Yep, Fantasy baseball trades are fun. And real-life baseball trades are even more fun.
We grabbed a head start on the trading deadline with a flurry of Monday activity. The Yankees landed a future Hall of Famer for the outfield. The Tigers secured two critical pieces for their AL Central defense. The Braves acquired a big-name arm, or maybe they didn't. Load up the bulletry and let's break it all down.
• The above-the-fold news came with the Yanks and Mariners, as Seattle icon Ichiro Suzuki was dispatched to New York for two ordinary minor-league prospects (RHPs Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell). With Brett Gardner down for the rest of the year, New York picks up a strong outfield defender and someone who can still run. Ichiro is a free agent after the season.
It hasn't been a banner campaign for Suzuki, obviously (.261-49-4-28-15). He's not even a Top 50 outfielder to this point in the Yahoo! game. But the Safeco Field effect has something to do with it; Suzuki's OPS is 172 points higher in road games. Yankee Stadium should serve him well, not to mention being around all the New York run producers.
Shifting to a contender might put an extra bounce or two in Ichiro's 38-year-old step, too (keep in mind he requested this deal in the first place). I don't expect him to all of a sudden take the league by storm, and he might bat near the bottom of the lineup more often than not (he's slotted eighth Monday, at Seattle coincidentally enough), but this is the sort of shift that will add a couple of extra bucks to Ichiro's next Shuffle Up price.
If you're wondering about the Mariners going forward, here's their outfield for Monday: Casper Wells in left, Michael Saunders in center, Carlos Peguero in right. Catcher John Jaso, who's been hot of late, is slotted third. You'll be missed, No. 51.
• The Tigers are one of the few teams that spit on the defensive revolution this year. Everyone knows that cornermen Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera get paid to mash, not defend; Jhonny Peralta is a mediocre shortstop; and second base has been a revolving door all season. On Monday, the Detroit braintrust finally decided to give their poor pitchers a break. Welcome back to town, Omar Infante. (The Tigers also picked up pitcher Anibal Sanchez, while Miami gets a three-prospect collection that's headed by pitcher Jacob Turner.)
Infante isn't the second coming of Roberto Alomar, but he's a plus defender just about anywhere. Rick Porcello and Doug Fister are probably weeping tears of joy right now, no longer in fear of pitching to contact. It's not clear where Infante will slot in the Tigers lineup (he's a .287 hitter but walks about four times a month), but the category juice (eight homers, 10 steals) and versatility play well in mixed-league formats. Again, this isn't a gigantic upgrade for the player, but Infante's value gets a kick forward on Woodward Avenue.
Detroit also scooped up Sanchez in the deal, a fantasy angle that's harder to figure. Obviously the sledding is a lot harder in the American League, home of the designated hitter and teams that play for the big inning. Detroit's park is on the roomy side, though, and the AL Central is the safest division in the junior circuit. I'm going to call this a lateral roto move for Sanchez; he's shifting to a better club and support system, but the opponents will be tougher.
• The FILO trade of the day (first in, last out) is the Ryan Dempster swap, which is currently sitting in limbo. It appeared the Braves had a deal in place, shipping prospect Randall Delgado to Chicago for the veteran righty, but Dempster is a 10-5 man (which gives him veto rights on any trade) and has yet to agree to the deal.
If and when Dempster lands in Atlanta, it's a modest push forward: the Braves have the best closer in the majors right now (Craig Kimbrel) and a super collection of defensive outfielders. So long as Dempster sticks in the NL at the end of the day, his roto owners should be content. I'd hate to see him land in Texas or Boston or New York, one of those offensive-crazy environments in the AL.
A lot to digest here. How's your day been, gamer?
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