Sunday, August 26, 2012

Real Trades/Fantasy Impact: August 25, 2012

Boston Red Sox trade Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ivan De Jesus Jr., James Loney, Allen Webster and two players to be named later (Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands).

Adrian Gonzalez is obviously the break-the-bank-spend-every-last-plugged-nickel-that-you-have player in this deal. He's having a disappointing season by any yardstick you choose to use but from a fantasy perspective is only disappointing if you expected him to replicate what he did in 2011. Gonzalez is on pace to earn in the mid-to-high $20s, which is in line with what he did from 2008-2010. These aren't superstar numbers, but it's extremely unlikely that there is going to be a free agent hitter who can make the potential impact that Gonzalez can over the last 35 games of the regular season. Dodger Stadium is going to blunt Gonzalez's potential impact, but with their new supercharged line-up the RBI opportunities will be there. As I said above, you have to break the bank if you can do so.

Josh Beckett
If you are an N.L.-only owner, your gut might be telling you that all Beckett needs is a change of scenery to fix what ails him. The reality, though, is that while the move from cozy Fenway to cavernous Dodger Stadium will help, the arrow is pointing the wrong way for Beckett. He has a 7.53 ERA in his last eight starts, and while his 4.89 FIP indicates some bad luck, that's still poor. Beckett's fastball velocity is down, and while reports of him throwing in the mid 80s are overblown, the fact remains that his velocity if off about 2-3 MPH from last season. And - in case you're wondering - Beckett's projected schedule the rest of the way isn't a cakewalk.

@COL, ARZ, @SF, vs STL, @WAS, @SD, SF

Tomorrow's start is brutal, but if you sit him in weekly leagues you miss the Arizona start as well. I don't like the St. Louis match-up even if it's at home and the Nationals in Washington isn't a favorable start either. That leaves four starts for Beckett where he's a good play. How much do you want to pay for four starts?

Carl Crawford
He's an obvious factor in non-keeper. Figuring out what to bid in keeper is an exercise in guesswork. Will he be back on Opening Day 2013? Will he return to form, or even close to form? Will he run the way he used to in Tampa Bay? I doubt there's a $40 jackpot lurking here for bargain hunters; it seems like $30 is a more realistic ceiling assuming a full season. $15-20 is probably the play here, but keep in mind that everyone is going to have the same mindset; $25 is the bid you want to make if you really are feeling good about Crawford. Unless inflation is high in your league or projected available outfielders are thin I wouldn't keep Crawford at this point at $25.

Nick Punto
Punto is a serviceable third middle infielder in N.L.-only, but here's hoping that by now you dumped into someone better.

James Loney
The only reason to bid aggressively on Loney is if you're the owner that lost out on Gonzalez. This is a sharp drop in talent and stats, though; Loney has a lousy four home runs this year and can't even be counted on for batting average. The park shift might help a little, but then again Loney could very well finish the year without hitting another home run. He's also going to be in a platoon with Mauro Gomez the rest of the way. Gomez might be the better play if you're looking for upside.

Allen Webster
If you can bid on minor leaguers in your league, Webster is probably the guy you want to bid aggressively on. John Sickels rated him as a B+ prospect in his analysis of the trade and B+ pitching prospects are worth grabbing in the late second or early third round of leagues with farm systems. Webster is in AA now; I think his ETA is mid-2013.

Ivan De Jesus Jr.
De Jesus Jr. might eventually make the Majors, but his bat is poor, he doesn't steal bases, and if he ever does start he'd be in there for his glove. Pass.

Jerry Sands/Rubby De La Rosa
We can't bid on these guys in my league because they're players to be named later and technically still in the National League. de la Rosa is the more interesting one of the two. He's got good stuff and while consistency has been a concern perhaps a change of scenery might help. Sands is more of a future platoon/depth guy, though his power potential makes him intriguing in Roto. If you can bid on these guys go ahead, but de la Rosa is where I'd put my money.

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