- The Season's Over -

Texas Rangers Bolster Bullpen with Stellar Koji Uehara and Mike Adams

August 2, 2011

Mike Adams Traded to Texas Rangers

Mike Adams photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell
The Orioles give Koji Uehara to the Rangers for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter; The Padres give up Mike Adams to the Rangers for Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin.

Let’s just get this out of the way first: this really sucks for everybody who owns shares in Mike Adams this season and beyond. I feel for you, I’ve been holding onto Adams in my keeper league for months assuming he would be the closer today. Not only does he get traded instead of Heath Bell and get shafted for the closer’s job in San Diego, Adams also goes from a pitcher’s paradise and a manager who ran a crisp bullpen to a hitter’s haven and a manager who struggles to keep his sock drawer in order. It makes no sense to me from the Friars’ perspective either: Adams is better than Bell, he’s younger than Bell and he’s under team control for a year longer than Bell. Boo-urns.

Let’s also say this: kudos to the Texas Rangers for landing two absolutely dominant and underrated relievers. This is how you shore up a bullpen at the trade deadline. On a per-inning basis, Uehara and Adams are now the Rangers best two pitchers. Hell, they might be the best one-two punch this side of Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel. Paired with 2010 AL ROY Neftali Feliz they should allow Texas to go into absolute lockdown mode after the 6th inning. That’s a scary thought paired with this team’s elite offense and decent starting pitching.

If I was gambling on either Adams or Uehara against Neftali I’d take either of the former to be closing out games by the end of the month. I don’t know what’s up with him, but with a 4.66 BB/9, 6.28 K/9 (only 6 Ks versus righties all year!) and 4.73 xFIP on the season Neftali is not closer material right now. The problem is, Texas got Adams and Uehara, and I have no idea which one will take over for Feliz if he continues to falter as I expect. In his second season in the MLB Koji Uehara has has posted an otherworldly set of numbers: 1.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 12.00 K/9, 1.50 BB/9. Damn. Still, he’s been a bit lucky with a .192 BABIP and 97.6% LOB this year and his track record isn’t lengthy with just 99 career appearances. In 271 appearances Mike Adams boasts a 2.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 9.29 K/9 – and over the last three years he’s been even better. With both under Rangers’ control for 2012, it’s that experience gap in favor of Adams and and old-school manager in Ron Washington that leads me to think Adams should have the inside track for the job if/when Felix falters.

There’s also one interesting piece on the Baltimore side of the equation. Chris Davis has made a name for himself as a prototypical quad-A player, and I don’t have anything to dispel that notion baseball fan, but he makes headlines once again. As per his usual, Davis has crushed minor league pitching this season to the tune of 24 HRs with a .405 OBP and .824 SLG (!). We’ve seen this picture before, though. Stellar in the minors, strikeout machine in the majors. Maybe the change of scenery helps, maybe it doesn’t. He’s not moving into a better lineup or park, and Texas doesn’t exactly discourage offense. A speculative play on Davis isn’t crazy given his prodigious power and gaudy minor-league totals and the fact that he should get all the playing time he can handle, I made the move in one deep league, but there’s no reason to have much faith in a career turnaround at this point.

1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 2, 2011 at 2:16am in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

Colby Rasmus Traded to Toronto Blue Jays; Edwin Jackson to St. Louis Cardinals

August 2, 2011

Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays

Colby Rasmus photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell

The White Sox trade Mark Teahen and Edwin Jackson to Toronto for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart; the Blue Jays send Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson and Marc Rzepczynski to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters.

I’m a Rasmus fan, I think that kid has all the tools to be an impact player and All-Star calibre contributor on both offense and defense as he enters his prime the next few seasons. After a blistering start to April in which it looked like the 24-year-old center fielder was poised to cash in on all his promise, Rasmus’ OPS has gone dramatically south in each successive month, falling to an unsightly .684 in June and abysmal .544 mark in July. You hate to see him leave a lineup with protection built in like Pujols, Holliday and Berkman, but with the youngster privately and publicly clashing with Tony La Russa over the last two seasons there’s no doubt in my mind a change of scenery was needed. The kid goes into a better hitters park, a more offensive-oriented division, joins a hitting coach that has seriously tapped into the power of his students and should be in line for everyday playing time from here on out. I think this is a big win, and could be the spark Rasmus needed to rouse him from the mid-season doldrums he’s been caught up in.

