Let’s Make A Deal! Marte, Gallo & Escobar Move

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The trade deadline for Major League Baseball isn’t until Friday at 4:00 PM, but that doesn’t mean all of the action is going to wait until then. Wednesday wound up being a banner day for trades around the league. Let’s take a quick look at all of the moves and the fantasy implications from each one.

Athletics acquire Starling Marte and cash considerations from Marlins for Jesus Luzardo

This one came as one of the bigger surprises of the day. Not the fact that Marte was moved — as he recently turned down an extension offer and was a near-certainty to be dealt before Friday’s deadline — but that it wound up being the Athletics who pulled the trigger.

This has long been the type of move that the A’s front office has seemingly shied away from, giving up an intriguing and cost-controlled young player for a two-month rental player that’s going to hit free agency at season’s end. Here’s why it works though — for both sides.

The A’s offense definitely needed a jolt if they’re going to go on a run and snag a Wild Card spot, and Marte brings everything to the table — power, speed and a high OBP. General manager David Forst called Marte “the best position player out there” and said he had been targeting him for weeks.

Marte has been a monster when on the field this season, slashing a robust .306/.407/.453 with seven homers, 25 RBI and 22 stolen bases. He has been running like crazy since returning from the injured list on May 28, swiping 19 bases over his last 48 games. He should slot into the second slot in the A’s order behind Mark Canha and will be in a tremendous position to rack up counting stats. 

On the flip side, it’s the first major trade that Marlins general manager Kim Ng has made, and it would appear as though she did a tremendous job here. By picking up nearly all of Marte’s remaining salary for the season, she wound up getting an extremely exciting young arm in return for a pending free agent. 

Luzardo has struggled in his time in the big leagues this season (6.87 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over 38 innings), but he’s still a fire-balling 23-year-old left-hander who was considered a consensus top-ten prospect in all of baseball entering the 2020 season. It’s not yet clear if the Marlins view Luzardo’s future in the rotation or in the bullpen, but he still possesses tantalizing upside either way. For this season though, in redraft leagues, it’s hard to envision him returning much value for fantasy managers.
 

**** REPORTED DEAL NOT OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED ****

Yankees to acquire OF/1B Joey Gallo and LHP Joely Rodriguez from the Rangers for RHP Glen Otto, 2B Ezekiel Duran, SS Josh Smith and INF/OF Trevor Hauver

The Yankees reportedly made a major acquisition on Wednesday, agreeing to acquire Joey Gallo and Joely Rodriguez from the Rangers for a package of four prospects. There have been some adjustments made to the deal — and to the prospects that the Rangers are set to receive in return — but it sounds like Gallo will officially become a member of the Yankees on Thursday.

So let’s explore the fantasy ramifications of the move. Contrary to popular belief, Joey Gallo is in fact a star. Yes, he hits for a poor batting average and strikes out a ton. Those things don’t necessarily preclude him from greatness. He gets on base a ton, thanks to a league-leading 74 walks, he hits for as much power as anyone, and he’s a Gold Glove right fielder.

On the season, he’s hitting .223/.379/.490 with 25 long balls, 55 RBI, six stolen bases and a 125/74 K/BB ratio in 388 plate appearances. His fantasy value gets an absolutely massive boost from this deal. He’s leaving an anemic offense that has scored the fewest runs in the American League this season and boasts an OBP under .300 as a team — to go to the team that has scored the second fewest runs in the league, but one that has an infinitely better supporting cast. Gallo has as much raw power as anyone in the sport, so playing in a pitcher’s park in Arlington didn’t necessarily sap his power, but you’d have to think that his home run totals will also benefit from playing in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Huge up arrow here.

The only other player in this deal who is likely to see meaningful time at the big league level this season is Rodriguez, whose value takes a major hit. He was a darkhorse candidate for saves in Texas, with the assumption that Ian Kennedy would be dealt at the deadline. Now, he’ll find himself relegated to a middle relief role in one of the deepest and most talented bullpens in the land.

Brewers acquired INF Eduardo Escobar from the Diamondbacks in exchange for INF Alberto Ciprian and OF Cooper Hummel.

All season long it has seemed like the National League Central Division-leading Brewers were one bat short in their lineup. They went out and got that bat on Wednesday, acquiring All-Star third baseman Eduardo Escobar from the Diamondbacks.

