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MLB Trade Deadline: Analysis and Fantasy Implications


The 2018 version of the MLB Trade Deadline was one of the most memorable in recent years. With players being dealt left and right, multiple teams around the league have changed the identity of their franchise for the present and future.

With so much movement going on, the fantasy baseball landscape has taken a major turn as well. Some players who were in great situations may no longer see opportunities while others may be in line for regular starts. This article will tell you which players to target, and which players you can drop following the deadline.

As the second half of the season rages on, it's time to start making sure your fantasy team is playoff ready. Adding the player who just got into a situation where he could break out could be crucial for fantasy success.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Chris Archer

Pirates Receive: RHP Chris Archer

Rays Receive: OF Austin Meadows, RHP Tyler Glasnow, PTBNL

(PIT) Analysis: After weeks of speculation, the Pittsburgh Pirates landed arguably the biggest fish available at the trade deadline in Chris Archer. Archer will work as the team's ace for the rest of the season and is under team control until 2021. Archer has pitched better as of late, holding a 2.70 ERA and a 50/16 K/BB ratio over his last 43 1/3. He should see an uptick in wins with Pittsburgh having a much better offense than Tampa Bay and could see his strikeout numbers improve no longer playing in the AL East.

(TB) Analysis: The Rays were able to get two great young talents in Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow. Most reports have been saying that the PTBNL is a high-value player such as Jung-ho Kang rather than a low-level lottery pick. Glasnow and Meadows are just two seasons removed from being ranked as the eighth and ninth best prospects in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. They should become major players in the Rays' future and joins a core that already features players such as Blake Snell, Kevin Kiermaier, Willy Adames and Jake Bauers.

Baller Move: It's likely too late to land Archer. He should be able to return to form with a change of scenery and fantasy owners likely aren't going to give him up for cheap. That being said, it can't hurt to see if Archer's owner in your league is skeptical of a turnaround and is willing to trade him. As for the Rays, Meadows is remaining in the minor leagues for now while Glasnow is being moved back to the rotation. It may be worth seeing if Glasnow could not only stick, but shine in the rotation before picking him up off waivers.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers Land Brian Dozier

Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier

Twins Receive: IF Logan Forsythe, OF/IF Luke Raley and RHP Devin Smeltzer

(LAD) Analysis: The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to land one of the better offensive second basemen in the league for a relatively cheap price. After acquiring Manny Machado prior to the deadline, the team now has arguably the best offensive infield in the league. With Cody Bellinger's ability to play center field, Dozier will be able to see regular starts at second with Max Muncy moving to first base.

(MIN) Analysis: For starters, it was smart of the Twins to move Dozier, a free agent at seasons end, rather than hold onto him for nothing. Forsythe should see regular starts in the infield and could see an uptick in value. While Smeltzer doesn't rank inside the team's top 30 prospects, Raley now sits squarely at 19th. Solid grab for an impending free agent.

Baller Move: Dozier was already owned in your league, but will see his value increase playing for a much better offensive team in the Dodgers. Despite struggling to a .224 average this season with 16 home runs, 52 RBI and eight stolen bases, Dozier should see his numbers improve in LA. He should finish the season as one of the best fantasy second basemen and there's no point in selling off now. On the Twins side, Forsythe will see a fantasy boost getting regular playing time. However, with Minnesota's roster gutted following the deadline, don't expect massive numbers from the former Dodger.

 

Brewers Trade For Jonathan Schoop

Brewers Receive: 2B Jonathan Schoop

Orioles Receive: IF Jonathan Villar, RHP Luis Ortiz and SS Jean Carmona 

(MIL) Analysis: With the Brewers already trading for Mike Moustakas and moving Travis Shaw to second base, dealing for another second baseman in Jonathan Schoop seems like a weird addition. How Milwaukee decides to configure their infield is still a mystery, however, Schoop is undoubtedly an offensive boost and gives them one of the best infields in the major leagues.

(BAL) Analysis: While they had to move a young player in Schoop, the Orioles got an amazing trade package in return. While some of his luster has worn off, Villar is just two seasons removed from a 62 stolen base campaign. He could become a major player for the team in the second half. On the prospect front, Ortiz now ranks as the team's seventh best prospect while Carmona ranks 14th.

Baller Move: If available, Schoop should be picked up in all leagues. If he's owned, it might be worth putting a feeler out to see if his owner is willing to trade him. He's going to see a massive boost playing in Milwaukee after hitting .244 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI in 85 games with Baltimore. Villar is currently on the disabled list, but when activated, he should be picked up in all leagues. He's going to see regular playing time, perhaps at the top of the lineup, and is a threat to steal whenever he is on base.

