Ryan Dempster | Cubs to Rangers | SP
It’s hard for a pitcher to move from the NL to the AL and not lose value, but it’s not all bad news for Dempster. He’s entering a more difficult league and will now be calling an extreme hitter’s park home, but he’ll receive tons of extra offensive and bullpen support (and probably a superior defense too). It’s a net loss in value, but he’ll still be quite good.
Roy Oswalt | Rangers | P
The Dempster acquisition pushes Roy Oswalt to the bullpen, destroying his fantasy value. He’d posted very good peripherals despite an awful 6.49 ERA in the Rangers’ rotation, so it’s a shame to see him ousted before he’d started seeing regression. Scott Feldman appears to be the fifth starter for now, so it’s certainly possible that Oswalt finds himself starting again before long.
Alexi Ogando | Rangers | P
Ogando is another casualty of the Dempster deal. The initial plan was to stretch him out and put him into the rotation, but the team has now said that he’ll remain in the bullpen. It seems unlikely he notches another start this season.
Geovany Soto | Cubs to Rangers | C
This is a tentative “up” arrow for Soto, pending how the Rangers wind up using him. As Colin Wyers put it, “It’s possible that Soto will take an (expanded) backup role in Texas, catching when Napoli has a day off or is filling in at first or DH. Or Soto could take over the majority of catching, freeing Napoli to play other positions more often.” The park and lineup changes are certainly nice, but no matter what, Soto’s playing figures to decrease at least a little.
Yorvit Torrealba | DFA | C
The acquisition of Soto led to the Rangers slapping the DFA tag on Torrealba. He’ll latch on somewhere, but odds are slim-to-none that it’ll be as a starter, and few teams offer the kind of park and reserve-plus role the Rangers did (giving the backup catcher extra starts when Mike Napoli plays first or DH).
Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo | Cubs | C
Both of these guys get a boost following the trade of Soto, and it’s yet to be seen who will take the bulk of the playing time in Soto’s absence; manager Dale Sveum has simply said they’ll share time. Clevenger had been the backup of late with Castillo playing at Triple-A, but Castillo has the better tools, the higher upside, and is the catcher of the future for Chicago. I’ll put my money on him, and if nothing else, his power should give him more value than Clevenger in NL-only leagues. If he can grab a hold of the starting job, Castillo could be quite valuable in NL-only leagues the rest of the way.
Paul Maholm | Cubs to Braves | SP
While not quite Dempster, Maholm is a solid starting pitcher that will give the Braves some depth. In return, he’ll get himself some much-improved offensive and bullpen support while staying in the easier league and getting a small park upgrade. He remains easily viable in NL-only leagues and as a spot-start option in deeper mixers. The only concern is that he’ll be on much thinner ice than he was in Chicago, where there were absolutely no viable replacements. In Atlanta, he’ll have to deal with Kris Medlen, Randall Delgado, Jair Jurrjens, and Julio Teheran breathing down his neck once Tommy Hanson returns from the DL.
Justin Germano | Cubs | SP
Yup, this is what it’s come to for Chicago. Germano spot-started in place of Maholm, and now with Dempster gone too, he may have a shot to stick around for as long as he isn’t absolutely horrible. Anything better than that and Chicago will have to be satisfied, given their complete lack of options. He was pretty solid at Triple-A for the Red Sox earlier this year (6.2 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 in 16 starts) and could be not-terrible for the Cubs. Worth a pick-up in deep NL-only leagues if you’re desperate for starts.
Chris Volstad | Cubs | SP
After Casey Coleman was rocked in his first start replacing Dempster, he was demoted in favor of Chris Volstad. The Cubs haven’t yet announced who will start the next time Dempster’s turn comes up, but Volstad is a solid guess. Whoever it winds up being, don’t expect anything more than marginal value in the deepest of NL-only leagues… and even that might be pushing it.
