So many rumors, so little movement. Thus ends one of the most anticipated and exciting times of the year for Major League & Fantasy Baseball. If you are an A’s or Tiger’s fan you are probably feeling a bit giddy, well till the Yankees took three of four last week, Ha. If you are a Red Sox or Tampa fan you may be crying in your chowda, or Sam Adams (Tee Hee), but for the rest of us it was a pretty Ho-Hum time in the American League as far as the trade deadline deals that took place. Ben and I wrote about the deals that did happen last week here. And here.
Aside from the two blockbuster deals it was relatively quiet. Part of the lack of activity can be traced to more teams believing they are contenders. The extra Wild Card Team broadens the array of potential buyers, but makes for far less sellers. Teams seem to be showing some restraint as well though. Anyone who plays in H to H Fantasy Baseball knows how easy it is for even the most loaded team to be eliminated in a round one playoff match. A hopeful Wild Card contender can’t mortgage the whole future for a chance to be eliminated in a one game playoff after the season any more than a FBB owner can ransom its own future for a chance to get blown out during one bad week.
The other reason is that teams can continue to trade for the playoffs through August 31 for players who pass through waivers. The reason so many good players pass through waivers is that the money owed to them can be prohibitive in many cases when compared to the player’s current production. Perhaps the original signing team is a non contender hoping to unload that contract for a song. There are some interesting NL teams making half their players available like the Dodgers & Phillies, but my colleague Ben Bruno and I will be covering the AL rumors here, and here.
The New York Yankees are one confusing team right now. First, they did not make the big Deadline Splash that Yankee fans have come to expect and rely on to carry them to the post season. Granted the biggest fish on their radar may have been Cliff Lee, and I think here in NY we are all glad that trade never materialized. We were also looking for a big hitter, perhaps a Right Fielder to replace the unproductive Ichiro nostalgia trip or a slugging 2b or 3b (Utley maybe?) Instead the Yanks reeled in Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano, Martin Prado and Stephen Drew, not to mention a cast of minor league pitchers. It has been confirmed that both the Red Sox’ and Tampa Ray’s GM’s were instructed to trade their aces to ANY team, EXCEPT the Yanks. Surprise.
So far this whole arrangement has been successful, especially after taking 3 of 4 from the Tigers CY Young’s. But, this weekend’s poor showing at the hands of the Jays shows just how flawed this team really is. It won’t take much of a hiccup in the pitching ranks to scuttle the Yanks altogether as they are not going to bludgeon teams to death with homers as they once did. But, there are more reasons to scratch your head and wonder what is going on.
- The Yanks put Matt Thornton, Brett Gardner, Brendan Ryan & the aforementioned Ichiro, Prado & Drew through waivers making them all tradeable. Sure, every team goes through that exercise every season just to get a read on what may be possible, but something strange happened. Thornton was claimed by the Nationals. That should not be a surprise as they have been looking for a lefty for the bullpen for some time now. But, instead of reeling Thornton back in they let the Nat’s have him. At this writing it is not even clear what the compensation is going to be. So, are the Yanks buyers or sellers?
- It would not make sense to bring in Prado and Drew only to raffle them off, right? I don’t know. Maybe the Yanks discovered, as fantasy owners have the last two seasons that versatility is overrated if the player hits terribly no matter which position he is playing. The good news is that Gardner is not going anywhere any time soon. I seriously doubt Prado or Drew are either.
- The latest Yankee rumor is that there is serious thought to bringing in Josh Beckett & perhaps Carl Crawford from the Dodgers. They would fit in marvelously. The Yanks need another former Ace on the DL & a former over-hyped over-paid player who can’t stay on the field any longer, let alone hit with any authority when on the field. As long as they are in the hunt I’m watching, even if only to see Jeter’s final moments in Stripes, but I don’t know what they are doing.
- Why aren’t they bringing in Alex Rios whom the Rangers slid through waivers? Sure, his power is declining but he is still a good source of run production & steals and would look good hitting 6th or 7th for the Yanks and patrolling RF. Between the rest of this season and all of next he is owed 17 Million, but when has that ever stopped the Yanks? As for pitching it is hard to find a good list of SP that might be available other than Beckett and Francisco Liriano. I don’t think Correia who went to the Dodgers was the answer. But what about the Rangers Colby Lewis? Even Liriano would be quite an upgrade over 40-60% of the Yanks staff. Or, even the Mets Bartolo Colon who must be available?
Some other surprises from the Deadline, but deals that still could happen:
- Tampa: Ben Zobrist, James Loney and several of their relievers would make any contender better. Imagine Zobrist on the Tigers or A’s. I’ll bet the Card’s have their eye on him as well.
- Baltimore could still use a veteran at the top of their young rotation for the playoffs but there seem to be few available. I’m doubting they can come up with the package it would take to get the Phils Hamel’s, but that would put them squarly in the conversation with Oak and Det.
- Josh Willingham is still a Twin. Cashman, he can play RF.
- The White Sox still own John Danks, Adam Dunn, Al De Aza, Dayan Viciedo & Alexai Ramirez. What about the GM who signed them all in the first place? Maybe Abreu will work out better.
- Seattle still has not brought in a bat other than A-Jax. Willingham would be a good fit perhaps.
- The Royals could be contenders……or sellers. Since they did nothing they must be one of the Tweeners I spoke of in the opening paragraph.
- Maybe the Halos need some bullpen help as Grilli, Street, Thatcher and now Pestano may not have been enough. Too bad the Tigers beat them to Jim Johnson. Ok, that was a joke.
I wish I had more to tell but there is not much out there. Hopefully Ben Bruno will find more to talk about tomorrow in the National League.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio This Monday August 11th from 1-2pm EST we will have two guests – Bryan Luhrs and Joe Iannone. Bryan is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports, an author for MLFS, and also an owner in baseball & football. We will be discussing potential minor league call ups, what impact they could have, and the latest fantasy relevant information. You can call in live at 646.915.8596, you can listen online live, or you can download the podcast.