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Fantasy Baseball Radar: Post-Winter Meetings

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We are a week removed from winter meetings (which I covered last week), but most post-winter-meeting moves are made in the week following. In this past week, we’ve seen superstars capture massive deals, and we’ve seen unexpected low and mid-level signings. There’s plenty to dissect from a fantasy baseball perspective, so let’s get to it:

 

Carlos Correa to the Giants

The superstar shortstop found a permanent home in San Francisco early this Wednesday. You don’t just get the biggest contract ever handed to shortstop for being good, Correa has been face-of-the-franchise level for much of his career (we don’t talk about 2020). While his profile decreased somewhat in what was essentially a gap year in Minnesota, his OPS+ actually improved from his all-star, platinum-glove winning, top-5 MVP finish 2021 season. Now secure with a long-term contract, Correa will take some time to get comfortable in California, but when he settles in, it’s off to the races. Carlos Correa is still a top-tier fantasy baseball pickup. 

Xander Bogaerts to the Padres

The long-time Boston Red Sox moved on to greener pastures in San Diego with an 11-year/$280 million contract. Bogie immediately becomes a stabilizing locker-room presence and everyday all-star-level shortstop for a Padres team that was two wins from a World Series appearance. I hate to hate, but that green grass will quickly brown as Xander Bogaerts is the most prone of his class to age into a defensive liability with very little power. But for the time being, Xander Bogaerts should have the all-star level season that baseball fans have become accustomed to throughout the vet’s 10-year career. 

Kodai Senga to the Mets

Steve Cohen re-opened his checkbook for the NPB flamethrower with a 5-year/$75 million contract. Senga kept up a 2.42 ERA in his 12 seasons for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and will become the third pitcher behind aging aces Scherzer and Verlander. Senga is a talented and proven pitcher, but you never know how overseas players pan out in the major leagues. When it comes to fantasy baseball, temper your expectations… although I’m itching to see the ghost forkball’s MLB debut. 

Sean Murphy to Braves/William Contreras to Brewers/Manny Pina and Esteury Ruiz to Athletics

Atlanta, Oakland, and Milwaukee recently completed a trade. A trade that may have broken the record for most major-league catchers moved in one transaction. 

On the Braves’ side, they lose significant amounts of young talent but set themselves up for a lethal catching duo. Travis D’Arnaud is always a fantasy favorite and will continue to be so even with Murphy’s arrival. Sean Murphy’s fantasy value obviously improves with a departure from the impoverished Oakland Athletics. 

Onto the Brewers. The young and talented William Contreras was surprisingly involved in this trade. Contreras was in the 90th percentile for barrel% and xSLG% in his third season with the Braves. Contreras was understandably saddened by the news of his trade… but hey, now he’ll get to face off against his brother Willson of the St. Louis Cardinals. 

To the Athletics’ return. Manny Pina is a serviceable catcher, but shouldn’t be sniffing most fantasy rosters — much less as an Oakland Athletic. Ruiz is more intriguing. The utility man made his second major league appearance this past fall and put together a line of .171/.194/.257. However ugly those numbers look, what shouldn’t be missed from his debut this season is his blazing speed. In just 17 games, Ruiz pushed to the 98th percentile in sprint speed, a sign of his superhuman athleticism. If Ruiz can start putting bat-to-ball more often, he’ll be a very good roto option. 

Chris Bassitt to the Blue Jays

Chris Bassitt becomes the Blue Jays’ biggest addition during this free agency as he’ll enter a fairly top-heavy rotation. Bassitt will likely pitch behind Manoah in a role similar to his New York one. In his lone season for the Mets, Bassitt racked up 15 wins with an ERA+ of 113. Bassitt has consistently ranked high when it comes to limiting hard hits – a trait that’ll help a Blue Jays staff that ranked 11th for most HRs allowed. Bassitt is a reliable pitching pick in fantasy – and a wildly underrated one due to his high appearance and wins total. 

Noah Syndergaard to the Dodgers

Syndergaard makes his way back to LA in what’ll be his 4th team in 2 years. Syndergaard hasn’t been able to regain his footing after Tommy John derailed his 2020 and 2021 seasons. The hope is that the Dodgers’ pitching lab can get Syndergaard back to 2016 form — a season where he led the league in FIP and HR/9. Well worth the mid-to-late round gamble. 

 

attribution Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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