Casey McGehee | Pirates to Yankees | CI
That’s a very small up arrow. McGehee had been losing playing time in Pittsburgh since Starling Marte’s call-up, and that trend figured to continue once the team went out and got Travis Snider. Once the Gaby Sanchez deal was announced, the writing was pretty much on the wall for McGehee. While New York is hardly the easiest place to carve out a slice of PT, with Alex Rodriguez on the DL and Mark Teixeira having issues McGehee could find himself in the lineup occasionally. New York will be the best park for hitters McGehee has ever called home and is a huge upgrade over PNC. He’s definitely worth a look in AL-only leagues to see how Joe Girardi uses him.
Gaby Sanchez | Marlins to Pirates | 1B
Any trade would have been a welcome one for Sanchez’s few remaining owners. He’d been demoted twice already by the Marlins and figured to toil away in the minors following the Carlos Lee trade (unless, if Lee got retraded he might have maybe, possibly got another shot). PNC Park certainly isn’t going to do him any favors as he attempts to recapture his 2011 power and form, but at least he’ll manage some starts in what figures to be a first base time-share with Garrett Jones. He batted cleanup in his Pirates debut last night, which is definitely a good sign, although Jones pinch-hit for him after Sanchez started 0-for-2.
Travis Snider | Blue Jays to Pirates | OF
Snider had been playing every day in a potent lineup and friendly park in Toronto, although that was due in part to Jose Bautista’s injury and possible because the team was showcasing him for a trade. He won’t play every day in Pittsburgh, but it’s not quite fair to compare that to his recent stretch in Toronto. Pirates scouts were in love with Snider, and manager Clint Hurdle took note, so it seems like he may play Snider as much as possible. Snider has batted second and fifth in his two games since being acquired, which seems to support Hurdle’s confidence in him.
Unfortunately, the outfield in Pittsburgh has become incredibly crowded, so “as much as possible” still might not satisfy some owners, especially if Snider starts off slow; the drop-off from the Rogers Centre to PNC Park will do him absolutely no favors. Andrew McCutchen will occupy one spot every single day, leaving Snider to battle Starling Marte, Alex Presley, and Garrett Jones for the two corners. I’d guess that Marte plays the most of the group, perhaps close to everyday, followed by Snider with Presley getting mixed in infrequently. The arrow could really be up or down, depending largely on how you felt his playing time would have shaken out in Toronto.
Brad Lincoln | Pirates to Toronto | SP/RP
When the deal was first announced, the first thought of every Lincoln owner was, “Will he get another chance to start?” The Blue Jays have since answered, “No.” That means Lincoln is moving to the tougher league and making one of the worst park changes possible, from PNC to the Rogers Centre. He’s been great in relief this year and is worth a look in AL-only leagues, but his value is very limited.
Jonathan Broxton | Royals to Reds | RP
This “down” arrow comes with a big ‘ole heaping of “DUH!” Broxton was the only closer traded at the deadline, and his value plummets now that he won’t be accumulating saves. He’ll join the chorus of setup men in Cincinnati and can safely be dropped in mixed leagues. He’ll have marginal NL-only value for his serviceable ratios.
Greg Holland | Royals | CL
It wasn’t more than a couple hours after the Broxton deal that the Royals name Holland his ninth-inning successor. Holland has regressed a bit this season, but he’s still a very good reliever and should be a perfectly capable stopper. He’s a must-add in all leagues, if you hadn’t already stashed him.
Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow | Royals | RP
Anytime a new guy takes the closer reigns, he’s on thin ice. The Royals figure to give Holland a little leash, but if he struggles in his first few outings, Herrera or Crow could take the mantle. They’re worth stashing for a couple weeks in deep leagues.
Shane Victorino | Phillies to Dodgers | OF
Victorino batted leadoff in his first game with the Dodgers after batting second for Philly recently, which should cause his value to shift more toward runs than RBIs. Mark Ellis batting behind him is from ideal, but it’s not as if Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were tearing things up following him in Philadelphia, and having Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp follow Ellis will help. He’ll go from a hitter’s park in Citizen’s Bank to a pitcher’s one Dodger Stadium in Dodger Stadium, however, which is the main reason for the down arrow. While I haven’t looked at Don Mattingly’s aggressiveness on the basepaths yet, Charlie Manuel is rather timid, so Victorino could get a bit of a boost there at least.
