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American League

National League

NEW YORK YANKEES
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Acquired RHP David Carpenter and LHP Chasen Shreve from the Braves in exchange for LHP Manny Banuelos. [1/1]

Now the Shawn Kelley trades makes more sense.

Carpenter doesn't just use the same basic power fastball-slider formula as Kelley, he uses it better. Once a no-hit backstop-turned-journeyman reliever, Carpenter turned his career around in Atlanta. To wit, he threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes last season; not bad for someone whose career walk rate exceeded four per nine innings prior to the Braves claiming him off waivers. Relievers are volatile by nature, but as of now there's no apparent reason why Carpenter shouldn't provide the Yankees with quality late-inning work over the next three seasons.

In addition to Carpenter the Yankees receive Shreve who, as the Braves telecast delighted in informing us last year, looks a shake like actor Barry Pepper. Shreve also looks a little like a useful two-way reliever, complete with a low-90s fastball, breaking ball, and occasional changeup. His arm action is long and his landing is slightly closed, so there'll always be someone shoving him into the LOOGY box. For now, though, the Yankees would be wise to see if he can be something more. —R.J. Anderson

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Acquired LHP Manny Banuelos from the Yankees in exchange for RHP David Carpenter and LHP Chasen Shreve. [1/1]

There are two themes developing in the Braves' offseason: 1) signing rebound veterans with an eye on a deadline trade, and 2) restocking their pitching depth through trades. This move falls under the second heading, with Banuelos joining an offseason haul that includes Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, Max Fried, and Arodys Vizcaino.

As with Fried and Vizcaino, Banuelos has a scar on his elbow resulting from Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound last season after missing all of '13 and the results were mixed, as he (predictably) battled his command and control over 76 innings. Early word from Braves camp has them giving Banuelos a shot to crack the Opening Day rotation. While that seems overzealous—he's 23 and has thrown 100 innings in the past three seasons combined—it does hint at how highly the Braves estimate his chances are of making a full recovery, back to the guy who was projected to have a varied arsenal and advanced feel for the craft.

Even if Atlanta is wrong about Banuelos in that regard, this is a relatively small bet to make. The Braves excel at finding Carpenter types, and it's not like Shreve is indispensable. (Heck, there's a chance Banuelos ends up in the bullpen and becomes the new Shreve.) You can understand why the Yankees would rather have the two relievers, just as you can understand why the Braves would rather see what Banuelos can do heading forward. In that sense, this deal is about right both ways. —R.J. Anderson

Manny Banuelos

Would you rather bank on a back-end starting pitching prospect succeeding in the AL East or NL East? Yankee Stadium or Turner Field? Plus, with the Braves looking like they're ready for a mini-rebuild, there should be more opportunity for Banuelos to start in the majors in Atlanta than there was in New York, even with the Yankees' shallow rotation. —Ben Carsley

CHICAGO CUBS
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Signed OF-R Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal worth about $2.5 million. [12/31]

A straightforward signing. Prior to last season, Denorfia had consistently produced for years. He'd hit for average, reach base, play solid defense across the outfield, and steal some bases. Add in his high-energy and character ways, and you had a player every team could use. Then 2014 happened. He struggled in San Diego, got traded to Seattle, then struggled some more. Given he's a little older than you'd expect (he turns 35 in July), he sort of fell through the free-agent cracks. As such the Cubs, a team seeking quality clubhouse types, will pay Denorfia backup-catcher money to see whether last season was an aberration. Should all go well, the Cubs will have gotten a useful player for next to nothing; should it not, they'll release him in June without hesitation. There's more reward than risk here. —R.J. Anderson

CINCINNATI REDS
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Acquired OF-R Marlon Byrd and $4 million from the Phillies in exchange for RHP Ben Lively. [12/31]

You can understand then why Walt Jocketty pursued Byrd, who comes cheaply and without a long-term commitment, to the extent that he sacrificed a solid pitching prospect in return. It's because Reds' left fielders hit .233/.288/.339 last season, equaling the majors' fourth-worst OPS at the position. Byrd, comparatively, set a new career-high in home runs for the second consecutive season, and adds enough on defense to avoid being known as a one-dimensional slugger.

There is reason for pause here, though, and it has nothing to do with the Reds' decision to split the uprights between a full-bore rebuild and a relentless all-in effort. (Besides, the Reds can explain away Lively's departure by pointing to the pitchers they added earlier in the winter.) That reason is Byrd himself. Combine his aggressive approach and tendency to swing and miss with an upcoming 38th birthday, and there's a legitimate possibility that attrition claims another victim.