 

Philadelphia Phillies Land Wilson Ramos

Phillies Receive: C Wilson Ramos

Rays Receive: PTBNL or Cash Considerations

(PHI) Analysis: The Phillies weren't known to be a candidate to land Ramos prior to the deadline, but add a nice offensive threat to an already potent lineup. While this will now take Jorge Alfaro out of the lineup, Ramos was an All-Star this season and is a boost behind the plate. Landing him for cheap is a major accomplishment by Philadelphia's front office.

(TB) Analysis: It was vital for the Rays to move Ramos before letting him walk in free agency for nothing. It's unclear exactly what the team will receive for Ramos. If they can get a lower-league player with upside, it has to be considered a win for Tampa Bay. If it's just cash considerations, that'll be a tough look after Ramos' impressive first half.

Baller Move: It's still unknown exactly when Ramos will be activated from the disabled list, but he will see a boost playing in Philadelphia. He was hitting .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 78 games with the Rays. It's going to be tough trading for Ramos at this juncture, but if he was dropped due to his injury, he needs to be scooped up in a better offensive environment. As for Tampa Bay, Michael Perez will be the catcher to watch. After being dealt from Arizona in the Matt Andriese trade, Perez has hit .500 with an RBI and two runs scored in four games. If he is able to see starts over Jesus Sucre, Perez could be a player to add in deeper 12-man leagues.

 

Tampa Bay Rays Acquire Tommy Pham

Rays Receive: OF Tommy Pham

Cardinals Receive: OF Justin Williams, LHP Genesis Cabrera and RHP Roel Ramirez

(TB) Analysis: This was arguably the most shocking move of the deadline. Despite selling off players such as Chris Archer and Wilson Ramos, the Rays went and landed a versatile outfielder in Tommy Pham. Pham will play a major role on offense in 2018 and is under team control until 2021. Manager Kevin Cash had Pham batting cleanup in his debut with the team, a sign that Tampa Bay expects big things out of their new outfielder. He was a phenomenal get by the Rays.

(STL) Analysis: While it was shocking to see the Rays land Pham, it was almost more shocking to see the Cardinals trade him away. He is just 30 years old, is under team control until 2021, and was hitting .248 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI and 10 stolen bases on the season. He reportedly turned down a contract extension earlier this season and perhaps St. Louis took that as a slap in the face. The Cardinals did earn a solid return as Williams is now their ninth best prospect with Cabrera sitting 14th according to MLB Pipeline.

Baller Move: Pham is now a must own for fantasy purposes. He is going to see an uptick in playing time and will have a higher opportunity to produce runs. If he is available in your league he needs to be picked up and if not, you should see if his owner is skeptical of his landing spot on the Rays. As for St. Louis, Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill are going to split time in center field. Whoever gets the upper hand is worth a pickup in most leagues. On Wednesday, it was Bader who earned the start.

 

Atlanta Braves Trade For Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day

Braves Receive: RHP Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day

Orioles Receive: RHP Evan Phillips, IF Jean Carlos Encarnacion, C Brett Cumberland, LHP Bruce Zimmerman and International Bonus Slot money

(ATL) Analysis: The Braves had been attached to larger fish such as Chris Archer early during the deadline. Despite not landing Archer, Atlanta got a solid starting piece in Gausman and an underrated reliever in O'Day. While Gausman hasn't been fantastic this season, he gives Atlanta another young starter with MLB experience who could potentially help them reach the playoffs.

(BAL) Analysis: Moving Gausman was an interesting decision for Baltimore as he was still young and along with Dylan Bundy, could've been a pitcher to build around. However, in trading Gausman they were able to land a few nice pieces. Encarnacion now ranks as the team's 15th best prospect while Cumberland ranks 30th. The international bonus slot money could go a long way if they do end up signing free agent Victor Victor Mesa.

Baller Move: Gausman is not necessarily a must-have right now. Gausman has pitched to a 5-8 record with a 4.43 ERA and a 104/32 K/BB ratio this season. He is certainly getting an offensive upgrade in the Braves and could potentially be in line for more wins. However, until he finds consistency he cannot be trusted as anything more than a streamer against weaker teams. O'Day is out for the season with a hamstring injury.

 

Cleveland Indians Land Leonys Martin

Indians Receive: OF Leonys Martin and RHP Kyle Dowdy

Tigers Receive: SS Willi Castro

(CLE) Analysis: The Cleveland Indians were targeting multiple different outfielders and landed a solid one in Martin. He's in the middle of one of his best offensive seasons as a pro, hitting .251 with nine home runs, 29 RBI and seven stolen bases. With Tyler Naquin going down with injury, there's a chance Martin will see regular playing time. If Dowdy stays on the 25-man roster it will be in a relief capacity.

(DET) Analysis: With Martin a free agent as season's end, it was nice to see them land a prospect rather than have him walk for nothing. They landed a prospect with real potential as well, as Castro currently sits at number 10 in the team's rankings according to MLB Pipeline. Solid add for a one-year rental.