Bobby Abreu, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Tony Gwynn, Jr. | Dodgers | OF
These guys were owned solely in NL-only leagues, but they’ll all lose most of their value now that Victorino will play every day in that outfield. Abreu has already been designated for assignment, and he doesn’t figure to find anything more than a fourth or fifth outfielder role elsewhere.
Hunter Pence | Phillies to Giants | OF
There’s a lot to like about Pence’s move to the Giants, but like with Victorino, the park change will hurt a bit. I’ll slap a small “up” arrow on Pence due to the lineup change and Bochy’s aggressiveness on the basepaths relative to Manuel. True, Philly has scored more than San Francisco this year, but I like the way the lineup shakes out for Pence. (A lot of the problem for San Fran is the no. 1 and 2 hitters, which Pence will be away from.) Pence moves up from sixth to fifth, batting with Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey in front and Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt behind him. The latter two should do a much better job driving him in than the Ty Wigginton-led riff-raff (also including Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, and John Mayberry) that were batting behind him in Philadelphia. He’ll display a little less power, but everything else makes up for it.
Gregor Blanco | Giants | OF
Blanco’s value takes a huge hit with Pence coming to the bay area. While Angel Pagan would be the other candidate to lose time, all signs point to it being Blanco. When the team showcased Schierholtz over the past week, it was Blanco who sat every single time. That establishes a pretty clear pecking order. I hope you enjoyed the ride while it lasted; Blanco managed to steal a lot of bases and score a lot of runs while leading off for the Giants in the first half.
Nate Schierholtz | Giants to Phillies | OF
The treatment of Schierholtz in San Francisco this year was one of the biggest crimes in all of baseball. In his own words from a couple weeks ago, “[Manager Bruce Bochy] told me he doesn't see me as an everyday player. He told me it's always going to be like that… I started off the year playing well and getting comfortable. I went through a five-game skid, I guess you can say, and didn't get a hit, and I found myself back on the bench and not really knowing when I would play again.” Schierholtz isn’t a star, but he’s a solid player deserving of more than he was given in San Fran. Now that he’s in Philly, while he may not play every day, he should get a lot of playing time. He may well be worth double-digits in NL-only leagues now (on a prorated basis) and worth using in daily-transaction mixed leagues where you can bench him when the Phillies do.
Domonic Brown | Phillies | OF
The exile of Pence and Victorino clears the path for Domonic Brown to start in Philadelphia. Once considered one of the top prospects in baseball, Brown was rushed through Triple-A to the majors, leading the team to announce during Spring Training that he’d spend the entire year at Triple-A. The plan has apparently changed, although his performance at Triple-A this year was merely good, not great. He still has a lot of upside, but I wouldn’t rush to pick him up in mixed leagues yet.
Eric Thames | Blue Jays to Mariners | OF
After a very solid rookie campaign in 2011, I liked Thames a decent bit coming into the year. The combination of a slow start and a glut of outfielders in Toronto (as I warned against) led to a demotion by the end of May, but he performed very well at Triple-A (.330/.407/.528) and could be a very sneaky pick-up for fantasy owners. Obviously the park and supporting cast are vastly inferior in Seattle, but he’s going to play, and that’s all fantasy owners should be asking for right now. He batted eighth in his Mariner debut last night, so runs and RBI could be hard to come by, but a solid batting average and a little power should still make him valuable in AL-only and very deep mixed leagues.
Carlos Peguero | Mariners | OF
Peguero got an up arrow following the trade of Ichiro Suzuki, but with the acquisition of Eric Thames, he’s been sent back down to the minors. He can safely be dropped in nearly all leagues.
Here’s the final, cumulative list of league-crossers and how I’d rank them.
Top NL-to-AL League-Crossers
Top AL-to-NL League-Crossers
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