picture of MLB closer and pitcher Josh Hader, traded at MLB trade deadline from Milwaukee Brewers to San Diego Padres

Fantasy Radar #9: Unpackaging the Trade Deadline

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As the dust settles on another crazy MLB trade deadline, let’s take some time to outline the fantasy baseball implications of the trade deadline’s most significant moves. 

Juan Soto (99-100% rostered) and Josh Bell (95-99% rostered) to the Padres for CJ Abrams (3-9% rostered), Mackenzie Gore (27-29% rostered), Luke Voit (32-36%), + prospects

I don’t intend on keeping anyone waiting here.

In what is widely considered the largest trade in major league history, Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto was traded to the Padres. In return, the Nationals received a slew of high-tier prospects. 

Fantasy-wise, Not much is accomplished in this trade. Juan Soto will surely improve, but he wasn’t subject to any kind of movement pre-trade. Bell is going to improve as well, but he has also been considered a lineup mainstay. 

The Nationals get MLB-level talent back in Luke Voit (32-36% rostered), top prospect CJ Abrams (3-9% rostered), and MacKenzie Gore (27-29% rostered), all of whom are not serious fantasy needle movers. If already rostered, Abrams, Gore, and Voit enter drop territory as they move into a struggling Washington environment.

Brandon Drury (91-94% rostered) to the Padres:

With focus on the Juan Soto trade, it is the trade for Brandon Drury that’s actually the biggest fantasy-related move made by the Padres at the trade deadline. In week 7’s fantasy radar, I outlined how valuable Drury is and that value increases tenfold as he moves to the juggernaut Padres.

Noah Syndergaard (70-71% rostered) to the Phillies:

Syndergaard is to depart from the Angels to the contending Phillies. Square in the middle of a heated NL wild card race, a move to the Phillies will likely drive up Syndergaard’s win total. Though it may all be for naught. The Phillies’ mark of  -36 DRS is among the league’s worst. The Brandon Marsh acquisition will surely help (10th in the league in OAA) but it does little to fix their defensive woes. The bottom line: Syndergaard’s fantasy value will be boosted by wins but his ER/hits total will ultimately make Syndergaard’s move to Philadelphia moot. 

David Robertson (53-77% rostered) to the Phillies:

Robertson reportedly won’t be the closer in Philadelphia. Immediate drop. Next. 

Jorge Lopez (60-82% rostered) to the Twins:

A breakout star for the Orioles, Jorge Lopez will seek to continue his all-star season for the AL Central-leading Twins. Lopez will… be a closer! Stick to Lopez as one of your bullpen options as he’ll continue to be productive for a team that is closer to contending. 

Tyler Mahle (77-83% rostered) to the Twins:

Mahle will immediately be one of the Twins’ best pitchers and will have to go head-to-head with the league’s best pitchers. His .8 difference in ERA and FIP shows that a move away from the batter-friendly Great American Ballpark will improve Mahle’s stock. Mahle isn’t worth the effort of a trade but he is well-worth a waiver wire pickup if available. 

Luis Castillo (92-95% rostered) to the Mariners:

The Mariners made the first big move of the deadline when they sent the Reds a package of four prospects –headlined by Noelvi Marte– for all-star starting pitcher Luis Castilo. Castillo is another player who was in stable territory pre-trade so the trade doesn’t do much for fantasy players. On the other side, none of the prospects the Reds bring back are major-league ready so this trade is not fantasy relevant. 

Joey Gallo (27-46% rostered) to the Dodgers:

Joey Gallo has notoriously had one of the worst seasons by a high-tier player in recent memory. His inability to reach base wasn’t surprising (career .201 AVG) but his .621 OPS is seriously under his .801 career OPS. 

At the prime age of 28 years old, Gallo’s struggles are not a natural skill regression. In a recent interview with NJ.com, Gallo admitted serious mental health struggles during his time in New York. With how hard Yankees fans have been on him, it is no surprise that Gallo has performed so poorly this season. A player has never more exemplified the need for “a change in scenery” so his move to sunny LA will have positive effects. Consider a Gallo pickup. 

Darin Ruf (3-4%) to the Mets:

In the Mets’ biggest move, Darin Ruf was brought aboard for a package of 4 low to mid-tier MLB players prospects. Ruf’s 151 tOPS+ against LHP will work in tandem with Daniel Vogelbach to shore up the Mets’ need for left-sided power. This move could hurt the fantasy stock of Daniel Vogelbach so in a reverse from last week’s edition, I would actually not recommend picking up either hitter. 