The 32-year-old is in the midst of a major bounceback season, slashing .246/.300/478 with 22 long balls and 65 RBI. If he has driven in that many runs in the Diamondbacks lineup, just imagine what kind of damage he’ll do with a better supporting cast. His fantasy value definitely rises with this trade. 

He has split his time between third base and second base primarily this season — though he has played some shortstop as well and has been used in the outfield in the past. Brewers skipper Craig Counsell is likely to use him in a versatile role, as opposed to being penciled in as the team’s everyday third baseman.

Hummel, a versatile 26-year-old, was not listed among the Brewers top-30 prospects. In 126 at-bats at Triple-A this season, he has hit .254/.435/.508 with six homers and 15 RBI. Ciprian is an intriguing 18-year-old who was a recent international signing out of the Dominican Republic. He hit .378/.465/.514 with five doubles in 18 games during the Dominican Summer League.

Astros acquired RHP Yimi Garcia from the Marlins in exchange for OF Bryan De La Cruz and RHP Austin Pruitt.

Dealing Starling Marte wasn’t the only move that Kim Ng made on Wednesday, as she also dealt closer Yimi Garcia to the Astros.

This move will have some fantasy implications as Garcia will no longer find himself in a closer’s role — now relegated to a setup capacity alongside Kendall Graveman in front of Ryan Pressly in the Astros bullpen.

It also opens the ninth-inning gig in Miami for one lucky fellow. We had hoped to get a glimpse of who that would be on Wednesday, but the Marlins ultimately blew a lead in the eighth inning before we got the chance. Both Dylan Floro and Anthony Bender are strong candidates to secure that job — and both should be owned for the time being until we see how this thing plays out.

For the Marlins, Pruitt was recently designated for assignment after struggling to a 6.85 ERA in two appearances this season. He could settle into a middle relief role with the big league club. De La Cruz, 24, wasn’t considered to be among the team’s top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, but he had been raking at Triple-A to the tune of .324/.362/.518 with 12 homers and 50 RBI in 272 at-bats. Given the departure of Starling Marte, there could be an opening for him to get a shot in the Marlins outfield.

Reds acquired RHP Mychal Givens from the Rockies for RHP Case Williams and RHP Noah Davis.

It’s not the major bullpen addition that you were hoping to see if you’re a Reds fan, but at least it adds another capable arm into a muddled late-inning mix. Givens has pitched fairly well this season, with a 2.73 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 34/14 K/BB ratio across 29 2/3 innings. He also has 21 career saves under his belt. He’s probably not a great option if speculating on saves, with Heath Hembree proving capable in the role and Amir Garrett also looming.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Sean Manaea - 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 36% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

Manaea was outstanding in this one, carrying a bid for a perfect game into the sixth inning before allowing a one-out walk to Jurickson Profar. He then lost his no-hitter to the next batter as Eric Hosmer singled. Not to worry though, Manaea retired the next two hitters to complete six shutout frames. He generated 15 whiffs in this one — eight on his sinker — and registered a stellar 36 percent CSW. He has been outstanding all season for the A’s, posting a 3.01 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 137/29 K/BB ratio over 122 2/3 innings. Not bad for a guy who had an average draft position of 232 in NFBC Main Event drafts.

Walker Buehler - 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 37% CSW, 8 swinging strikes

Not a bad way for the right-hander to celebrate his 27th birthday, firing seven shutout innings in a victory over the Giants. Only one opposing baserunner reached second base against him in this dominant effort. He has absolutely owned his hard-hitting division rival this season, allowing just three earned runs over 34 innings (0.79 ERA) in five starts against the Giants this season. On the whole, he has compiled a terrific 2.19 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 139/31 K/BB ratio across 135 2/3 innings on the year.

Robbie Ray - 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 30% CSW, 21 swinging strikes

Ray wasn’t as sharp as he has usually been this season, but was able to pitch his way out of a few major jams (including a bases loaded no-out spot in the second inning) and registered a stellar line overall. Of his 21 swinging strikes, 12 came on his fastball, seven on his slider and two on his changeup. Now 9-5 on the season, he boasts a 3.04 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 150/30 K/BB ratio across 118 1/3 innings on the season.