Given the cost and upside, Jocketty can justify taking the chance—even if his offseason hasn't been as focused on 2015 as he would've liked. —R.J. Anderson

Marlon Byrd

Byrd moves from a good hitter's ballpark with a suspect supporting cast to an even better hitter's ballpark with a better supporting cast. There's not much of a shift in value at all, but it's entirely possible he'll see a few more runs scored and RBI thanks to the move; hitting behind Joey Votto, Todd Frazier and probably Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco isn't a bad situation to find yourself in. He finished as fantasy's 37th best outfielder in 2014, per ESPN's player rater, and he's a solid OF4 in 12-team leagues for 2015. —Ben Carsley

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Signed C-R Nick Hundley to a two-year deal worth more than $6 million. [12/31]

Hundley receives two years based on the putridity of the catching market rather than his own merits, because he's at the stage of his career where he's an adequate backup and little more. His defense has improved, but nobody will confuse him for a defensive specialist—well, maybe if their reference point is Wilin Rosario—while his bat has declined since his first few years in the majors. Hundley's aggressive approach and swing result in a lot of whiffs and, though he'll punish a mistake now and again that's left over the plate or on the inner half, his power numbers underwhelm compared to his strikeout and walk rates. Realistically, Hundley's greatest contribution to the Rockies might be security. Now Jeff Bridich can move Rosario without resorting to some random minor-league type behind the plate. It's a little thing, but at least it's a thing. —R.J. Anderson

Nick Hundley

Yes, Hundley is moving to Coors Field, and so his fantasy value obviously receives a bump. That being said, let's not go crazy here: we're still talking about a player who's averaged a sub-.250 TAv over the past three seasons, and really only has one fantasy-relevant season on record. If he gets 400 PA, he could hit 15-plus homers, but he's not going to help you in any other category and he's not a lock to see that much playing time unless Wilin Rosario is indeed moved. Keep an eye on him in leagues that need 20-plus catchers to be rostered, but move on otherwise.

Wilin Rosario

The writing is on the wall. We've heard for months now that the Rockies want to trade Rosario or at least move him from behind the plate. Given the way he's hit away from home and against right-handers during his career, the loss of home field or positional eligibility would be killer for him in fantasy. Hundley's acquisition makes one of those losses more likely, and it's getting harder and harder to argue that Rosario is a top-12 option for 2015. —Ben Carsley

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
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Designated SS-R Erisbel Arruebarrena for assignment. [12/31]

Hey, it's noteworthy whenever a player gets designated for assignment less than a year after signing a five-year deal worth $25 million. In this case, the move makes a lot of sense for the Dodgers. Farhan Zaidi has to figure nobody will claim Arruebarrena off waivers. If someone does, the Dodgers are freed from the commitment. If not, then Arruebarrena is removed from the 40-man roster and remains in the system. That's not quite a win-win situation—you'd rather not be paying Arruebarrena good money—but it's a savvy piece of roster hijinks.

As for Arruebarrena himself, he's a high-quality defensive shortstop. Good arm, excellent actions and instincts. There's just one little problem: he can't hit. His swing is a long, loopy mess and his pitch recognition skills are horrid. He saw some big-league time last season and made contact on just 61 percent of his swings. It's no exaggeration to think he'd be the worst hitter in baseball if the Dodgers (or some other team) gave him the necessary playing time. Add in that Arruebarrena turns 25 in March, and the upside here is that he turns into a glove-only utility infielder.

That's not an awful outcome and someone would put in a claim if Arruebarrena were making the league minimum. Fortunately/unfortunately for Arruebarrena, he's not, so he'll clear without incident. —R.J. Anderson

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
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Acquired RHP Ben Lively from the Reds in exchange for OF-R Marlon Byrd and $4 million. [12/31]

This is how you want teams who are building their next core to operate. Ruben Amaro Jr. signed Byrd to a reasonable two-year pact last winter, watched him deliver a productive season, and now spins him for a young arm who isn't far off. Solid work.

Ranked seventh in the Reds system by the prospect team, Lively looks like a middle-of-the-rotation stalwart thanks to his good height and wide shoulders. His mechanics inspire debate about whether he'll ever live up to his appearance, however, since they include a number of tics—high leg kick, short arm stroke, drop-and-drive action, and an uptempo finish that sees him spin off toward first base. Skeptics point to the irregularities—mostly the arm action and tempo—and question whether Lively can maintain good enough timing to command the baseball. Believers highlight those same aspects and ascribe to them stuff-boosting deception—something Lively needs given a mostly average, albeit broad arsenal. Which side is correct in their evaluation? We'll find out soon enough. Should Lively pass the Double-A test in his second attempt, he'll make his big-league debut late in 2015. —R.J. Anderson

Darin Ruf and Grady Sizemore

Both figure to get a shot at more playing time now, though the notion that this will lead to actual fantasy value is a dubious. Ruf has enough power to be interesting in NL-only leagues, at least. —Ben Carsley