Tommy Pham (48-50% rostered) to the Red Sox:

In a questionable move, the Red Sox picked up Tommy Pham after selling starter Christian Vazquez to the Astros. Pham will obviously improve in a near-everyday role with the still-in-there Red Sox but his 86 OPS+ shows that Pham shouldn’t be rostered in the first place. 

Eric Hosmer (28-49% rostered) to the Red Sox:

Hosmer drew significant media attention at the trade deadline by being the main holdup in the Juan Soto deal. Hosmer was initially set to be traded to the Nationals but he exercised his no-trade clause. The Red Sox scooped him up on the basis that the Padres would eat the near-entirety of Hosmer’s 3 years/$39mil contract. It’s yet to be seen if Hosmer will have an everyday role in Boston but his steady hitting and experience will be an upgrade for this team until touted prospect Triston Casas gets called up in September. I would hesitate to pick up Hosmer as his value isn’t guaranteed, especially with Casas up on his heels.  

Frankie Montas (95-96% rostered) to the Yankees:

In an attempt to avoid being redundant, I will simply link the time-sensitive Week 7’s fantasy radar for a description of Montas’ newfound value. The problem arises when you realize that Montas is likely too expensive at this point for a worthwhile trade.

Josh Hader (99-100% rostered) to the Padres for Taylor Rogers (79-87% rostered), Dinelson Lamet (1-3% rostered):

Hader has posted an oddly high 4.24 ERA on the season, but he has still been productive. Despite that, Hader has kept steady in fantasy as he hasn’t dipped below 99% rostered in any format. Hader will always be a hard get so I wouldn’t waste any time trying to make a trade. 

On the Brewers’ side, the addition of Rogers – among other trade deadline bullpen acquisitions like Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Bush – will create a serious battle for the prized closer job. It remains a question as to who will replace Hader. Will it be all-star set-up reliever Devin Williams? Taylor Rogers?? Trevor Rosenthal??? The decision on who is named closer will point you to which of these players you should be picking up. 

Trey Mancini (72-78% rostered) to the Astros:

Trey Mancini was involved in a three-team trade that saw the Baltimore fan-favorite sent to the ‘Stros. Mancini’s swing is ideal for Minute Maid but he will not be seeing nearly as many minutes. With Yuli Gurriel occupying first and Michael Brantley returning shortly to the outfield. At this point, Mancini is still a valuable fantasy player but that won’t last much longer. 

Christian Vazquez (65-75% rostered) to the Astros:

In a puzzling trade deadline move, Christian Vazquez was sent to the Astros for two prospects. His production will likely stay about the same as he moves from a good offensive team with a prominent left wall to a different good offensive team with a prominent left wall. 

Jose Quintana (17-22% rostered) to the Cardinals: 

I’ll save time here and again harken back to the week 7 edition. In short, pick up Quintana. 

Raisel Iglesias (88-92% rostered) to the Braves:

Iglesias’ only fantasy appeal was that he was able to pick up saves in Los Angeles. With Kenley Jansen set as the Braves’ closer, it is drop time for Iglesias. 

Will Smith (21-30% rostered) to the Astros/Jake Odorizzi (16-24% rostered) to the Braves:

Will Smith fell from his closer role this season in Atlanta and will likely not be reclaiming it in Houston, making him irrelevant for fantasy purposes. Odorizzi will primarily serve as a depth starting piece in a downgrade from his role as the last man in the Astros’ 6-man rotation. Neither should be on rosters after this move. 

Whit Merrifield (96% rostered) to Blue Jays:

In a move that is 3 years too late, the Royals traded Whit Merrifield in the wee hours of the trade deadline. Merrifield will obviously have more success in Toronto with monstrous offensive presences like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk surrounding him. Though at this point in his career, Merrifield is an average-at-best 2nd baseman and shouldn’t warrant an expensive trade. 

Jordan Montgomery (66-80% rostered) to Cardinals/Harrison Bader to Yankees(29-40% rostered): 

In a contender-to-contender move, the Yankees and Cardinals swapped pitcher Jordan Montgomery for OF Harrison Bader. Montgomery’s production may increase as he will start pitching in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the league. Defensive wizard Harrison Bader has never been a productive fantasy player and that won’t change in New York. Neither are exciting players but Montgomery offers far more value than Bader. 

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