Remember, baseball trades can still happen. The waiver-trade period in August is often a juicy one. That established, we just completed an exhausting and fantastic July of trading; in this piece, we’ll try to sort through who’s fantasy value moved on the final moving day.
• Chris Archer, SP, Pirates: It’s not a perfect translation, but Archer has good interleague stats — full-time work in the National League could agree with him. Over 21 starts versus the NL, he compiled a 3.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 4.2 K/BB, 10.5 K/9. It’s probably a good time for a change of scenery, and a move away from the AL East (Archer’s career numbers weren’t bad against the Yankees and Jays, but the Red Sox and Orioles generally owned him).
• Kevin Gausman, SP, Braves: He was more teaser than pleaser through his six years in Baltimore — a 4.22 ERA, 1.35 WHIP. But given Baltimore’s horrendous track record with pitcher development, maybe we can’t blame it all on Gausman. Now the righty goes to a contender, a softer division, dodges the DH. The Braves have outstanding starting pitching depth, so the secondary arms don’t have long leashes. But at least Gausman has plausible upside in Atlanta, something he didn’t hold in Baltimore.
• Brian Dozier, 2B, Dodgers: The Twins and the Dodgers are two teams reluctant to run this year, so Dozier’s steal attempts might be gone in the Southern California smog, But the Dodgers are seventh in runs, the Twins 16th — just by being around better offensive pieces, the value takes a nudge forward.
• Jose Leclerc, RP, Rangers: With Keone Kela and Jake Diekman shipping to the National League, Leclerc could be next in line to close in Texas. Leclerc’s walk rate needs work — 19 free passes in 39.2 innings — but he’s also struck out a whopping 56 batters. A 2.27 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, a .157 average against, those all scream out “ninth inning.”
• Jonathan Villar, 2B, Orioles: You’ll have to wait for Villar’s thumb to heal, but if he can get back on the diamond, he offers stolen base upside (14 swipes) and the occasional home run. And for as much as Villar hacks at everything, his .261 average is acceptable. He’s worth a DL stash in the meantime; that stolen-base column is difficult to fill in 2018.
• Ian Kinsler, 2B, Red Sox: Kinsler has been a below-average offensive contributor the last two years, but he’s moving to a friendly park and the highest-scoring team in the majors. Location, location, location. He’ll probably slot at the bottom of the order, but any slot in the Boston lineup is a good one. To no one’s surprise, the Red Sox don’t expect Dustin Pedroia back this year.
• Keone Kela, RP, Pirates: Nothing complicated here. He was closing in Texas. He won’t close in Pittsburgh, short of a Felipe Vazquez meldtown.
• Mallex Smith, OF, Rays: He’s looked like a fourth outfielder for a while, and now the Rays eventually have the depth to put Smith into that role, depending on when Austin Meadows is ready. Smith has bumped his OBP to .347, but there’s no power here, and his base-running skills are a touch overrated — he’s merely 18-for-26 on the season. Maybe you won’t instantly cut Smith — see how the Rays handle the lineup first — but he could easily be squeezed out by the newfound options.
• Mike Rizzo, GM, Nationals: Pick a lane, Washington. If you feel pot committed with this group, fine, get better. If you think the season is too far gone, fine, sell some pieces. Washington didn’t make any major trades while just about every other major NL contender improved.
• Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Brewers: He was under the Mendoza when the month started, but a .360/.356/.700 July, with nine homers, fixed that. Like Mike Moustakas, the Brewers didn’t get an OBP baron with Schoop — he hasn’t walked since June 28. The Brewers are expected to keep Orlando Arcia at shortstop, which means Moose, Travis Shaw, Schoop and Jesus Aguilar will jostle for at-bats.
• Kirby Yates, RP, Padres: A waiver deal could always happen in August, but Yates gets a fantasy break sticking with the Padres. With a 1.52 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, he’s going to hold value just about anywhere — but a new team wouldn’t necessarily need Yates to close. For the time being, that’s not an issue. Mind you, Yates has just one save since the Brad Hand deal, but that’s another issue.
• Austin Meadows, OF, Rays: The Pirates had a crowded outfield, but Meadows is going to eventually play in Tampa Bay (though he’s starting off in Triple-A). He has a first-round pedigree, and hasn’t looked out of place in his first MLB experience (.292/.327/.468), with a smattering of category juice. The Rays also took a reasonable buy-low stab on RHP Tyler Glasnow, a post-hype pitcher who hasn’t worked out for Pittsburgh.