Michael Wacha - 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 35% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

It’s the second time this season that Wacha has struck out nine batters — both coming against the Yankees. Still, he was pulled after throwing just 79 pitches in the game with Rays skipper Kevin Cash doing his typical thing. Wacha has gone more than five innings just three times all season and has yet to go deeper than six. He sports an underwhelming 4.79 ERA over 71 1/3 innings on the season.

Hitters with an EDGE

Joey Votto - 2-for-3, 2 HR (19), 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

The 37-year-old slugger is currently on a heater unlike he has ever experienced in his 15-year big league career. On Wednesday, Votto homered for the fifth consecutive game — and tallied his second straight multi-homer game in a lopsided victory over the Cubs. Since the All-Star break, Votto is hitting .372 (16-for-43) with eight homers and 16 RBI in 12 games. His seven homers in his last five games tie a franchise record.

Shohei Ohtani - 2-for-3, HR (37), 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

The 27-year-old superstar blasted a 388-foot three-run shot off of Jesus Tinoco in the fourth inning for his Major League-leading 37th home run of the season. He also singled and drew a pair of walks, reaching base safely in four of his five plate appearances and scoring two runs. He’s now hitting an absurd .280/.367/.697 with 37 homers, 81 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 392 plate appearances on the season.

Franmil Reyes - 3-for-3, 2 HR (19), 2 RBI, 2 R, BB

Reyes clobbered a pair of absolute bombs off of Kwang-Hyun Kim — one that went 446 feet and another that went 420 feet — as the Indians topped the Cardinals. He has now homered eight times in 18 games since returning from the injured list and looks like he’ll be carrying fantasy managers in that category for a while.

Miguel Sano - 3-for-5, 2 HR (17), 4 RBI, 2 R, BB

Miguel Sano hit two of the Twins seven total home runs in an improbable loss to the Tigers in a 17-14 slugfest at Target Field. Remarkably, the Tigers did not homer in the contest. Sano’s second blast traveled an estimated 473 feet — making it the fourth longest home run in baseball this season. He continues to provide plenty of power and not much else, slashing .208/.291/.446 to go along with his 17 long balls and 40 RBI on the year.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Milwaukee Brewers — Available in 79% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

If you haven’t heard, stolen bases can be an extremely difficult commodity to come by in fantasy baseball. Especially stolen bases that don’t come as a major drain in the other four offensive categories. Enter, Lorenzo Cain. The 35-year-old outfielder returned from the injured list on Tuesday and has seemingly returned to an everyday role in the Brewers outfield. He has come out of the gate swinging, with three hits and three RBI over his first two games back and looks like he could be a difference maker in the second half in deeper mixed leagues. Over his last three full seasons, Cain averaged 12 homers and 25 stolen bases per season — and he had three homers and four swipes in 31 games before landing on the injured list. 

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Closing Time

Aroldis Chapman vs. Rays - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K (20th save)

The calls of Chapman’s demise after a miserable stretch prior to the All-Star break appear to have been premature. He has now allowed just one run on three hits over his last eight outings and has successfully converted each of his four save chances since the break. For the season, he carries a disappointing 3.93 ERA and 1.39 WHIP, but that comes with a stellar 64 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. He has once again cemented himself in the closer’s role for the Yankees

Edwin Diaz vs. Braves - 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K (23rd save)

Diaz certainly made things interesting in this one. After coming on with a one-run lead to protect, he gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to Abraham Almonte. After a fly out, Ehire Adrianza hit what looked to be a game-tying RBI single, but a perfect throw from Michael Conforto gunned down Almonte at the plate and saved the Mets closer. He now sports a 3.89 ERA and 1.20 WHIP on the season while converting 23 of his 27 save chances.

Jordan Romano vs. Red Sox - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (8th save)

While he has had a few bouts of inconsistency this season, the 28-year-old hurler has been pretty impressive overall with a 2.29 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 43/17 K/BB ratio across 35 1/3 innings. He has also blown just one save chance all season — back on April 8 in his third appearance of the season. The Blue Jays are in the market for late-inning bullpen help, so it’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out this week and whether or not Romano is still the favorite for saves in the Jays pen by the end of the day on Friday.

Thursday’s Matchup of the Day

Luis Patino (TB) vs. Gerrit Cole (NYY)

While there are plenty of intriguing matchups on the docket for a full slate of MLB action on Thursday, the one that piques my interest the most is the afternoon showdown between the Rays and the Yankees in Tampa Bay.

