Here’s a look at some of the biggest moves in baseball over the last week:
Colby Rasmus, CF – acquired from St. Louis in a three-team trade
Impact: The Blue Jays, White Sox and Cardinals pulled off a big three-team trade that involved 11 players switching teams. The first deal between the Jays and Sox sent right-handed pitchers Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart to Chicago in exchange for starter Edwin Jackson and utility man Mark Teahen. Jackson was then flipped to the Cards along with relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, outfielder Corey Patterson and three players to be named later (or cash) in exchange for Rasmus and relief pitchers Brian Tallet, Trever Miller and P.J. Walters. Rasmus is just 24 years old and has shown some power over his brief major league career. He gives the Jays an offensive upgrade over Rajai Davis, while Teahen provides some bench depth. Jackson gives the Cards a reliable arm in the rotation, while Patterson should serve as their fourth outfielder. The White Sox picked up a top pitching prospect in Stewart and a steady reliever with some closing experience in Frasor.
Kosuke Fukudome, OF – acquired from Cleveland for RHP Carlton Smith and OF Abner Abreu
Travis Buck, OF – designated for assignment
Impact: The Indians landed themselves a new right fielder, although it remains to be seen whether Fukudome is much better than the players they already had. The 34-year-old outfielder has hit for a respectable .273 average, but he has provided very little, if anything, in terms of fantasy value in any of the other standard categories. His two stolen bases and 33 runs scored in 87 games are certainly not what you would expect from a leadoff hitter, although his .374 OBP is solid. Buck hit just .228 in 50 games with the Tribe and hasn’t hit above .230 in any major league season since 2007.
Vladimir Guerrero, DH – activated from the 15-day DL
Mark Worrell, RHP – optioned to Triple-A Norfolk
Impact: The aging Guerrero’s career appears to be winding down. His numbers have been well below his career norms this season; and, barring a second-half turnaround, 2011 will be Vlad’s worst full season to date. Though he has not performed well in any specific category, he still has some fantasy value thanks in part to a career-low .279 batting average that is still about 25 points above the major league average. The O’s used a variety of players in the DH role while Guerrero was out two weeks with a broken hand, but Guerrero has started every game since he returned. Worrell was terrible in four relief appearances with Baltimore, giving up eight earned runs over two total innings.
Jon Lester, LHP – activated from the 15-day DL
Kyle Weiland, RHP – optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket
Impact: The Red Sox ace returned to action Monday night and showed no ill effects from the strained lat that kept him sidelined since July 5. The lefty went 5.1 innings against the Royals, giving up just one run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out six. He’s now 10-4 with an impressive 3.23 ERA and an overall strikeout rate of 8.72 K/9 IP, making him one of the top fantasy pitchers available. Weiland made two starts for Boston and was ineffective.
J.D. Drew, RF – placed on the 15-day DL (shoulder)
Drew Sutton, IF – recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket
Impact: Boston’s 35-year-old right fielder had already lost his job to Josh Reddick before he landed on the DL with soreness in his right shoulder. The 24-year-old Reddick has simply outperformed Drew offensively this season, putting up a batting average almost 150 points higher at the time of Drew’s DL assignment. Drew’s big salary should assure him at least semi-regular at-bats when he returns, but his fantasy value isn’t likely to improve. Sutton hit .308 in 29 games for the Sox, so he’ll likely be back with the big club later this year.
Chipper Jones, 3B – activated from the 15-day DL
Wilkin Ramirez, OF – optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett
Impact: Chipper missed just two weeks while recovering surgery to repair a cartilage tear in his right knee. Although his most productive years are clearly behind him, he has still performed adequately enough with the bat this year to have some value in most fantasy leagues. However, Jones left Monday’s game in the ninth inning due to a tight quad muscle and is expected to miss at least a few days, so his status will need to be monitored closely. Ramirez hit .261 in 19 games with the Braves.
Jordan Schafer, CF – placed on the 15-day DL (finger)
Brian McCann, C – placed on the 15-day DL (oblique)
J.C. Boscan, C – recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett
Wilkin Ramirez, OF – recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett
Impact: The Braves have lost both their leadoff hitter and their All-Star catcher (and most productive hitter) to injury. Schafer injured his left middle finger while sliding into second base last Wednesday and will miss at least a couple of weeks due to a chipped bone. McCann strained his left oblique Tuesday, but fortunately he isn’t expected to be out much longer than the 15-day minimum. The struggling Nate McLouth moves over from left field to handle the center field duties for the time being, with Eric Hinske getting extra playing time in left. David Ross will get the majority of starts behind the plate, with Boscan serving as his backup. Both Hinske and Ross have been productive at the plate (both this year and in recent seasons) and should have some fantasy value as long as they’re playing regularly.
Rickie Weeks, 2B – placed on the 15-day DL (ankle)
Eric Farris, 2B – recalled from Triple-A Nashville
Impact: Weeks severely sprained his left ankle while running to first base during Wednesday’s game and is expected to miss anywhere from 3-to-6 weeks. The All-Star second baseman has put up some great numbers so far, hitting 19 home runs and scoring 71 runs in 104 games. Both the Brewers and Weeks’ fantasy owners will miss his productivity while he recovers. Craig Counsell will likely be the regular at second base (unless Milwaukee picks up someone else before the trade deadline), with Farris and Josh Wilson serving as the backups. Counsell has been terrible at the plate (0-for-41 since June 11) and should not even be considered in the vast majority of fantasy leagues.
J.J. Putz, RHP – activated from the 15-day DL
Ryan Cook, RHP – optioned to Triple-A Reno
Impact: Putz has fared relatively well this season as Arizona’s closer, posting an ERA of 3.12 and saving 21 games in 25 chances. An elbow injury kept him out of action for almost a month, but he now resumes his closing duties despite David Hernandez’s success in the ninth inning. Hernandez will return to a setup role. Cook made two relief appearances for the D-Backs and did not perform well.
Carlos Beltran, RF – acquired from the Mets for RHP Zack Wheeler
Impact: The Giants offense has been in need of a boost ever since star catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season with a broken ankle. San Francisco made a move to address their lack of power when they dealt for Beltran on Thursday. The All-Star outfielder has stayed healthy this season after missing significant parts of the last two seasons due to injury. He has hit for a solid .289 average while driving in 66 runs and scoring 61 times in 98 games, although with just three stolen bases, speed is no longer part of his game. The Mets received a highly touted pitching prospect in Wheeler, who is just 21 years old and has struck out over a batter per inning in his professional career. Beltran will open in right field for the Giants, with Nate Schierholtz likely platooning with Cody Ross. However, don’t be surprised if the Giants try Beltran in left given Schierholtz’s strong arm and the tough right field corner at AT&T Park.