With the majority of us knee deep in the regular season drama of the NFL, NBA, and NHL, it’s easy to overlook the off-season trades, transactions and new landing spots of MLB players. In an attempt to avoid both the the season-long draft day and daily fantasy lineup construction surprises, we at DFS Karma will be providing a hot stove series of articles to keep you informed of players on the move and the affect it may have on each player’s new team.
With the 2019 MLB winter meetings officially in the rear-view mirror, it’s safe to say there were plenty of rumors to keep up with. Even though there were not many signings during the course of the meetings, clearly the groundwork was laid for subsequent transactions, and some still to come. Here’s a recap of recent signings and forecasting on where these might be taken in fantasy drafts.
Philadelphia Phillies sign Didi Gregorius
There was speculation that Gregorius had at least one multi-year offer, but took Philadelphia up on a one-year, $14 million contract. This deal provides middle infield clarity for both the Phillies and the Yankees. Philadelphia can confidently slide Jean Segura over to play second base next to Gregorius, while the Yankees will be just fine with Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMehieu as their full-time double play combo. It sounds like the off-season healing has been good for Gregorius, and he could flirt with 25-30 homers if he gets 500 at bats in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. His fantasy draft position is in the 220-230 range.
New York Yankees sign Gerrit Cole
As we mentioned in last week’s article, Cole was expected to get in excess of $300 million. He did that and more, signing for a record $324 million over the next nine years. Keep in mind that the Yankees cruised to 103 wins last season, mostly on the back of their potent offense. Now add in a dominant ace (2.50 ERA and 326 Ks in 212 innings over 33 starts last season) to the top of their rotation? We might want to consider the over in New York’s win total prop for 2020. I cannot see Cole going any later than 8th overall in most season-long drafts.
Chicago White Sox trade for OF Nomar Mazara
Considered to be a player “failing to meet his potential” by some seems a bit premature for this 24-year old outfielder because he drew interest from at least five teams this off-season. Mazara lands in Chicago with OF Steele Walker going to Texas in return. The White Sox didn’t give up much for a chance at Mazara blossoming into a 30-homer producer. His ADP is right around 150 in early season-long drafts.
Milwaukee Brewers sign SP Josh Lindblom
Taking a page out of the recent successful overseas pitching book authored by the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, the Brewers sign Lindbloom from Korea’s Doosen Bears. Like St. Louis with Miles Mikolas, and Arizona with Merrill Kelly, Milwaukee hopes to improve it’s starting rotation by signing Lindblom to a three-year, $9.125 million contract. Projected to slot in as the 4th or 5th starter, this incentive-laden contract is logical for both a small-market team and Lindblom, who struck out just under a hitter per inning last season. Lindblom has little fantasy relevance now, but could be used as a spot starter in dfs with the right match up.
Los Angeles Angels sign 3B Anthony Rendon
The amount of runs scored and RBI production from Trout, Ohtani and Rendon for the Angels should challenge any other club’s top three in 2020. The seven-year, $245 million contract for Rendon is a nice reward for the World Series Champ, who batted .319 with 34 homers and 126 RBI for Washington last season. As we mentioned last week, the Nationals made their choice by signing Steven Strasburg, leaving the cupboard bare to also sign Rendon. Look for this 3rd basemen to come off fantasy boards right around 20th overall.
New York Mets add rotation depth
By signing both Rick Porcello (one-year, $10 million) and Michael Wacha (one-year, $3 million), the Mets have cemented the back end of their rotation for 2020. Even though Porcello hasn’t pitched like the 2016 Cy Young winner he was, the benefit of pitchers hitting in the NL should help him log major innings at the very least. Wacha might turn into a very capable long reliever/spot starter and the Mets really didn’t have to break the bank to see if he pans out. You can take a late-round flier on Porcello, but I would wait and see on Wacha in your fantasy drafts.
Tampa Bay Rays sign Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
I tried to pronounce Yoshitomo’s name out loud and the guy at McDonald’s sitting next to me said “God bless you”. His numbers in Japan were nothing to sneeze at however, showing a power stroke with 29 home runs last season, and 44 in 2016. He’ll get $12 million over the next two seasons, and the Rays will most likely have him DH and play some at third base and left field. At this point, Tsutsugo is not on the fantasy radar.
Texas Rangers trade for SP Corey Kluber
Time will tell how Kluber’s fractured arm has healed. For now, the Rangers add a top of the rotation starter by sending reliever Emmanuel Clase and OF Delino DeShields to the Indians. The Rangers clearly set upgrading their starting rotation as an off season goal, and make Kluber the final piece of that puzzle. Kluber joins Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, and recently acquired Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to form a formidable starting five. Kluber is going in the 2nd-3rd round of fantasy drafts, right around pick #25.
Milwaukee Brewers sign OF Avisail Garcia
The projected 2020 outfield of Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and now Garcia looks pretty good for Milwaukee. Garcia will get $20 million over the next two years with a club option for 2022. He hit 20 home runs and stole 10 bases last season, but his ceiling certainly goes up hitting in Miller Park. There is talk the Brewers will move Ryan Braun to 1st base to keep his bat in the lineup. It has been a busy off-season for GM David Stearns, and he may not be done yet. In fantasy drafts, Garcia has been around the 50th outfielder taken, and #295 overall.
Cincinnati Reds sign SP Wade Miley
Adding to an already strong rotation, Cincinnati inks lefty starter Miley to a two-year, $15 million contract. He’ll pitch after Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray to form probably the best foursome in the NL central. Miley faded down the stretch last year, but ended up with 14 wins in 33 starts and a sub-four ERA. Buyer beware; Miley has been known as a pitcher who gives up plenty of homers and Great American Ball Park is very hitter-friendly. Like Porcello, you can take a late round gamble on Miley when drafting your fantasy roster.
Here are some other recent transactions: Utility-man Hernan Perez signs with the Chicago Cubs. RP Kyle Barraclough signs with the San Diego Padres. 1B/3B Ryon Healy signs a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, terms of the deal not disclosed. RP Sergio Romo signs a one-year, $5 million contract to stay with the Minnesota Twins. C Blake Swihart signs with the Texas Rangers. RP Joe Smith re-signs with the Houston Astros for two-years, $8 million.
Look for another edition of Hot Stove Happenings next week.
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