On the other side, the Cards pick up the talented-but-perpetually-frustrating Edwin Jackson. The stuff is there, and Jackson has shown plenty of “flahses” to inspire confidence in his abilities, but I think we’ve gotten to a point where he can safely be labeled a head case with bad control. I never like relying on that kind of arm. Still, Jackson moves to a decent pitcher’s park and will now study under the immortal Dave Duncan, who could probably still turn Carlos Silva into a decent 4th starter. There’s reason for optimism here, but I’m done relying on Jackson. He’s the kind of guy who will consistently tease you and post peripherals that grab your attention only to break your heart every Friday night.

The mover is potentially bad news for Rajai Davis, Eric Thames, and Travis Snider – all of whom have fantasy relevance and all of whom figure to get squeezed out of playing time in the near future. My money is on Thames being sent back down (he’s younger), Rajai being used as a defensive and base-running replacement (he’s been successful as such) and Snider being given a long look in left as long as he can continue to hit. There were also a number of relief pitchers and unexciting prospects involved in the deal. I don’t really feel like talking about them, but I do think Marc Rzepczynski is a decent young lefty to keep an eye on in Holds leagues – he qualifies at SP in Yahoo! leagues, which is always nice. Deep leaguers might also want to add Jon Jay to the Watch List, but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of roto value; he doesn’t really have much category juice.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:54am in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

The Cleveland Indians Nab Ubaldo Jimenez

August 2, 2011

Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians

Ubaldo Jimenez photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell

The Rockies send Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians for prospects Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride.

The Indians flipped a couple of solid pitching prospects for the name-brand Ubaldo, but the move really doesn’t move the needle much for me. I know Jimenez was the odds-on favorite for the NL Cy Young at this point last year, but a quick look at his peripherals even then showed he was playing over his head. Since then we’ve seen him collapse in the second half of 2010 and then perform like a thoroughly mediocre starter in 2011. It’s looking more and more like that first half of 2010 was the outlier in his career, and with Ubaldo losing a few ticks of velocity this season I’m not hopeful for a dramatic turnaround.

Most people point to his departure from Coors Field as a reason for optimism, and it is, Coors field is still brutal, but that is largely mitigated by going to the AL in my book. On top of that the Indians field a less capable defense behind Jiminez and their offense isn’t any better than Colorado’s. I think his value pretty much stays the same.

I feel like the Indians paid for the name and not the numbers here, giving up two very solid pitching prospects in the Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. White is a solid groundball pitcher who could plug a rotation spot, while Pomeranz may take some more seasoning but has flashed front-of-the-rotation talent in the minors. They were the consensus top lefty and righty, respectively, in the Indians system. Both figure to take a hit going forward pitching in that thin air of Colorado.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:45am in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

Bedard Brings his Curve Back to the AL East

August 2, 2011

Erik Bedard to Red Sox

Erik Bedard photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell

Bedard and Josh Fields traded to the Boston Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang as part of a three team deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Consider me conflicted on this one. I actually love Bedard’s talent, and I’m glad to see him finally put it together and stay reasonably healthy after so many years of injury woes. I know the guy is a noted curmudgeon, but so am I. We have a kinship. On top of that, Bedard has one of my favorite curveball-changeup combos of the last decade. The guy can make people look downright foolish when he’s on and it’s fun to watch. Health will always be a concern, but when he’s on the mound Bedard can be a difference-maker in fantasy and a pennant race.

The hasty analysis is to say this kills Bedard’s value as he moves from a pitcher’s haven in Safeco to a pitcher’s nightmare in Fenway, and that’s true, but let’s also note this: Bedard has been just fine on the road this season. In fact, he’s been significantly better than he’s been at home: 3 Wins, 2.16 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .203 BAA and 41 Ks in 41.2 innings on the road against 1 Win, 4.53 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .245 BAA and 46 Ks in 49.2 innings at home. So his spacious home ballpark has not exactly been a crutch for Bedard. Still, Safeco has been the 4th hardest place to score runs this year and Fenway has been the 3rd easiest. So yeah, the numbers may take a hit and fantasy owners are going to be benching Bedard a few more times against tough AL East offenses at home. But Bedard also goes from the worst run support in the league to the best. The Red Sox have scored 140 more runs than the Mariners this year, and that should easily translate into a couple more Ws down the stretch.

