cheap relief help Reds GM Wayne Krivsky should have been looking for all along.
Fantasy Implications: Cormier's value remains about the same.

Trade: Reds get RHP Kyle Lohse; Minnesota Twins get minor-league RHP Zach Ward.

Quick Judgment: Reds overpaid for a player with two consecutive losing seasons before this year's 7.07 ERA and a $4 million salary. Twins get a former third-round draft pick pitching well (95/37 K/BB ratio in 114 innings and 2.29 ERA at Low-A.)
Fantasy Implications: None. Lohse's only value is in the Hacking Mass league. He does have a 4.26 ERA since moving to the bullpen, but now moves to a hitter-friendly park.

Trade: St. Louis Cardinals get 2B Ron Belliard; Cleveland Indians get INF Hector Luna.

Quick Judgment: Belliard is older, more expensive and maybe not even as good as Luna.
Fantasy Implications: It's not clear how much playing time Luna will get in Cleveland, so his fantasy value could take a hit. Belliard's may increase slightly with more guaranteed playing time.

Trade: New York Yankees get RF Bobby Abreu and RHP Cory Lidle; Phillies get four minor leaguers: LHP Matt Smith, SS C.J. Henry, C Jesus Sanchez and RHP Carlos Monasterios.

Quick Judgment: Pure salary dump. Love it or hate it, this is the Yankees' advantage in the current system of baseball: getting star players mid-season for lesser prospects and taking on big contracts.
Fantasy Implications: Abreu may hit more home runs with the short right-field porch in Yankee Stadium, but may attempt fewer stolen bases with the sluggers surrounding him in the lineup. Lidle enters the Yankees rotation and is worth a shot in AL-only leagues for those needing wins. David Dellucci gets more playing time in Philadelphia.

Trade: Rangers get: OF Carlos Lee and minor-league OF Nelson Cruz. Milwaukee Brewers get: RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Kevin Mench, OF Laynce Nix and minor-league LHP Julian Cordero.

Quick Judgment: Perhaps the most debated deal without a clear-cut consensus. The Brewers probably missed an opportunity to trade Lee for more of what they needed in the future (pitching, a center fielder, a catcher), but didn't totally whiff with Cordero probably returning to form as a closer (Texas may have overreacted to one bad month) and Mench replacing Lee. If only the Brewers didn't include a top prospect in Cruz in the deal, it would look better from the Milwaukee perspective. Meanwhile, the Rangers get the biggest impact bat at the deadline.
Fantasy Implications: Cordero takes over the closer role in Milwaukee. Mench gets regular playing time in left field for the Brewers. Cruz gets partial playing time with the Rangers. Lee gets to hit in a better ballpark.

Trade: San Francisco Giants get LHP Mike Stanton; Washington Nationals get minor-league pitcher Shairon Martis.

Quick Judgment: Obligatory Mike Stanton trade deadline deal.
Fantasy Implications: The Giants may turn to a closer by committee with Armando Benitez's recent struggles and Stanton could be part of the mix, but that's probably not enough to pick him up in all but the deepest NL-only leagues.

Trade: Atlanta Braves get RHP Danys Baez and 3B Willy Aybar; Los Angeles Dodgers get third baseman Wilson Betemit.

Quick Judgment: Maybe the most even trade of the week. The Dodgers get the better player, but the Braves still get a player with upside to help their infield and an arm to help their woeful bullpen.
Fantasy Implications: Betemit's value rises as an everyday player, but he's probably owned in most leagues anyway. Aybar gets regular time at third base the next few weeks (or more) while Chipper Jones is out. Baez remains in a set-up role.

Trade: Milwaukee Brewers get 3B David Bell; Philadelphia Phillies get minor league RHP Wilfrido Laureano.

Quick Judgment: Short-term fill-in for the Brewers for a fringe prospect.
Fantasy Implications: Bell will get playing time at third base with Corey Koskie out, making him an option in deep NL-only leagues.

Trade: Dodgers get RHP Elmer Dessens; Kansas City Royals gets LHP Odalis Perez, minor league RHP Blake Johnson and minor league RHP Julio Pimentel and cash.

Quick Judgment: At least the Royals get some arms, but no one will remember this deal next season.
Fantasy Implications: Dessens could actually post decent numbers pitching in Chavez Ravine (36/13 K/BB ratio with the Royals), so he's worth a moderate bid by those in NL-only leagues. Perez was a dangerous play before the trade and now moves to a hitters' park.

Peter Schoenke is the President of RotoWire.com, and can be reached here.

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Premium Article Will's Mill: The Mill ... (07/31)
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