by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Yesterday was by far one of the craziest MLB Trade Deadlines in recent memory. While there were a few prospects who moved, we saw an uncharacteristic number of deals that saw playoff contenders deal off their Major League roster. Obviously, as with any trades, there are going to be winners and losers. We all know who’s already ownable, like John Lackey (who sees a bump in value), so let’s take a look at some of the lesser known winners/losers from yesterday:
Oscat Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals – Outfielder
It was a huge surprise when the news came that the Cardinals had traded Allen Craig as part of the deal to land John Lackey. In fact, the talk going around over the previous few days was that the Cardinals had started souring on Taveras and could potentially include him in a trade for David Price. Instead it’s Craig that’s sent packing and Taveras suddenly appears primed for regular playing time. It’s easy for fantasy owners to be discouraged, but we have to remember that he has long been considered one of the premier prospects in the game. Now armed with regular AB, he’ll finally have the opportunity to show it.
Jarred Cosart – Miami Marlins – Starting Pitcher
I have never been the biggest Cosart fan but not only is he moving from the AL to the NL, he’s moving from a pitcher’s nightmare in Houston to an extremely friendly pitcher’s park in Miami. Those two facts alone make Cosart a “winner”, but can he become fantasy relevant? He did show better strikeout stuff in the minors (7.8 K/9, including an 8.7 mark at Triple-A) so there’s hope that he can improve there with the move away from the DH and generally tougher lineups. He also has proven to be a great groundball pitcher (55.8% in 176.1 innings in the Majors), something that should play extremely well in Miami. He’s hardly a must own option, but the potential is there to develop into a usable one.
Nick Franklin – Tampa Bay Rays – Second Baseman/Shortstop
He clearly had no place in Seattle, so simply getting out of there was going to make him a winner. Where is he going to play immediately in Tampa Bay? That remains to be seen with Yunel Escobar at SS and Ben Zobrist at 2B. Maybe Zobrist shifts somewhere else, given his flexibility, but regardless he gets new life and should ultimately find a role.
Zach Walters – Cleveland Indians – Shortstop
Everyone assumed if Asdrubal Cabrera was traded the Indians would quickly recall Francisco Lindor to fill the void. Not so fast… The Indians obviously like Walters, or they wouldn’t have acquired him, and he easily could get the first crack at filling the void (along with Mike Aviles and Jose Ramirez). Walters is a rare source of power out of the middle infield, with 44 HR in 781 PA at Triple-A the past two seasons courtesy of consistently elevated HR/OFB (22.3% and 22.7%). Considering that it came in the International League, we have to give the 24-year old credit. He also has experience playing 2B, 3B and the OF, so he gives the team versatility regardless.
Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox – Shortstop
Maybe it was coincidence and maybe it wasn’t, but while everyone has soured on Bogaerts we need to keep in mind that his struggles began once he was moved to 3B to accommodate the signing of Stephen Drew. However, with Drew now in New York (to play 2B, a deal that still seems a bit odd), Bogaerts is going to shift back over to shortstop. Even if it wasn’t the position shift, Bogaerts had begun hitting again of late (.317 with 2 HR in 41 AB since the All-Star Break) so it’s hard to truly classify him as a “winner” purely from the deal. Still, it doesn’t hurt.
Jake Marisnick – Houston Astros – Outfielder
It appeared like he didn’t have a chance to get a starting role in Miami, but the outfield in Houston remains unsettled. He could get a chance to play immediately and could soon form an impressive young outfield with George Springer and Domingo Santana. Marisnick brings power and speed, making him worth considering.
Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox – Second Baseman/Outfielder
The assumption had been that Betts would return, at some point, and slot into the Red Sox’ outfield. After the additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, as well as Will Middlebrooks returning to man 3B, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for Betts. Centerfield? That has to be where Brock Holt is penciled in, since he deserves to be in the lineup, and there is also Jackie Bradley Jr. and maybe Shane Victorino (if he can ever stay healthy). Betts should return in September, but it seems impossible he gets many opportunities.
Danny Espinosa – Washington Nationals – Second Baseman
He falls back into a utility role, thanks to the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s easy to recommend moving on from him at this point.
Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers – Outfielder
Not only did Pederson stay with the Dodgers, but so did all of their veteran outfielders. There still has to be belief that the Dodgers eventually give Pederson an opportunity (since he is the best centerfielder they have), but his arrival is not as imminent as it could have been today.
James Jones – Seattle Mariners – Outfielder
Jones had appeared to get the centerfield job, but the acquisition of Austin Jackson will certainly change that. Could Jones play over RF over Corey Hart (if Hart can’t get going)? Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference
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