Baller Move: If Martin sees regular playing time with the Indians then he is worth an add in all leagues. He is playing in one of the best offenses in the MLB and is seeing a major boost going from Detroit to Cleveland. Martin's addition killed any fantasy value Rajai Davis/Greg Allen might've had.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks Land Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman

Diamondbacks Receive: RHP Brad Ziegler and LHP Jake Diekman

Marlins Receive: RHP Tommy Eveld

Rangers Receive: RHP Wei-Chieh Huang

(ARI) Analysis: The Diamondbacks did a great job in bolstering what was already a strong bullpen with two seperate deals. Ziegler has been on fire since his move out of the closer's role and held a 0.68 ERA and a 10/5 K/BB ratio over 15 games in the month of July. Diekman has been no slouch either and has pitched to a 3.69 ERA and a 48/23 K/BB ratio in 2018. The Diamondbacks currently rank second in the MLB with a bullpen ERA of 3.05. With the addition of Ziegler and Diekman their bullpen has somehow improved and is one of the scariest in the MLB.

(MIA) Analysis: Ziegler was drawing trade interest from multiple different teams and with Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider already in the fold, it was smart to move him. In return, the team landed Eveld, who currently does not sit inside the team's top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. However, Miami is in need of young pitchers, so maybe Eveld becomes more of a factor somewhere down the line.

(TEX) Analysis: With the Rangers already moving Cole Hamels and Keone Kela, it was smart to move another bullpen piece in Jake Diekman. The AL West is already tough with the Astros, Athletics and Mariners all looking like playoff teams, so Texas may be in need of a lengthy rebuild. In return for Diekman they received a prospect in Huang who does not currently rank inside the team's top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.

Baller Move: Despite the bullpen improvement, neither Ziegler or Diekman have any fantasy value as long as Brad Boxberger is seeing saves. If Boxberger were to go down, perhaps Diekman would step into a closer's role, although it's more like Archie Bradley gets the call. Both are great additions and should help the D'Backs in their playoff push, but could be left of the waiver wire for fantasy purposes.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers Trade For John Axford

Dodgers Receive: RHP John Axford

Blue Jays Receive: RHP Corey Copping

(LAD) Analysis: The Dodgers added a decent arm to in hopes of bolster their bullpen for a deep playoff run. Axford hasn't been fantastic in 2018, pitching to a 4.41 ERA and a 50/20 K/BB ratio. However, he's a veteran with 12 games of postseason experience, making him a decent gamble.

(TOR) Analysis: Toronto completely rebuilt their bullpen by trading not just Axford bu closer Roberto Osuna. In dealing Axford, the team, who may be headed towards a rebuild, smartly moved a veteran arm for a young prospect. Copping does not currently rank inside the team's top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.

Baller Move: Axford would probably need a few injuries before he saw saves in Los Angeles. He could be left on the waiver wire in all leagues.

 

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Aaron Loup

Phillies Receive: LHP Aaron Loup

Blue Jays Receive: RHP Jacob Waguespack

(PHI) Analysis: As the Phillies look to make it back to the postseason, acquiring a left-handed reliever like Loup makes a lot of sense. On the season, Loup has pitched to a 4.54 ERA and a 42/13 K/BB ratio. Like Axford, he hasn't been spectacular, but he was apart of the 2015 Blue Jays team that made the ALCS.

(TOR) Analysis: Moving Loup was another smart move as the Blue Jays were able to receive a prospect for a veteran reliever. Waguespack does not rank within the team's top 30 prospects, but you can never have enough pitchers in your minor league system.

Baller Move: Despite some uncertainty surrounding Philadelphia's closer, it looks as if Seranthony Dominguez has the job locked up for now. Regardless, it'd take a few injuries before Loup saw saves, meaning he should remain on the waiver wire.

 

Cleveland Indians Trade For Oscar Mercado

Indians Receive: OF Oscar Mercado

Cardinals Receive: OF Conner Capel and Jhon Torres

(CLE) Analysis: Mercado is an underrated addition for a Cleveland team in need of outfielders. While Leonys Martin will likely become the starter in center field. There's a chance that Mercado is given an opportunity later in the season. For now, he ranks as the Indians' 14th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

(STL) Analysis: There's no real reason why the Cardinals made this trade. Mercado is a solid prospect who has a real chance of succeeding at the major league level. They did land a solid prospect in Conner Capel, who now sits at 10th in their rankings. Perhaps Mercado, like Pham, rubbed them the wrong way and St. Louis felt like they had to make a move.

Baller Move: Mercado is the only player that has a real chance of becoming relevant in fantasy in 2018. If he gets called up he'll be a player to watch. However, that's a big if at this stage and he can be ignored for the time being.

 

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