21-year-old right-hander Luis Patino was the prize of the trade that sent Blake Snell to the Padres. While he has shown flashes this season, he owns a troublesome 5.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 25 2/3 innings at the big league level. It looks as though the Rays are giving him a legitimate chance to remain in the rotation this time around though, and he could carve up a right-handed heavy Yankees lineup in this one.

On the other side of the diamond, you have Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. After a pair of miserable starts after MLB’s crackdown on sticky substances, has rebounded with strong starts in his last three and a 31/6 K/BB ratio over 20 innings in that stretch. He leads all American League hurlers in strikeouts (166) while posting a stellar 2.74 ERA and 0.97 WHIP across 125 innings.

He has faced the Rays three times already this season, firing a pair of gems in his first two starts while giving up five runs over five innings his last time on June 3. His only start of the bunch at Tropicana Field however, he struck out 12 over eight shutout frames.

 

American League Quick Hits: Eloy Jimenez left Wednesday’s game with right groin tightness. The early exit was considered precautionary and he’s listed as day-to-day. … The Angels placed slugger Jared Walsh on the 10-day injured list with a right intercostal strain. … Rafael Devers was pulled from the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader due to tightness in his quad. He’ll get Thursday off as a precautionary measure, but is expected to avoid the injured list for the time being. … Mitch Garver (hand) sat out Wednesday’s game after being hit by a pitch on Tuesday. He’s considered day-to-day. … Jonathan Schoop was scratched from the Tigers lineup on Wednesday due to back tightness. … The Rangers agreed to terms with first round pick Jack Leiter on a signing bonus just north of $7.9 million. … Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo noted that Julian Merryweather (oblique) is “not close” to returning. … Nelson Cruz was scratched from the Rays lineup due to a right foot contusion. He’s listed as day-to-day. … Randal Grichuk homered and drove in three runs as the Jays took the first half of Wednesday's doubleheader from the Red Sox. … Ryan Jeffers homered twice and drove in six runs as the Twins fell to the Tigers by a field goal 17-14. … Eric Haase drew three walks and smacked a three-run double as the Tigers triumphed in that one. … Matt Chapman blasted a three-run homer and scored three times as the Athletics walloped the Padres. … Abraham Toro belted a two-run homer and stole a base in a losing effort against the Astros. … Tanner Houck struck out seven and generated 14 whiffs over four innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Jays. … Lucas Giolito struck out seven over six innings of one-run baseball in a tough-luck no-decision against the Royals. … That’s after Salvador Perez slugged a game-tying solo homer off of Liam Hendriks in the ninth inning.

National League Quick Hits: Wednesday’s game between the Nationals and Phillies was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The Nationals reportedly have 12 positive tests including Trea Turner who went on the COVID-19 IL after being pulled from Tuesday’s game. … Bob Nightengale of USA today reported that Trea Turner is unlikely to sign a contract extension with a team on the West Coast. … Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that trade talks involving Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer have intensified. … Morosi also indicates that the Dodgers have spoken to the Cubs about several players, including closer Craig Kimbrel. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network notes that Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) has been drawing trade interest as well. …Morosi also reported that the Giants are one of the many teams in on Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. … Nolan Arenado was pulled from Wednesday’s game with a bruised right forearm. He’s considered day-to-day. … Buster Posey was lifted from Wednesday’s game after taking a hard foul ball off of his catcher’s mask. … Nico Hoerner was removed from Wednesday’s contest with an apparent side injury. … Chase De Jong is expected to miss at least five months after undergoing knee surgery. … The Mets mercifully designated Jerad Eickhoff for assignment. … Garrett Cooper will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a partial tear of his UCL. … Rodolfo Castro blasted a pair of home runs in a loss to the Brewers. Each of his first five big league hits have now left the yard, though he’s hitting just .238/.304/.952. … Madison Bumgarner struck out four over seven innings of two-run baseball in a victory over the Diamondbacks. … Tylor Megill gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Braves, snapping his scoreless innings streak at 17 2/3 frames. … Brandon Drury smacked a pinch-hit, go-ahead homer to beat the Braves. … Jesus Aguilar homered and drove in three runs as the Marlins fell to the Orioles. … Raimel Tapia went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base in a loss to the Angels.

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