All is not lost, Bedard owners.

Trayvon Robinson is the big get in Seattle side of the trade. He’s a prototypical “toolsy” outfielder who brings some pretty decent speed and mediocre plate-discipline and on-base skills to the table, but he doesn’t register on the fantasy radar just yet. After a few years down on the farm working with the pitching machines he could end up being an impact top-of-the-order type of bat for the Mariners though, which isn’t bad considering Bedard was ready to walk after this season. It seems like a win-win situation for Seattle and Boston and no fantasy owners are left out in the cold either.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:28am in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

Floatsam and Jetsam: Miscellanea from the 2011 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline

August 2, 2011

Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes

Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America

By Andrew Thell

Those of us who get excited for trade season are usually left crestfallen as trade deadlines come and go with little fanfare. 2011 wasn’t too shabby though, I give it a 6 (on a scale that doesn’t really have any meaning, but let’s say it goes to, oh, 10). I’m not going to say the non-waiver trade deadline that passed on Sunday was some kind of wild, raucous, landscape-altering affair, but there were definitely some doin’s a’ transpirin’ in the MLB over the last week and there are plenty of implications in both real life and fantasy that deserve our attention. We might not have seen a high volume of superstars trade places, but the proceedings were many and they will have an impact on pennant races and imaginary trophies alike. I’m doing a small series of posts on the biggest moves, but let’s take a few minutes and break down the second-tier headlines as succinctly as possible:

Carlos Beltran Makes a Move to the Bay

The Mets send Carlos Beltran to the Giants for pitching prospect Zach Wheeler.

It’s a major move in real life, but we can still keep this brief: Carlos Beltran moves from a shitty NL hitting environment with an injury-bitten, mediocre offense around him to a shitty NL hitting environment with an injury-bitten, downright-bad offense around him. Zach Wheeler is a major coup for the Mets: he’s a top-50 pitching prospect with good groundball and strikeout numbers who should be great in Citi Field in two years.

The Giants needed to add a big bat, and Beltran is certainly that. He’s proving he has plenty left in the tank with 15 HRs, 67 RBIs, an excellent .904 OPS and a league-leading 30 doubles thus far. The Giants have a fantastic pitching staff and could make noise with that alone in the postseason, but they know they still need to score some runs to hold onto the NL West and be serious competitors. Beltran should keep doing what he’s doing and instantly becomes the Giants’ best offensive player, but there’s not going to be any Jose Reyes to knock in every time he sends a ball to the outfield and teams will be even more inclined to pitch around Carlos. It seems like a minor downgrade to me. Back in the NYC, Lucas Duda figures to see regular playing time in right. I have no sympathy for you if you click that add button.

The Phightin’ Phillies Bag Hunter Pence

The Astros ship Hunter Pence to the Phillies for Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid and a PTBNL.

I like Hunter Pence, but I can’t help but think the guy is a little overrated. Made the centerpiece of the Astros offense going into the season Pence has been decent, but his 11 HRs and .828 OPS don’t scream “star” to me. That’s what Houston advertised him as though, and in a market that was desperate for offense he generated plenty of interest. The Phils gave up a couple of middling prospects and Jarred Cosart, who has the stuff to pitch near the top of a rotation someday. That seems fair to me. I’m just not sure Pence is a huge upgrade over Dominic Brown, who Philly sent down to make room for Pence in the lineup. That makes Dom Brown and his owners the real losers in this deal. Que sera. He’ll be back soon enough. Pence has been a bit lucky in the BABIP dept this year, he no longer runs much, his power is just OK and the Philly lineup isn’t anything special these days, so while he should be a solid outfielder for the Phillies I’m not expecting anything dramatic in the second half.

Bourn to Braves and Ludwick to Pittsburgh, after the jump …

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 2, 2011 at 1:00am in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

     

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